Michel Camilo (born 1954), Pianist and Composer

Latin Jazz Pianist Living Legend

When many are 5 years of age, they are exploring their world and becoming acclimatized to new social settings such as school. Michel Camilo was no different in many aspects, except, in Camilo’s case, he already composed his first song. Music was always part of his life. Born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Camilo was surrounded with music. He was attracted towards the piano right away. At 9, his wish came true. He had his own piano. Michel Camilo took this love and at 16, became a member of National Symphony Orchestra. Learning classical piano in school was only the start. His ears guided him towards jazz and then went on to become a Latin Grammy winner.

His studies were not lost on him. He continued with school while learning and playing jazz. Moving to New York in 1979, he began to grow even more. The bustle of New York and lively jazz scene only encouraged and broadened his musical talents. Camilo began working on recording material in New York with his first composition titled, “Why Not?”. The success maintained momentum when he debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1985. The roots of his career were revisited when he conducted for the National Symphony Orchestra back in the Dominican. His early success was only the tip of the iceberg. Camilo’s talents ultimately landed him with a major record signing in the United States.

Michel finally made his major record debut with Sony. His magic was immediately recognized in the United States as well as internationally. Throughout the 1990’s, he toured internationally spreading his love of Latin jazz across the world, but never losing sight of his origins. The world wide success brought Latin jazz to the fore front of the music scene. The first ever Latin Grammys happened in 2000 and it was Camilo who was rewarded for a life’s effort in music and specifically jazz. The continuing touring and composing of music never slowed down with the success in 2000. With international success, world wide fans enjoy his presence every year with his constant touring. Spreading your knowledge of music and the true love of what you do, gives Camilo a tremendous humbling experience and great career.

Camilo has become a world-wide name, even into the 2010’s. Simply having classical pianist learning does not grant someone instant success. It requires a passion of what you love and enjoy. In Camilo’s life, music was always in his world. His parents and grandparents were influential in the early stages of Camilo. Family is always the most important aspect of any person’s life. This seems to be amplified for Latinos. We have a strong bond with our family and it’s a grounding that keeps Latinos always knowing where home is and what is most important. Camilo took this passion for love, with support of his family, and created a world-wide acclaim with beautiful and engaging compositions for millions and reflecting the spirit of Latin America.