Monday, Oct. 26, 2015

Hit Man

Chart-topping songwriter returns to guitar


With worldwide hits as a songwriter – and now as an artist – Michael Garvin can be considered a “hometown boy makes good” story.
Soon after graduating from Bossier High School, he made a beeline to Nashville, Tenn., to jump headlong into the music business and begin steady work as a session guitarist playing in the studio behind a number of major label acts.
“It was through Blake Mevis, George Strait’s first producer, that I really got to go to a new level working not just on demo sessions, but on master sessions as well,” Garvin said.
As a songwriter, he also began to get chart activity. “My first cut was ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ recorded by Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius, but my first hit was John Anderson’s ‘If The World Ran Out of Love Tonight,’ which went to No. 5 on the charts,” Garvin said.
By 1979, after a brief move to Los Angeles, Garvin was back in Nashville and signed by the legendary Buddy Killen, who headed Tree Music. He spent 10 years at Tree Music during which time his songwriting career exploded as he garnered 18 Top 10 hits, five of which became No. 1. His first No. 1 record was “Only One You” by T.G. Shepherd.
Just a sampling of his country hits includes “Desperado Love” (Conway Twitty), “From The Word Go” (Michael Martin Murphy), “5:01 Blues” (Merle Haggard), “Oh Me Oh My Sweet Baby” (a hit for both George Strait and Diamond Rio), “I Can’t Help The Way I Don’t Feel” (recorded by seven different artists), and his personal favorite, “I Tell It Like It Used To Be” (T. Graham Brown).
By the time Garvin left Tree Music, he was working with publisher Miles Copeland, manager for The Police and Sting. Copeland would send Garvin to writing camps in Europe at the world famous Chateau, where he had the opportunity to write with artists such as Paul Young, Keith Urban and Cher.
Eventually, he signed a world-wide publishing deal with Warner Chappell, Munich and a side deal with EMI that covered the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), where Garvin continues to have success.
In 2000, his song “Waiting For Tonight” became (and remains) his biggest hit as recorded by Jennifer Lopez. It was not only her first big hit in America, but also became a hit around the world. Lopez later recorded another Garvin song, “Lovin’ You,” for which she is credited as a co-writer.
In 2012, Garvin moved back to Shreveport and has been here since.
“I have really enjoyed being back in Shreveport. I really like the ‘vibe’ here, and I get to see many life-long friends I had stayed in touch with through the years,” Garvin said.
With 80 hit songs, Garvin has an enviable track record as a songwriter. Though he is still writing, mainly pop, he is now pursuing another goal he had set aside for some time.
“My guitar playing is what really got me in the first doors in Nashville back in 1977, and I have long had the desire to do my own music in the jazz idiom. What I have been recording and releasing as an artist have been jazz instrumentals with me on guitar. I miss the days of the instrumental hits in the ’50s and ’60s like ‘Green Onions’ and ‘Sleep Walk.’ I believe the compositional skills I bring to the table will be a real asset in writing instrumental hits,” Garvin said.
Garvin still travels extensively throughout Europe and Scandinavia to write with other writers as well as many top artists, but has found many are excited to come here to Shreveport to write.
“I recently had Mark Smith here, who is a very successful pop composer in Germany, as well as German artist Daisy Manners. Also here in October was English writer/artist Sarah McClellan,” Garvin said. “I recently wrote everything on the new record with Erann DD (a huge star in Denmark) and we have the current single ‘Rockin’ My Life,’ which we co-wrote.”
Garvin has written for years with top Belgian artist “Soul Sister” (Paul Michiels and Jan Leyers) with whom he has co-written four No. 1 for “Pop Idol” winners. “Pop Idol” is the European and Scandinavian version of “American Idol.”
To expand his international profile, Garvin regularly attends song writing retreats in England, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France and Spain.
“I don’t necessarily write hits at these retreats, but I make the connections with great writers to definitely do that later,” Garvin said.


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