Singer, guitarist and songwriter Mike Zito grew up in St. Louis, immersed in the gritty and soulful sounds of the city’s south side that would provide the groundwork for his future in music. He began singing and performing at the age of five, received his first guitar not long afterward, and music has been his guiding force ever since. Working at a local guitar shop after high school, he encountered many of the legends of the local music scene. “Everyone from Chuck Berry to [bluesman] Bennie Smith came in that store,” Zito says of his experience. “I soaked up the sounds of that store, and began building my own style.”
Zito’s journey took off in earnest at the age of 19, when he began making a name for himself as a unique new voice on the highly competitive St. Louis music scene. His incessant touring schedule found him crisscrossing the country playing everywhere from funky roadhouses to major festival stages to an international tour for the USO, and performing in front of enthusiastic crowds six nights a week around St. Louis when not on the road. During this period of intense music making Zito began to hone and polish his art, developing a breathtaking level of virtuosity and a unique expressive voice with both his singing and guitar playing, while at the same time stripping away the non-essential elements and cutting to the core of what moved a live audience.
But throwing himself headfirst into the pursuit of his art had a toll, and Zito paid it. The non-stop lifestyle led to a dark and dangerous period during which Zito came close to drinking and drugging away all that he’d worked so hard to establish. It took time, but thankfully, with the help and intervention of friends and supporters in the music business, loved ones, and the woman who would become his wife, Zito regained his faith in himself and his music, cleaned up his act, and settled down in Southeast Texas to begin anew.
With a clean slate, a fresh outlook, and a new dedication to his music, Zito now also had a message of positivity and redemption that has informed his new music with a deeper meaning and taken it to an entirely new level. Zito is that rare new artist who completely in synch with the contemporary music scene, while at the same time having a lifetime’s worth of experience to draw from that informs his music with soul, depth, and lasting appeal that grows with repeated listening.