Michael B. Sutton

Michael B. Sutton has over two decades of seasoned experience in the music industry, including seven years as a staff producer and writer for Motown Records. A Stevie Wonder discovery, Mr. Sutton drew the attention of many talented artists at Motown for his genius as a musician, lyricist and composer. Over the years, Mr. Sutton has composed and produced music with or for Jay Z- Kanye West, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Anita Pointer and Pat Boone to name a few. Mr. Sutton's contribution to the Disco era was substantial. Michael's songs, performed by the duo Michael and Brenda Sutton, proved to be some of Disco's most successful and timeless hits. The hot dance singles “Down to love Town”, “Grip My Hips” and Cheryl Lynn's “Shake It Up Tonight” could be heard from every club coast to coast.

 

To his credit Mr. Sutton has written, produced and scored over 300 songs for major artists as well as for film and television. Some of these accomplishments include the following: The album, Any Way You Like It for Thelma Houston which went gold, the album Switch which went platinum, the movie score for “One False Move”, the title song, “We'll make It” for the Channel 4 documentary Oasis Of Hope, Co-Executive producer of the popular documentary 

“” Becoming Barack -Evolution of a Leader”, the title song for the cable TV series Passion And Romance, and Machine Gun Blues, ESPN's Body Shaping and Co-Ed Training, the theme songs for the HBO movies Black Belt, Dance with Death, Guilty As Charged, Watchers 2, Cues' for the TV show Viper, Showtime's Black Scorpion and the production and performance for the HBO/Cinemax TV series Emmanuelle In Space. Michael is well known in the industry for his personable nature, his honesty, integrity, professionalism and attention to detail. His tenure as a member of ASCAP for over thirty years has earned him the reputation of being a premier artist, composer and producer.

 

An Oakland product, Michael has spent most of his life in music starting out in Gospel writing songs for the great James Cleveland and playing organ for gospel choirs around Los Angeles.

 

Whatever your reasons are, a well written love song is one that can have a timeless effect on your listeners and is something that most, if not all of the greatest songwriters of all time, like Mike Sutton have achieved, with his debut album “ Hopeless Romantic” which garnered him a top 50 Billboard charting album. 

 

He is now returning with a new single in a decade titled “ Those Words”, a song about the challenges of love and life and the hesitancy to say “ I love you” when falling in love.


Michael B. Sutton Biography

 
"Take my hand, baby, come with me / My love won't hold you back, it will set you free / And you will feel what it's like / To soar like a kite / Higher and higher / I'll hold you so tight / Tell me, baby, all your desires / Let me fulfill all of your dreams / Oh deeper, I need to go deeper /

And find out what this love really means" - from "Flight"

 
In Michael B. Sutton's universe, music, romance and sensuality are inseparably engaged in a ménage a trois that both soothes and arouses. On the singer/songwriter's impeccably titled Hopeless Romantic - the behind-the-scenes veteran's long overdue debut album - Sutton weaves a bewitching spell, making it utterly impossible for you to press Pause or Stop until his skillfully sequenced audio passion play has come to its natural conclusion. This is the sign of a musical master - a gentle genius who has overcome crippling personal hardship to slow cook a feast for the loving and the lustful that will sate their appetites for many a bliss-filled night to come.
 
In the past, Mr. Sutton has penned hits for Smokey Robinson ["There Will Come A Day (I'm Gonna Happen To You)"], Cheryl Lynn ("Shake It Up Tonight") and a disco smash for The Originals ("Down To Love Town"). But during his seven years at Motown as a writer/producer, he earned his reputation as the go-to guy for quality album cuts that often became "fan favorites" - the tracks that make albums enjoyable from start to finish. This distinguished resume includes a young Michael Jackson ("Cinderella Stay Awhile"), Jermaine Jackson ("Stay With Me"), Thelma Houston ("Today Will Soon Be Yesterday," from her Gold-selling album Any Way You Like It), Switch ("It's So Real," from their self-titled platinum debut), former Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards ("When The Lights Come Down On Love") and ‘The Ice Man’ himself, Jerry Butler ("I Don't Want Nobody To Know").
 
