Michelle Schmitt is a singer/songwriter who was born in Detroit and started playing guitar and writing songs when she was 12 years old. She moved to San Francisco in 1977. Gifted with a soulful voice, the ability to express her feelings through her heartfelt songwriting and a talented band, Michelle delivers songs that stand the test of time. Schmitt has a sultry and indefinable voice — part soul, part rock, part twang and all enticing. Her earthy vocals and intelligent lyrics ooze soulful love and longing. Growing up in Detroit, Michelle was exposed to great music and credits artists like Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, CSN & Y, Carole King, Eva Cassidy, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Phoebe Snow, Sade, Stevie Nicks and Natalie Merchant for her inspiration as a singer and songwriter. In 2005 Michelle was asked to contribute a song on a record featuring six Grammy winners and two Rock & Roll Hall of Famers (including Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Loggins, Bill Medley, Roseanne and Johnny Cash, Rodney Crowell, Beth Neilsen Chapman and Mike + The Mechanics). Michelle opened Lilysong Records in Muir Beach, Marin County in the early part of 2001. In 2006, Michelle 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. Michelle has worked with some amazing musicians and engineers in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Nashville. Michelle has been playing at her annual benefit concert to feed the hungry for 10 years now. Stay in touch to learn more about show dates and what she and her band are doing to help make the world a better place. 100% of the proceeds of Michelle’s annual year-end benefit concert goes to feed the hungry in her San Francisco / Bay Area community. Proceeds of every record that Michelle records and produces go to worthwhile causes ranging from feeding the homeless to youth drug rehabilitation programs to helping alleviate suffering in any way she can. Giving back what she has so generously been given drives Michelle in all areas of her life.
Graham Patzner is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who attended Rutgers University. Spending the last eight years recording and touring with his band, Whiskerman, he has also released a solo record called “Ballads”. His performances always promise an intensity of lyrics, musicianship and presence. Graham joined Michelle Schmitt’s band six years ago and they have been having a blast playing music and singing together ever since. Graham became Michelle’s music director in late 2017. Graham plays violin and is the keyboard player in Michelle’s band and is also her vocal duet partner, background singer and musical soul mate!
Jeremy Lyon is an Oakland born and raised singer, guitarist, and songwriter specializing in an Americana inspired mix of classic rock, soul, and indie music. He is known for his work fronting Tumbleweed Wanderers, as well as his latest project, King Dream. Jeremy is an accomplished music educator who has been teaching guitar, bass guitar, piano and drum lessons for over a decade. Michelle is impressed with Jeremy’s prolific guitar playing. He is a really fun person to hang out with as well as being a multi-talented singer and all around amazing musician. When Michelle, Graham and Jeremy sing together, magic happens.
Papa Bear is an artist, teacher, and community builder working on a global scale to connect people focused on world peace and the betterment of humanity. His music is created with the intention of healing, peace, and connection. He currently fronts the Bay Area based band, Papa Bear and the Easy Love, and plays in The Intrepid Travelers. Papa Bear is the new rhythm guitar player in Michelle’s band and, as his name infers, is an integral part of the good vibes and common respect. The talented Papa Bear plays both acoustic and electric guitar in Michelle’s band.
Will Lawrence was born in Connecticut and is based in Oakland, CA. He has been playing bass and mandolin for a decade. Will studied music at Colorado State University and at the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. Will joins Michelle as her new bass and mandolin player and brings his incredible musical knowledge and heart with him. He is on point at all times, which makes performing and recording with him a joy.
Mike Pinette, originally from New Hampshire, is Michelle’s new drummer and percussionist. He has some big shoes to fill and is doing a great job using Michelle’s magical “Ricky Fataar” drum kit. As a natural musician, artist (Sea by Land) and health coach (Liv Well), Mike brings a calmness to the band that is felt in rehearsals and on stage. Mike pursues his balanced life and serves as a great example of how to keep it cool. Michelle is very happy to have Mike in the band.
Anton Patzner is a talented fiddle player and multi-instrumentalist based in Oakland California. He is also a composer, master arranger and producer. Anton is the first Patzner brother Michelle met when he played on her record “Covering Life”. He has been a valued member of her band for seven years and plays on stage with Michelle and his two brothers, Graham and Lewis. He is also a really great mandolin player and steps in on that when the music calls for him.
