Mike Walker didn’t come from a lineage of musicians. But, his love for the electric guitar has allowed him embrace the riveting sounds of blues and smooth jazz. Born in Newport, Ark., on Nov. 19, 1959, Mike was hooked on the guitar by listening to his grandmother’s old blues records, notably the great B.B. King.
His first visual exposure to the guitar came by watching musician Roy Clark stroke the strings every week on the country variety show, “Hee Haw.” His awe of Clark confirmed his desire to play a guitar. When Mike approached 12 years old, his dad bought his son an electric guitar. A novice guitar player in town, Mr. Vault, became his instructor. Eventually, Mike’s dad allowed his son to play with more established players in local clubs. Mike contends this experience allowed him to gain exposure in playing in a real bad. Mike played as part of cover bands, and did all he could to get his name known in the town of 8,000 residents.
In 1989, Mike moved to Dallas, Texas, to study music business at the Art Institute of Dallas. While attending school, Mike took a five-year sabbatical from music, but during this time he stumbled upon a new genre that piqued his interest – smooth jazz. He began playing gigs with Daddy’s Chair, a Dallas-based smooth jazz band. While blues was still one of his favorites, he began to gravitate toward the sounds of legendary jazz guitarist George Benson and Benson’s contemporary, Kansas City, Mo., native Norman Brown.
Daddy’s Chair was the beginning of Mike’s longing to cultivate his new love for smooth jazz. In 2000, he formed his own band, Chill Factor, an ensemble that played gigs in the Dallas area. With Chill Factor, Mike was able to discover his leadership skills and manage several personalities. After 12 years with the band, Mike decided to take a stab at becoming a solo artist. His solo project, “A Smoother You,” was released in May 2012. While Mike has his influences, he is proud of his solo smooth jazz outing because it “is totally me; people will know it is me.” Produced by Dallas musician and singer Quentin Moore, “A Smoother You” contains nine tracks, with seven of them written by Mike. He co-wrote two of the tracks with Moore.
“It (‘A Smoother You’) is a happy-feeling CD. It makes you feel good. It is happy and brings a smile to your face,” said Mike, who is founder of Mike Walker Entertainment. You can buy this album at CDBaby.