Michelle Schmitt began playing guitar and piano and wrote her first song when she was 12 years old. Growing up spending equal time between her hometown of Detroit and Canada, where her mother and grandparents were from, Michelle had a passion for music and a guitar in her hand for as long as she can remember. She was surrounded by great music in Detroit during the 70s; the gritty rock ‘n’ roll garage band music that Detroit is known for, her beloved Motown music, as well as Canadian folk rock. By 7th grade, she was in her first band, singing Crosby, Still, Nash & Young songs at coffee houses all over the Detroit area. She also sang in madrigal groups and choirs that toured Europe when she was a teenager.
Gifted with a soulful voice, the ability to express her feelings through her heartfelt songwriting, and a sensitive eye for the world around her, Michelle delivers songs that are relatable and timeless. Michelle’s music spans a wide range of genres, with vocals featuring rich harmonies and strong, honest, intelligent lyrics. She credits artists like Joni Mitchell, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, Carole King, Eva Cassidy, Kate Wolf, Buffe St. Marie and Emmylou Harris as her inspiration.
Schmitt moved to San Francisco while in college and quickly found herself playing music with some great musicians from West Marin, like Jesse Colin Young. In 2005, Michelle was invited to contribute a song on Fearless Hearts—a record featuring six Grammy winners and two Rock & Roll Hall of Famers—and she was off and running. She worked at Sound Management in San Jose, California, in the early 2000s before opening Lilysong Records in Marin County. In 2006, she opened the doors to her state of the art San Francisco studio, Harrison Street Records, and opened Pine Mountain Studio, in Alexander Valley, in 2008. In 2019, Michelle purchased a new Stinson Beach location to spend more time doing what she loves; songwriting.
Michelle is committed to giving back what has so generously been given to her. She records for and performs at numerous benefit concerts, helping organizations that assist the unhoused and LGBTQ communities in San Francisco and Marin County (Meals on Wheels SF, ExtraFood.org, SF/Marin Food Bank, Little Wishes), anti-bullying organizations, and various youth drug prevention programs. 100% of all proceeds of Michelle’s music goes to causes that she cares about.
Michelle produces and arranges her own records, but has also collaborated with some accomplished friends, including world-renowned drummer Ricky Fataar and Grammy-award winning songwriter and Berklee School of Music songwriting chair Bonnie Hayes. Schmitt has worked with musicians from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Paris and all over the Bay Area. Her band has included Ricky Fataar, George Marinelli (Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Bonnie Raitt), Marc Levine (Bette Midler, Dionne Warwick, Olivia Newton-John), Michael Bluestein (Foreigner), Michael Spriggs (Faith Hill, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr, BB King, Elton John) and Billy Shaddox, and now consists of Lewis Patzner, Jeremy Lyon, Will Lawrence, Mike Pinette, Graham Patzner, Papa Bear, Anton Patzner, Dan Schwartz and Trevor Bahnson. She has also been traveling to Paris to perform annually for the last 20 years.