|Born||November 26, 1945|
|Origin||Evanston, Illinois, U.S.|
|Genres||Contemporary Christian, pop, rock, R&B|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, musician, record producer|
|Instruments||Piano, organ, synthesizers|
|Associated acts||Steely Dan, Rhythm Heritage, Stormie Omartian, 2nd Chapter of Acts|
Michael Omartian (born November 26, 1945) is an American singer-songwriter, keyboardist, and music producer. He has been a participant in numerous albums, during a career that has spanned over 38 years. As a producer, he has had No. 1 records in three consecutive decades. He is a multiple Grammy Award winner, including for Keyboardist of the Year and Producer of the Year. He spent five years on the A&R staff of ABC/Dunhill Records, as a producer, artist and arranger. He was subsequently hired by Warner Bros. Records as a producer and A&R staff member. Omartian moved from Los Angeles to Nashville in 1993, where he served on the Board of Governors of the Recording Academy and has helped to shape the curriculum for the first Master’s Degree program in the field of Music Business at Belmont University.
Omartian has produced albums for several artists including Clint Black, Michael Bolton, Dolly Parton, Debby Boone, Steve Camp, Peter Cetera, Christopher Cross, Joe "Bean" Esposito, Amy Grant, Benny Hester, Whitney Houston, The Imperials, The Jacksons, Cliff Richard, Rod Stewart, Donna Summer, Wayne Watson and Trisha Yearwood.
In the late 1960s, Omartian helped launch Campus Crusade for Christ's new music outreach group, 'The New Folk'. In that capacity he arranged much of the music and assisted in training the singers. He was also a founding member of the 1970s disco-funk band Rhythm Heritage, and he also played as a session musician for artists including Koinonia, Steely Dan, The Four Tops, Johnny Rivers, Seals and Crofts, Al Jarreau and Loggins & Messina.
Omartian has recorded a number of highly polished contemporary Christian music albums under his own name, including White Horse, Mainstream, Adam Again, Conversations (an instrumental album). Virtually all of his solo albums are now out-of-print. Omartian produced several Christian albums, most notably for The Imperials on the award-winning albums Priority (1980) and One More Song for You (1979).
In 1980, thanks to the Christopher Cross debut album, Omartian was nominated for ten Grammy Awards, winning three, including Producer of the Year.
In 2003, Omartian scored an audio book rendition of the biblical gospels, called Gospels Come to Life. The audio Bible was read by fellow CCM writer/musician Michael W. Smith, based on musical ideas by Smith. The Spanish version of this audio Bible was narrated by CCM artist, Jaci Velasquez.
Toward the end of 2006 he contributed to an album with Annie Herring (of 2nd Chapter of Acts) called One on One, he plays piano as the solo instrument throughout with Herring providing vocals. One on One was his second collaboration with Herring; the first being the 1983 album Together Live, a collaborative, in-concert effort with Herring's family trio, 2nd Chapter of Acts, and Omartian's wife, Stormie. The live double-LP album was recorded in 1982 at The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California. The album was also released on in video format.
Omartian is the first producer in recording history to have number one records in three separate decades - the seventies, eighties and nineties. In 1980, he was nominated for ten Grammy Awards, three of which he won for his work on Christopher Cross' debut album. He has been nominated for producer of the year three times, in 1981, 1985 and 1987. In 1991 he was nominated for album of the year for Heart in Motion by Amy Grant. In 1995 he was nominated for country song of the year, "When Love Finds You", with Vince Gill, and for Gospel Album of the Year, The Light Inside, with Gary Chapman. In 1994 Omartian produced One Voice, an album for the Summer Olympic Games. His song entitled "Atlanta Reel" was used as the theme for the swimming events.
In one year alone, he was nominated for ten Grammy Awards, three of which he won for producing and arranging on Christopher Cross' debut album:
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