To the serious soul aficionado, Mike Avery needs no introduction. He began his singing career with the vocal group New Image in the early seventies, building a strong local reputation that attracted the attention of Florida's mighty TK label (George McRae, Little Beaver). TK released a vocal harmony-style soul single by New Image called 'Dance Craze' that was poorly promoted. It remained unrecognized until unearthed years later by soul collectors, who have made the record popular in the contemporary soul dance scene. As the times changed, Mike Avery moved on to form one of the most respected bands in the Chicago area during the mid-seventies, Wrecking Crew. They were known both for their electrifying live shows around the city that always brought the house down, as well as their touring behind the Staple Singers. The Crew released two funky singles for their fans that are also furiously sought after by soul and disco lovers today all over the globe, 'Chance To Dance' and 'Found A Groove'. Mike spent the nineties working hard for various gigging bands and advertising firms, lending his vocal talents to a wide variety of commercial jingles and the corporate event circuit. Perhaps his most widely heard vocal appearance yet is his rendition of The Isley Brothers' 'Shout' for the popular Shout Stain Remover campaign. When Mavis Staples embarked on a major European tour in the early 1990s, she brought Mike along to open and close her shows and support her on stage. Encountering massive support and attention overseas, Mike began to plan a return to composing and performing his own work. Building local support in the Chicago area, he took his soulful live show to the Black Women's expo for 2 years. When R. Kelly put together an ensemble of Chicago's best voices for his recent gospel album U Saved Me (released as disc 2 of the Happy People release), Mike Avery was of course included.
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