Michael, who is also a world class percussionist versed in Reggae, Latin and Brazilian Jazz, grew up in Chicago and began playing drums at age four. Influenced by the city's lively music scene and inspired by legends like Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Elvin Jones, as well as Coltrane and Miles, he was always active in school and neighborhood bands the same. He earned several scholarships, including one to the American Conservatory of Music, a prestigious Chicago music college, where he solidified his drumming skills and learned about composition, mallets, and piano playing.
From local gigs, playing with the likes of Ramsey Lewis, word of his talent spread and soon he was too busy working and was forced to drop out of school. Soon he was laying down grooves for some of Chicago highest profile artists, among those being The Dells, Curtis Mayfield, The Impressions, and Jerry Butler. Michael went on his first tour during this time with Denise Williams and a tour with Lou Rawls and Curtis Mayfield soon followed.
Michael ventured to Los Angeles in 1982, where he put to test his credo that "To be a working musician you can't be one-dimensional." During a gig at a Chicago club Phil Upchurch told Michael that if he came to LA, he would offer him a regular Sunday gig at the Baked Potato, which would offer the young musician maximum exposure to the cities top musicians. He took the bait, and was soon embarking on a whirlwind career - alternating studio, movie scores and jingle dates with extensive touring with the who's who of modern music.
The litany of Michael White's studio and live association over the years is staggering in its versatility and adaptability to all genres. Of his ability to play in such diverse settings, Michael comments, "It's all music to me. As a drummer the main thing I think about is the groove! Everything else is just icing on the cake."