Lewis Patzner, from Oakland, CA, studied cello at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University. After graduating, Lewis pursued rock music and toured internationally with his instrumental experimental metal band, Judgement Day, along with his brother Anton. His music was described by Strings Magazine as “a master class in the seemingly boundless possibilities of signal-processed, electronic string music and a testament to the band’s creativity.”. He is an active composer and a versatile musician. Lewis has been Michelle’s cellist for the last six years and brings a richness to the music that is so appreciated.
Chris Carmichael is a musician and arranger born in San Antonio, Texas. After his formal training, he began a career as a touring musician for various artists in several genres. He was signed by Atlantic Records in NYC, then Warner/Chappell, but remained a Nashville resident. In the early 1990s, Chris transitioned into full-time studio work and arranging. His orchestral arrangements have been performed by major groups such as the Boston Pops Orchestra. Carmichael’s television and radio appearances include the 71st Academy Awards, The Tonight Show, The Academy of Country Music Awards, The Country Music Association Awards, CBS Morning Show, The View, A Prairie Home Companion, and many others. Arrangements of distinction include the string quartet arrangement of Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This”, which originally aired at the 2007 Academy of Country Music awards show, and later became a single release. His contributions to film soundtracks include Down in the Valley, The Sapphires, and Shrek 2. Chris contributes on all string arrangements for Michelle’s records. She is forever grateful for the beauty he brings to her songs.
Ricky Fataar is a South African musician and drummer. He is a famed band member of “The Rutles” from South Africa. In 1968 the band moved to London and began touring England. On one of their tours, a member of The Beach Boys, Carl Wilson, spotted them. Carl was impressed by their talent and offered to sign them to the Beach Boys new record label Brother Records. The band moved to Los Angeles and they recorded and released their 1970 album “The Flame” with Carl Wilson producing. The Beach Boys then recruited Fataar in 1971. Fataar has been involved in numerous film and television scorings and produced the music for various films. For the last 29 years, Fataar has been a member of Bonnie Raitt’s band. Ricky and Michelle have co-produced many of Michelle’s records. Ricky was also instrumental in the design and creation of Pine Mountain Studio in Alexander Valley. Michelle and Ricky will make music again in the future when he is not touring with Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor.
Sammy Fielding, our lead engineer and studio manager at HSR and Pine Mountain Studios is a passionate musician and engineer whose love for playing music is only matched by his love for recording those who play. Growing up in Santa Cruz, CA, he developed a keen interest in music, and began learning a variety of instruments. By age sixteen he had his heart set on a career in audio production. Through volunteering at a local recording studio, playing in and recording various bands, and producing solo work, Sammy got his foot in the door of the audio universe. At age 20 he moved to Berkeley, CA, to study sound at Expression College for Digital Arts and start Robot Envy Studio. Since then, Sammy has fostered his engineering career through working with amazing talent in the Bay Area and beyond, such as The Real Nasty, The Soft White Sixties, Rachel Fannan, Greylag, Lyrics Born, Forrest Day, Wedard, The Tumbleweed Wanderers, and his own bands, Noctooa, Foxtails Brigade, and Medicine Moon. In addition to Robot Envy, Sammy has worked at other Bay Area studios, including Megasonic Sound, Bay Records, and Ninth Street Opus. We are thrilled to have Sammy on board with his unique take on music and recording it.
HSR engineer Bijan Sharifi, is a multi-faceted musician, producer and audio engineer. Originally from Southern California, Bijan has spent the last 15 years performing and producing music for various projects spanning from symphonic orchestras to hardcore metal bands. His talents range from music production and film production/electronic media to live sound mixing and recording. After attaining a B.S. from Full Sail University in Sound Engineering, Bijan moved to San Francisco and began working with with some of the most talented emerging artists on the west coast. He joins HSR as Sammy’s second engineer for Michelle’s recording sessions with her music partner Ricky Fataar, and audio engineer at both Harrison Street Records and Pine Mountain. He is available for projects of all ranges. We are happy to welcome Bijan to the HSR family and look forward to hearing the music he produces within the walls of Harrison Street Records.
Chris Nishimoto is the newest member of Michelle’s engineering team. He is a well-known house engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chris does all house mixes for Michelle’s shows and has recently started playing percussion with her band. Chris is also a talented assistant audio engineer and contributes to every recording session Michelle produces.