Michaele Alyras Seirei de Cygne (Alyras)
Michaele/Alyras began playing piano by ear at age two. Her natural music proficiency led her to become a multi-instrumentalist (playing 14 instruments), composer, songwriter and arranger by the time she was 16 years old. Beginning her professional music career as a vocalist, at age 16 (in Seattle, WA, progressing through working with keyboardist, Philip Woo, and studying the stage craft of Bernadette Bascom), she evolved into a career path as a self-contained recording artist.
Two years later, she recorded a demo, performing all vocal, and instrumental tracks, intending to take it to Los Angeles, in order to get a record deal with Ivory Tower records, (Joe Jackson's [the Jackson's father's] record label. She had a crush ln LaToya, and the deal was all about buyin' time to get with her.) Boldly, she took that trip, walked into the company's office, and handed her demo to Don Blocker, their A&R guy. The next day, he called her, and offered her a recording contract. 24 hours before the contract was to be signed, Don called her, and said, "Your life is going to change, forever. I just want you to think about whether you really want this." That night, she confronted the reality that, at that time, she was living as a boy--named Michael. She knew that she would need to change her gender and sex, probably within the contract's time frame, and she believed that her doing so would not fly with Joe, nor with the audience that the company would target for Michael. People had been saying that he and Michael Jackson were alike since she was 12, and they would probably become good friends; she perceived that her sex change would cause major speculation, and rumor of such in his direction too The result would likely leave her career in a shambles by the time she reached her mid-20s, the press would have speculated in ways that would seriously [bleeep] with MJ's life--not to mention what that would have done to LaToya, if they had hooked up. She decided not to put herself, (or him, or her), through that; to change first, get a record deal second. She called Don the next morning to both thank him, and to decline the contract. [A few days later, while sitting in a McDonald's, LaToya came in with two friends, and sat two seats away from him, facing him. He was so shy, he could not even bring himself to say more than "Hi" to her as she passed him on their way out. (See why she needed that deal? But, then again, LaToya's apparently not into women, that way; so; it all worked out okay, as far as giving up that fantasy was concerned.)]
Interestingly, in her mid-20's, after being music director for a jazz chamber orchestra in northern California, and having thereafter changed gender to womanhood, then reverting back to manhood, (as a result of needing to expediently heal from a terrible car-pedestrian accident that nearly left her crippled--she was not in the car), she received a call from Richard Rudolph one day, offering to assist her in getting a record deal. He connect the artist with producers, (composers, arrangers...), Don Freeman, and Warren Giancatarino. Shortly after the tracks the three of them put together we're added to those she had done herself, A&M's John McLain offered her (still living as a guy) a deal to start a band with Lenny Kravitz, simultaneously with MCA's Jheryl Busby offering her a solo deal. Her manager, Brian Avnet, opted for the MCA deal; she opted to trust his guidance. She signed, and within a month, all of the people who had brought her into the company, were gone--no allies remained, and the remaining power players were decidedly not into computer-based music, no matter how high its commercial potential was--and the company turned from artists like her, Stephanie Mills, Gladys Knight, Joe Sample, Colonel Abrams, and a lot of other excellent artists, to focus on the youth market, i.e. teenage artists. In limbo, she, along with several of her age peers, and older artists, departed from the label. She decided to give her music the benefit of her authenticity, and left her manhood behind.
Eventually, she met singer/songwriter, producer Seth Hartman, and formed Immortal Dream with him. They released a self-titled album, which is a musical interpretation of Anne Rice's "The Vampire Lestat". Unfortunately, Michaele's health, and domestic challenges prevented the two from making the most of their relationship before Michaele finally had to depart L.A., to San Francisco, in 2001. There, she progressed into being a producer of a variety of musical genres, as she extended her own recording, and composing interests into those genres. Presently, Alyras heads Art of Pop (AoP), which is the repository, and fountainhead for all of her creative work. Her music has been featured on such television shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, the Jennifer Love Hewitt Show and others. (As the former Soprano Section Leader and Assistant Conductor of the Transcendence Gospel Choir, the world's first transgender Gospel choir), she has also been featured in the LGBT documentaries, "The Believers" and "Why We Sing."
Michaele is also a writer, actor, dancer, visual artist, cleric and inventor (software). San Francisco, CA is her home, where she lives as a reclusive workaholic.
All of the AoP profiles are simply Michaele/Alyras expressing her talents, and capacities, in distinctly different ways. The whole, Art of Pop, is greater than the sum of its parts; nonetheless, take time to enjoy all the parts--you'll be glad you did so.
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