Michael Paul Smith

Photo of Michael Paul Smith

Praised for the distinctive warmth and richness of his voice, American baritone Michael Paul is in demand as a soloist who has performed with a variety of theatre companies and symphony orchestras throughout the world.

Possessing a deep and rich baritone, Michael’s “extraordinary voice shines…” His eagerly anticipated performances combine an outstanding voice, compelling stage presence, and a great ability to connect with audiences. His musical repertoire is eclectic and versatile—his vocal style incorporates various genres of music from spirituals and gospels to world music, R&B, spoken word, inspirational, contemporary, musical theatre and opera. He has worked with acclaimed artists such as Placido Domingo, Florence Quivar, Vincent Cole, Little Richard, Lou Rawls, Peabo Bryson, B. J. Ward, Audrey McDonald, Walter Hawkins, Edwin Hawkins, Tramaine Hawkins, Andre Crouch and Greg Baker.

Michael’s performances have been enthusiastically received by audiences of all ages in national and international settings. He has performed with the Torrance, Redlands, Santa Barbara, Nat Holden, and Long Beach theatre and opera companies in Southern California and with the Honolulu, Shanghai, and Beijing symphonies. His vocal and performance gifts have taken him on tour to diverse stages throughout the United States, as well as Germany, Italy, Austria, China and Japan.

One-Man Shows

Michael’s one-man show, A Tribute to Paul Robeson, written and produced by Gordon Hunt and Michael Paul, debuted in 2006 at the Multicultural Arts Center in San Juan Capistrano and received great acclaim. This concert pays tribute to the cultural achievements of the towering American athlete, performer, and activist Paul Robeson. Accompanied by a pianist, Michael tells Robeson’s story and sings Robeson’s hits such as Ol’ Man River, Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho, and Motherless Child. This outstanding program is both educational and inspirational — it has remained in demand and has been performed at a variety of venues.

In January 2010, Michael produced I have a Dream, the life and times of the iconic civil rights leader, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that included narratives in MLK’s own words and traditional spirituals, to classical hymns and gospel. This program makes for a soul-stirring musical experience and also provides an educational component for the younger listening audience. Michael’s reputation as a “Spirit Singer” is truly revealed in this musical performance.

Michael performs his one-man shows in a wide range of settings that include concert halls, university settings, schools and churches.

Appearances

Recently, Michael performed in David Lang’s The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, conducted by Kristof Van Grysperre, at the Terrace Theatre in Long Beach.

He has appeared at the Rainbow Room in New York City, singing songs from famous Broadway musicals with Tony Award winners Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone and Ann Reinking. He has also performed with the Doctor’s Symphony, Pasadena Pops Orchestra and Torrance Symphony for their performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Ode to Joy. He performed the Camille Saint Saëns Christmas Oratorio, Op. 12 with the Southeast Symphony Orchestra of Los Angeles. He was the soloist for Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana at CSU Los Angeles. He also performed with the South Coast Symphony Orchestra for their Easter program. In December 2009, he performed at the prestigious Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, in a tribute concert for composer Kurt Weil’s 100 year anniversary.

Michael also appeared in a tribute to the Harlem Renaissance with Opera Noir, a production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, as Papageno, at the Redlands Summer Bowl Festival and recitals at Georgia Southern University, California State University, Dominguez Hills and the Long Beach Opera Guild. He also performed in a concert for the Black History Month Celebration sponsored by the City of Carson Cultural Affairs Department that featured the original contemporary opera Monticello by L. Arrons and J. Paxton. Monticello portrays the relationship of President Thomas Jefferson and his mistress Sally Hemmings. Michael performed the role of brother James Hemings.

His operatic roles also include Sharpless in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Amonasro in Verdi’s Aida, Tonio in Leoncavallos’ Pagliacci, Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen and Porgy and Crown in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, to name a few.

Sound Tracks and Voice Over

Michael is a voice over actor available for television and radio spots, narration, corporate and web video projects. Clients love his warm baritone sound. Michael Paul sang the sound track to an independent film depicting the life of Hope Foye, a classical singer extraordinaire and international civil rights advocate who was a contemporary protege of Paul Robeson. Other credits include a performance of the role of James Hemings in the original soundtrack for the Monticello opera.

A native Californian, Michael Paul comes from a musical family with nine children. He began singing at an early age with his older brother and sister in church choirs and musical productions. He earned a B.A. from UCLA and an M.Ed. from CSU Northridge.

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