Michelle Branch was born July 2, 1983, in Flagstaff, Arizona, before moving to Sedona. Although Michelle didn't hail from a musical family -- her father is a former plumbing contractor and her mother a restaurant manager -- she claims that music has always been in her blood. The Beatles and other such classic tunes always resonated in the house, which may have contributed to her musical style today.
Michelle's musical aspiration stems from an early age, but she wanted to be in musicals -- Cats specifically -- and she was always inspired by movies such as The Sound of Music and Oklahoma. Her change of heart came about after a concert-going experience, which she describes as life changing. She attended a New Kids on the Block concert after having won tickets to the show, and seeing how their music touched the thousands of fans in the audience inspired her to be a musician rather than a Broadway star.
It was always obvious that Michelle had the voice, even at the early age of 3, but she honed her craft with the help of a vocal teacher named Gina Bettum, who became her mentor and taught her to sing with soul. Before then, she was enrolled in music lessons at the age of 8 and took her singing skills to the church choir, every Friday night.
The next step in Michelle's ascent to musical stardom was when she received her first guitar at age 14. She would lock herself in her room for days, and would come out with songs she had written herself. Too young to perform at bars, Michelle became a staple at local fairs, festivals and outdoor concerts. With her talented poetry and songwriting, voice sessions and guitar lessons, Michelle was becoming known as the young, local musical prodigy.
It was all uphill for Michelle in early 1999, when a friend of the family was giving a man in the music business a timeshare tour at a nearby resort and urged Michelle to come by. The aspiring songstress, accompanied by her sister and Jenifer Hagio (her best friend and fellow musician), hopped onto a golf cart and headed to the resort. Demo in hand, Michelle met with Jeff Rabhan.
Michelle had lost hope when Jeff Rabhan took a long time to call her back, but her despair turned to delight when he finally did make that fateful phone call. With Jeff as her manager, Michelle recorded a full-length indie album to be sold at shows and used as a demo -- the album is what would later become known as Broken Bracelet. With the help of the polished demo, Michelle landed a gig as an opening act on Hanson's "This Time Around" tour. Luckily for her, a Maverick representative was at the show and was impressed with Michelle's talent. Michelle was eventually signed to the record label Madonna founded.
She went into the recording studio in January 2001 (which served as the inspiration of the title of her debut album), and five weeks later, The Spirit Room was complete. The first single off the album went to the top of the music charts, and along with promotional tours and appearances on talk shows, helped propel The Spirit Room to platinum status in the US and Japan.
The Spirit Room's second single, "All You Wanted," is Michelle's favorite song on the album, and is garnering the same acclaim as its predecessor. The singer wrote or co-wrote every song on the album, and always plans to include songwriting in her musical career. Although she is being referred to as the happier-Alanis Morissette (ironically Maverick is Alanis' record label as well) the younger Sheryl Crow, and the antithesis of Britney, Michelle branches out to another level thanks to her non-angry lyrics and poetic music.
Citing Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, and Cat Stevens among her musical inspirations, Michelle plans to spend the rest of the year on the road, something she has been doing since the release of her album. While "Everywhere" is a love song, it really illustrates where Michelle has been since 2001.