It is this apprenticeship that thoroughly seasoned Michael B. Sutton into the artist he has become on Hopeless Romantic – 15 songs (and 2 interludes) of sensual inspiration from the man with

“the velvet voice." Within the elemental grooves, classy chord changes and stripped-to-the-bare-essentials arrangements, you will hear traces of soul music's finest artists through the ages…the boudoir symphonies of Barry White…luscious, Leon Ware-era Marvin Gaye…the carnal hunger of Ronald Isley's voice and Ernie Isley's climaxing guitar…the warm and breezy harmonies of The Moments and The Whispers…the vulnerability of Luther Vandross…the intimate pleasure begs of Johnny Bristol and Al Wilson…the `70s soft rock sensibilities of Alan and Paul Davis...the crossover song craft of Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds…and the sheer, sublime poetry of William "Smokey" Robinson. Subconsciously, self-taught Sutton has absorbed them all, tenderly folding their creative essences into a smooth musical brew all his own. Those who have already experienced this album often find their soul mates slipping into something more comfortable and coaxing them somewhere more…private.
 
"This enchanted rhythm moving in and out / It's the magic of our love / Touching every note within and without / Can you please me / Can you show me / What your love is all about?"

- from "Body Music"


Michael B. Sutton's Hopeless Romantic opens with the soul synthesized minuet "Body Music," 
then descends into a two-song story about seducing an abandoned beauty: "If You Let Me Love You (The Second Time Around)" and the bumpin' "Give It Up." This is followed by the blissful trinity of "Do That To Me," "Sweet Surrender" and "Flight," all quintessential bedroom grooves in the key of A: amour. Next is a very special treat for Michael’s longtime fans: a reunion with his former wife Brenda Sutton (now Turner) on a remake of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s 1972 classic, "Where Is The Love" (penned by Ralph MacDonald and William Salter).


 

Then, following a short dreamy vocal interlude, the center of the album finds Michael taking a naughty detour downtown…the realm of the down-n-dirty…with the ultra-provocative "Feelin' Down (Go Down On Me Blues)," the GET-down funk of "Love Me Inside Out," and the LOW-down, boldly blunt, "I Wanna Sex You" (also available in a remix by producers Christian B and Marc Dold, and Boris & Beck, whose club music magic has already mined hits for Enya, Luther Vandross, Thalia, Pink, and Celine Dion).
 
"I wanna sex you, baby / I wanna drive you crazy / I just wanna give you everything

that a woman needs…"
 
The final three songs of Hopeless Romantic comprise a relaxing home stretch that plays like a night cruise with the top down in tropical paradise. It begins with the Spanish tinged duet "Lovers Serenade," on which Michael is joined by his former Motown label mate Tata Vega (who sang his very first professionally produced song back in the `70s, "Music In My Heart"). Next is what should certainly be a future single, "Nobody," a feel-good steppers dream with a suave' cha cha flair and a message every woman wants to hear. "Nobody, nobody can ever take the place of you / Nobody, nobody can ever love me like you do." Finally…tenderly…the ride comes to an end with the title track, "Hopeless Romantic." And Michael B. ain't never lied.
 
"Isn't it funny how life changes and turns / Around every corner there's a lesson to learn /

Every now and then somebody's got to take the chance / And learn to romance /

Can I have this dance?" - from "Hopeless Romantic"
 
Addressing the sensual elements of his album, soft-spoken yet philosophical Mr. Sutton explains, "Great sex stems from passion and the freedom to explore it. You have to feel good about it! Sexuality is a spiritual adventure. There was something opening up in me at the time that I wrote most of this material…a sense of freedom about who I am. These songs were born out of that liberation of expression."
 
*******
 
Michael Burnett Sutton was born in Oakland, California, the second child of be bop trumpet player Burnett Sutton and his lovely wife Lula Mae. It was Michael's grandmother who steered him toward the Church of The Living God, where his high school buddy Ernie Jackson introduced him to the Hammond B3 organ. Soon, Michael was fellowshipping in musical ministries in Los Angeles. During a long drive back up Highway 99, Michael wrote his very first song to help him make it through the frightfully foggy night: "Jesus Will Give You The Victory." When he arrived home, he taught it to the choir and his destiny became clear.
 
