Years of writing songs and performing them in numerous rock and jazz bands paid off for Michael Fredo when he met Quincy Jones, the legendary producer whose many credits include Michael Jackson-one of young Fredo's major musical role models.
"My manager introduced me to him [Quincy] at a party in Los Angeles, and I told him how much I appreciated his music," recalls Fredo, whose debut album, Introducing, is the first release from AH Records (the new label formed by Andy Hilfiger Entertainment) in conjunction with Jones' Qwest Records and Warner Bros. Records.
Quincy is highly enthusiastic about his young protégé: Mike Fredo is the epitome of the pop sound you crave from boy bands today, with authentic melody and vocal range all in one solo act. We've been looking a long time for a pop artist that is the real thing and enjoys every minute of what he does."
Fredo who hails from upstate New York and lives in New York City, returned to the East Coast to cut the demo, with a folk-rock styled sound. But it clearly contained all the essential elements for what has become a truly stellar introduction to an exciting new talent. Now, with the help of ace producer Veit Renn ('N Sync), Rory Bennett (K-Ci & JoJo) and Voe & Pop, Fredo has created his own signature sound.
"I call it youthquake-a new form of pop music which mixes a lot of different styles," says Fredo, and sure enough, Introducing brings together upbeat rockers, soulful ballads and dance-floor pop. The broad range of material is a product of an equally broad range of musical influences: in addition to Michael Jackson, Fredo cites the likes of Marvin Gaye, the Rolling Stones, Basia, Björk, and even Bette Midler.
"'The Wind Beneath My Wings' was the first song I sang solo-and after that I memorized all the songs from her Beaches movie soundtrack to her From A Distance CD," says Fredo, who began singing 11 years ago, at age eight. "I started singing soprano in church choirs, then when my voice matured I started a folk group. I was in all kinds of rock 'n' roll bands through high school, and moved to New York when I was a senior to attend The Professional Children's School, where I played classical music and met a lot of people."
Among the important people Fredo met there was Paul Ellington, grandson of jazz great Duke Ellington, and son of the Duke Ellington Orchestra's late conductor Mercer Ellington. Fredo would spend a year on the road as a jazz vocalist for the Ellington Orchestra before determining his own musical direction.
Fredo, who plays guitar and piano on Introducing, wrote four of the songs on the album and collaborated extensively with his label president Andy Hilfiger-himself an accomplished rock musician and consultant to Qwest Records-as well as Quincy Jones. "I come from the school of rock 'n' roll," he notes. "I used to play in bars when I was very young and do Stones and Doors covers, along with a mixture of rock, pop and r&b."
"This Time Around," the album's first single, "Is about an ex-girlfriend, and has a really cool sound," says Fredo.
Another original-with deeper personal significance-is the beautifully orchestrated ballad "Now You're Gone," which closes the album and was written 24 hours following the tragic death of Fredo's father. "He passed away three years ago after a car crash, and is the inspiration for all the sadder songs on the album," relates Fredo, who has dedicated the entire disc to his father's memory.
Since completing Introducing, Fredo has performed a VH1 benefit concert for multiple sclerosis with the Goo Goo Dolls, Coolio, LL Cool J and Hootie & The Blowfish, and is now "ready to rock!" He's set to join Britney Spears on her summer tour of North America, and will be featured in the nationwide fall print and TV promotion for Tommy Jeans; he previously starred in the Tommy Jeans spring print ad campaign, and co-wrote and performed on "Who Said," the theme song for the recent Tommy Girl fragrance TV spots-which is also included in Introducing.
Meanwhile, Michael Fredo maintains his outside interests in animals and sports. "My mom tries to steer me away from the pet shop every time I walk by it!" he confesses, revealing that since he moved to New York, he has made pets of two love birds, two chameleons, a chinchilla and a pair of mice. He's also an avid water skier and tennis player, who watches the Discovery Channel when not watching MTV.
The below info came from Michael Fredo's Official Site
Michael Fredo first started singing in the local church choir at the age of 8. That same year he began learning to play guitar and piano. His passion for studying music became so intense that Michael moved to New York City during his senior year of high school to attend The Professional Children's School.
Now at the age of 19, Michael is finishing up his first album "Introducing" which will come out in September.