Mike’s songwriting career
Mike Reid received his degree in music from Penn State University in 1970. But that achievement was considerably overshadowed by his reputation on the football field.At Penn State he was an All-America selection and won the Outland Trophy as the country’s outstanding collegiate lineman. He was the first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals that year and at the end of his first season in the NFL, was named Defensive Rookie Of The Year.
Reid’s success continued when he was voted NFL All-Pro in 1972 and ‘73. In spite of these honors, Reid decided he would rather play music than football for a living. He retired from the Bengals and in 1980, moved to Nashville to pursue song writing.
Since 1983 when Mike Reid scored his first number one country hit song “Inside” by Ronnie Milsap, he has composed more than 30 top ten country and pop hits. Twenty-one of those records have gone all the way to number one on the charts. He has been the recipient of ASCAPS’ “Songwriter of the Year” award and one of the many songs that Milsap recorded, “Stranger In My House”, has earned a Grammy award.
In addition to Milsap, Reid has had his songs recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Anita Baker, Bette Midler, Prince, George Michael, Nancy Wilson, Etta James, Kenny Rogers, Ann Murray, Wynonna Judd, Alabama, Joe Cocker, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, Collin Raye and Tim McGraw. Among the songs that Mike has composed are “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (Raitt, Michael and Prince), “My Strongest Weakness” and “To Be Loved By You” (Judd), “In This Life” (Raye and Midler), “Sometimes I Wonder Why” (Baker), “Forever’s As Far As I’ll Go” (Alabama) and “Everywhere” (McGraw).
In addition, Reid was commissioned by the Kandinsky Trio of Roanoke, Virginia to write a piece for piano trio and storyteller. The piece, entitled “The Cantankerous Blacksmith,” premiered in the fall of 1995 and continues to be part of the Kandinsky’s touring repertoire. Reid has collaborated with librettist Sarah Schlesinger on a one-act opera commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera Guild and Opera Memphis that explores the myth of celebrity in contemporary American sports.
The opera, entitled “Different Fields”, received its premiere in New York City at the New Victory Theatre on Broadway. “Different Fields” has since been produced in Memphis and Nashville and by The Cincinnati Opera. Reid and Schlesinger’s musical entitled “The Ballad of Little Jo” received a 1998 Richard Rodgers Foundation Award and its first production in September 2000 at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater won the Joseph Jefferson award for Best New Musical. It has also been produced at the Bridewell Theater in London. Currently it is in development at The Public Theater in New York City. Reid’s composition “Eye of The Blackbird”, a setting for piano trio and soprano of Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, was given its world premiere in Roanoke, Virginia by the Kandinsky Trio and soprano Elizabeth Weigle.
Shortly thereafter, the group performed the piece at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. His latest work, a setting of the Billy Collins poem “The Night House” for piano trio and soprano received its premier performance by The Kandinsky Trio and Miss Weigle in December of 2007.
Presently, Mike divides his time between Nashville and New York City with his wife and their children. He is currently at work writing songs as well as composing the score for the musical “Casanova Returns” slated for a workshop in Australia.