Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, multi-platinum, award winning multi-instrumentalist Michael Buckholtz got his musical start at 7 years old. His first chosen instrument (at his father’s insistence) was a clarinet. Later, he developed a passion for the bass guitar. Michael’s mission, then, became to learn many instruments and become proficient with the piano. In 1975, the family moved south to Macon, GA., the home of Otis Redding and Little Richard, continuing his musical development in the family band.
By 1980, Michael’s music was being heavily influenced by the Minneapolis sound of Prince. He became enamored with Prince’s ability to create music using multiple instruments. This would, later, become a method with which Michael would create, compose and produce music through.
In 1982, by age 16, Michael was interning at a local television affiliate and became the youngest hired station switcher at WGXA 24, in Macon, Georgia. He, later, obligated himself to a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy, where he was eventually stationed at Moffett Field Naval Air Base, Mountain View, California. During a 1984 deployment to an Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, the 19 year old Michael met Stanley (Hammer) Burrell. This relationship lasts down to today.
After Michael’s cold-war tour of duty, in 1986, the newly minted veteran used those military lessons learned to boldly fashion a brief stint as a Top 40 DJ at WPPR Power 102 in Warner Robins, Georgia, then, shortly thereafter, reconnected with Hammer. In 1989, he joined MC Hammer’s record label, Bust-It Records, distributed by Capitol Records, eventually writing and producing music for Hammer and many label mates.
In 1990, Michael received a platinum plaque in recognition for his work on the RIAA Diamond rated “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em” album (engineered at Paisley Park), selling more than 30 million units, worldwide. Later, that following year, Michael joined Hammer’s onstage crew, as keyboardist, for the Pepsi sponsored European 1991 Tour, where he spent even more time at Prince’s Paisley Park producing and rehearsing. What followed were appearances on MTV (Video Awards), The Grammy’s, The Juno Awards, Oprah, VH1 and many other programs. During the 1991 tour, Michael became one of the producers and composers on the popular multi-platinum “Too Legit To Quit” album, selling more than 5 million units, worldwide. He wrote “Gaining Momentum”, used as the ’92 Summer Olympics theme and Evander Holyfield’s ring entrance music. Buckholtz, also, made the cover of the international music periodical Keyboard Magazine, October 1991 issue, and soon after pursued a career as an independent songwriter, producer and sound designer, for all genres of music, through Warner/Chappell.
In 1992, Michael moved to L.A. and started designing music soundtracks for TV drama/mini-series. Additionally, he worked for other labels and publishers (Bellmark Records, Wall Street Records, Dollyhood Records and Warner Chappell). A single father to a daughter, Michael realized a reinvention of himself was necessary as the advent of the Internet and digital music downloading changed the business of music’s paradigm permanently.
Michael decided to rebuild from scratch. In August 2007, he launched Sunlight International Management, Inc. to set a new bar for himself and 21st century Millennial music talent. He’s already garnered attention and cooperation from brands like Mercedes-Benz USA and Bridgestone. In the same year, Buckholtz founded the 501(c)3 non-profit Aid for Autistic Children Foundation, Inc. in an effort to stem the increase of families that become victim to the crushing cost (then, later, debt) of either raising a child on the autism spectrum or living as an autistic person. In 2008, Michael authored the book, “Autism Is My Universe”, as a way to help the general public peek into the mind of someone autistic. He was invited to British Columbia, Canada to do a book signing. In 2012, Michael received Canada’s INAP “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award and remains the organization’s Ambassador. He’s, also, acknowledged in the New York Times Best Seller “NeuroTribes – The Legacy of Autism…”, by author (and good friend) Steve Silberman.
Michael “Hot Mike” Buckholtz is currently composing, producing and designing music for TV and film. He’s also a contributing editor for the award winning entertainment periodical, ‘The Hype Magazine’, where his editorials focus on informing up and coming musicians about the business of music from insiders. Two promising projects, through Sunlight International Management, Inc. include the development of a mobile venue networking app for local musicians of all genres and a solar powered full service music and pro audio recording studio, both in the funding stages. Michael’s Sunlight International Management (SIM) service experience is, “Only Excellence”. Michael has no formal traditional music training.