At the age of 17, Michael moved to Los Angeles for good, living with friends at first. When the lady of the house's sister Brenda came to visit - a looker with a beautiful voice to match - Michael fell in love. They performed gospel together, eventually working with legendary James Cleveland and the Stan Lee Ensemble. Bonded, Michael and Brenda eventually married and added three children to the one she already had. Their names are Rodnie, Michael II, Tiffani and Dionyza.
 
Michael landed a job as a janitor at Hollywood’s Fidelity Studios where he met Alan O'Day, who listened carefully to Michael's first songs. He arranged for Michael and Brenda's first demo session and paid for a songwriting course at UCLA Extension with Al Kasha and Joel Hirshborn. Struggling to make ends meet but happy to be doing music, the duo started performing hits of the day all over Los Angeles, beginning at The Pizza Palace in Westwood. To their surprise, some of their subsequent gigs were at swingers clubs like actor Doug McClure's spot and The Topley Two in Culver City. "It took us a minute to figure out," Michael laughs, "but we'd see certain couples go in and completely different couples come out!" 

 

Michael and Brenda caught the break of a lifetime at an audition for Stevie Wonder's backing band Wonderlove. The superstar got so caught up in their performance that he slipped out of his shoes, sat Indian style in front of them and just listened. Then, he hopped up on the piano and proceeded to teach them a song he'd just written titled "You Are My Heaven." Though the song eventually went to Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, Stevie made a call to Iris Gordy at Motown Records and insisted the company look into signing them as artists. And they did.
 
From the mid-`70s to the top of the `80s, Michael and Brenda toiled at the company, less as artists, yet flourishing among Jobete Publishing's most consistent writers. Working among behind the scenes giants such as Hal Davis, Pam Sawyer and Frank Wilson, they learned the ropes. Everything was going well until one fateful evening while running an errand, Michael began to feel disoriented and dizzy. It happened several more times until Michael finally sought help.

 

Ultimately, he was diagnosed with "limited agoraphobia." This manifested in the form of anxiety attacks which eventually kept him from walking even half a block from his home. It was a harrowing period in Michael's life - a time when there wasn't much documented information about what was ailing him. While grappling with the process - hiding and somewhat in denial - Michael lost work opportunities and, traumatically, was forced to downsize his lifestyle.
 

Following a stint as members of the group Finished Touch, Mike and Brenda left Motown in 1980 and formed their still active publishing company Mibren Music. As a duo, they recorded both as Mike & Brenda Sutton and The Suttons, scoring several mid-charting R&B hits, including “Don’t Let Go of Me (Grip My Hips)” They also placed songs on albums by Dionne Warwick (“I Don’t Need Another Love”), Cheryl Lynn (“Shake It Up Tonight”) and Anita Pointer (“Overnight Success,” also covered by former Prince & The NPG member Rosie Gaines), among others.
 
As Michael became more open about what he was going through, support was sporadic at best. "Some people understood," he remembers, "others didn't." One saving grace was film music work. He could research, compose and record the pieces at home. One Parisian producer even said, "Why didn't you tell me? We'll come to you!" "What a relief," Michael remembers. "We had a screening at the house, went over the songs and had what's called 'a spotting session.' He told me film director Roman Polanski’s screenwriter, Lars von Trier, had agoraphobia and couldn't leave his bedroom, yet he's still a millionaire with major movie credentials." Michael wrote and arranged for several film and TV projects, including Isaac Hayes' hip hop/gospel rendition of "Amazing Grace" from Guilty As Charged, plus songs for the score of Carl Franklin's directorial debut, One False Move (starring Billy Bob Thornton and Cynda Wiliams).

 

It was a song Michael composed for a film that sparked his present sensual direction as an artist. "There was a series of soft core erotic films in the `70s called Emmanuelle," Michael shares. "They later turned it into an HBO late night cable TV series called Emmanuelle in Space (starring Baywatch babe Krista Allen). The producers needed a theme song, so I sent in a demo intended for a woman to sing. The guy called me back and said he liked my voice. I wound up singing the theme and other songs for the show."
 
Michael got encouraging comments from people close to him such as Brenda's vocal students and one of their co-writers, Bobbi Jo Lathan. "Why don't you sing more," they asked? "I shrugged it off at first," Michael chuckles, "but I kept on writing and recording just the same."
 
