Michael & Patty Silversher
A conversation with Michael and Patty Silversher -
How did you get your start?
MICHAEL- I started writing songs when I was 8- As the years progressed, I had a rock band for many years performing all over the Bay Area with the band and as a solo act. I became a staff writer for the 5th Dimension and
then ended up as musical director for TheatreWorks in Palo Alto for 10 years which gave me the experience of writing on assignment, for deadlines, for characters and for voices not only with success as well as failure.
From TheatreWorks, I worked with the Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep and composer in residence for the Sundance Institute and most recently, for the Kennedy Center.
PATTY- I played guitar and wrote songs for fun while in college. When I met Michael, we entered a Christmas song International songwriting contest and I worked with him on the lyric. We won. After that, we started collaborating on many songs and projects.
We started the South Bay Songwriter's Association to bring the craft and business of songwriting to the Bay Area. We fell into Children's music as we were introduced to the publisher at Disney through a volunteer of SBSA and from there on, our collaboration with Disney expanded to writing and producing over 130 songs with that company. We have been fortunate to write for the Jim Henson Company, Sony, Warner Brothers, MGM and Children's television workshop having songs recorded and produced by Luther Vandross, Little Richard, Melissa Manchester, Karla Bonoff, Brenda Russel and of course, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Winnie the Pooh, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzy and our current favorites The Pajanimals!
Who are your major influences?
MICHAEL- The Beatles, of course!, Aaron Copeland and Leonard Bernstein, Traditional Irish music, Peter
Gabriel because he opened me up to a lot of World Music, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and just about everybody
except for Phillip Glass.
PATTY- Motown, Supremes, Beach Boys, 50's rock and Roll, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Carole KIng,
Hall David and all of the Brill Building writers, and also every dog I have ever owned inspires me to write
for little people!
What sparks your passion to write?
MICHAEL- What somebody says, hearing a sound and whatever music rises above the white noise
PATTY- The child inside of me that always has something to say.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
MICHAEL- I love the folks I am already collaborating with- if there was one person, I would say, Elvis Costello because he would draw the essence of me out of myself.
PATTY- Actually, I love collaborating with Michael- I think it would be fun to write with Dick Sherman
Where do you find the best place to write your songs, at home, restaurant, coffee house etc.,?
MICHAEL- Doing mindless activities like shopping or cooking and just walking around with my dog.
PATTY- Well, Lots of times I will wake up and write ideas down. Also working at home writing while gardening, cleaning and sitting in my back yard next to my babbling brook.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
MICHAEL- I want to continue songwriting but I have been composing the scores for some TV shows and I would like to continue doing that as well as writing for films and concert halls.
PATTY- I would like to have a Bichon Farm with 250 Bichons running all over the place and me as the Alpha Dog. On the farm there will be a public Botanical garden with a nursery and a wildlife refuge. An amphitheatre will be in the center for live community performances and concerts with a small gift shop that has a little cafe.
What made you join WCS?
M & P- We started it in our living room in 1979 and look where it is today!
What made you decide to become Volunteer with WCS? What do YOU get out of your participation?
No one would pay us as we had no budget and only volunteers to help us grow- We started it out of a passion for music and community and also we felt it was vitally important that if one were to be successful in the music business it was 50% the craft of writing and 50% the business of music.
Anything else you’d like to add?
WCS was instrumental in introducing us to a career that has lasted 32 years where we have been privileged to write for every genre of music for all ages and for all people all over the world.