After years of faithful support, Brenda and Michael decided to mutually separate and eventually divorced. This was a particularly challenging period for both. One female friend really helped Michael through this time, reminding him of his worth as a romantic partner and, in effect, rekindling his erotic fires. "She was very encouraging," Michael says of his passion muse. "She and I kissed once and it was the first time I'd kissed anybody but my wife in years. She'd meet me in the studio, compliment me on my singing, give me a hug and a kiss, and then we'd slow dance. I was so totally turned-on that I started writing even more songs!" 

 

 

"My love goes deep inside / Oh, it's an endless ride / Of ecstasy and bliss /

I'm wanting more of you / I know you want me, too / I feel it in your kiss /

Too many nights like this will never be too much / Lying here with you /

And when you're holding me so soft and tenderly / Every moment's new"

- from "Do That To Me”
 
Michael sent a set of songs to his brother-in-law to use for his retirement party. He was promptly asked what it would take to get this great music out for the world to hear. Shortly afterward, with the assistance of his lady friend and business partner “Birdie,” Michael took the leap of faith to release his debut album Hopeless Romantic on their own charmingly named label, Little Dizzy Records (a reference to his condition as well as a nod to his trumpeter father).

 

Michael continues to focus on getting strong enough to meet his scores of new fans in person. "I'm improving with the help of family and friends," he states with pride. "I have a motor scooter to get around on, though I still only ride in my neighborhood. I get to the movies, the store and such. "Birdie" understands the importance of supporting me at my own pace, and my therapist John Kenyon has gotten me into exercise and nutrition. I'm trying to go the natural path, but I'm looking into some of the newer drugs. Organizations such as the Society of Singers, Music Cares and the Motown/Universal Fund have also been immensely helpful to me and many other artists with various challenges.”

 

“I'm getting better,” Michael cheerfully surmises, “but it's not an easy process."
 
Encouragingly, even his salad days work is receiving a new life in today's marketplace. Texas rapper Scarface with special guests Jay-Z & Beanie Sigel scored hip hop gold using a sample of The Originals' song "Sunrise" (which Michael and Brenda composed) on "Guess Who's Back," which won a Source Magazine Phat Tape Song of the Year award.


Best of all, through Internet sales, club play and word of mouth, Michael B. Sutton's Hopeless Romantic (liberally layered with butterscotch background vocals by his daughter Dionyza Sutton) is earning him fresh admirers daily, rendering them helpless in the face of his ever so persuasive ‘Oakland Stroke.’ One such person emoted in his Web site guestbook, "This CD has been like an unfolding story which I hope never ends…not unlike a wonderful book that's last page you almost avoid." With Sutton's words alone being so striking, what ‘Sophisticated Juliet’ could resist?
 

Michael B. Sutton is now married to Anissa Boudjaoui now Anissa B. Sutton 

Aneessa and Michael first had a  working relationship. They got to know each other and quickly became mutually enamored. Aneessa came back to California in 2017 for what was supposed to be a 2-month trip to meet with Michael in person.
Aneessa and Michael fell deeper and deeper in love.

However, Michael gently persuaded Aneessa that after three years away it was time to get back to her other love, music, and the two of them began creating THE SOUND OF L.A. LABEL and co-producing her latest album: Smooth jazz and urban adult contemporary music. The reception has been warm and welcoming.


Bonding in their adoration for each other as well as their mutual strengths in resilience, Aneessa and Michael have crafted an amazing collection of songs. Aneessa kicked off her stateside debut with a winning cover of Soul II Soul’s 1989 anthem, “Back to Life,” which has cracked the Top 10 of Billboard Magazine’s “Smooth Jazz” chart. In a similar thematic vein is Aneessa’s cover of Madonna’s “Miles Away” which she relates to so deeply for its message of long distance relationship. Aneessa and Michael wrote “Just to Be with You” about their relationship when love was blooming yet they were so far away from each other, leading to her coming to visit…and never return home.
 


"Let me fly the open spaces of your heart / Let me feel the love that will never part /

I wanna feel what it's like / To soar like a kite / Higher and high, baby, just hold me tight /

Take me in your arms, let's go far away / To that secret place where our hearts can play /

Let me touch you inside / Feel my temperature rise / Higher and high on this heavenly ride"

- from "Flight"

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