Michelle Cleary
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Michelle Cleary

Staten Island, New York, United States

Staten Island, New York, United States
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter




"Singer Michelle Cleary Sets Out on Personal Promise"

by Megan McGibney

Singer Michelle Cleary enters the Starbucks in New Dorp full of energy. She has a lot on her mind, but mainly she is focused on her CD release party at The Full Cup in a few days.

“I am excited,” the Oakwood resident says. “I hope to gain fans I don’t know about.”

Cleary is releasing her second EP – a five song album called Remind Me. She did this CD as a clear progression in her song writing, something she has been doing for the past three years – even though she has been singing for over ten.

Cleary, the 35 year old daughter of a retired firefighter, grew up singing in church and school choirs. She began singing The Star Spangled Banner at funerals for those who died on 9/11, as well as street sign dedications, after her father’s friend – a head of ceremonies – asked her to do the singing.

“I’m not your typical musician,” she explains. “I have not been playing music my whole life though I always dreamed about it. I had no confidence, no belief, no guidance.”

Following singing the national anthem at funerals and dedications, Cleary began singing at local sports events and eventually found herself at Madison Square Garden for Knicks games.

But eventually Cleary decided to take her singing further, mainly because she didn’t want to miss out.

“I didn’t want to have any regrets,” she says. “One day I’ll be 65 and I would feel regret. So I thought, why not take it to the next level? We get only one shot in life.”

One song on her new CD, called If Only, is reflects Cleary’s intolerance of regret. Another song, the title track to Remind Me, is about her lifelong struggle with self-worth.

“I often don’t remember what I’ve accomplished,” she says. “Basically that song is a request to friends and family who have always been there to do so.”

The songs on Cleary’s new EP will all written by her, with help by Tina Kenny of the Bad Mouth Betties. The musicians are Vinny D’Orio on bass, Erika Strobel – also of the Bad Mouth Betties – on drums, sax player is Anthony Masi, and Matt Pitta on guitars. While she does sing about her personal struggles, Cleary also sings about relationships, which she considers to be a “muse” to her songwriting.

“I like singing, I like making people feel something,” she says. “When I write songs, its like a sculpture; I have to get it right. I have to find the right words to make people get it.”

On Saturday, January 14th 2012, Cleary is performing at The Full Cup on Van Duzer Street as the main headline of the night. A large crowd turns up, most of them there to see her. When she gets on stage, the crowd cheers wildly for her.

The show, lasting about an hour, features both songs from her new EP and her self titled debut CD, as well as covering songs by Billy Joel and Adele. There is a mixture of slow beat and quick beat songs.

Everything is well received and Cleary enjoys herself as she performs. Anyone interested in the whole EP bought either the actual CD or a card to download it.

While Cleary is not looking to tour yet with her music, she does have plans

“I want to be known on Staten Island in four months,” she says. “I played at Arlene’s Grocery but it is hard to get a following in Manhattan.”

She was told that in order to get started, she had to take over her hometown.

“It’s all about strategy,” Cleary smiles.

Remind Me is not the last one would hear from her. She is working on a full length CD, plus has a 9/11 inspired song called Not Forgotten which raises money for military, FDNY, NYPD and veteran charities. Cleary collaborated with her team during the course of last year, and the song has been performed at Nassau Coliseum, and WCBS did a story about the project.

At the same time, while music is her passion, it is not Cleary’s whole life. She works as a psychotherapist and is working on a book about eating disorders.

“My existence and happiness does not depend on this,” she says about her music. “I’m doing what feels right. - Staten Island Beacon

"Local Songwriters Pen Moving Tribute To Our Fallen Heroess"

Local NYC songwriters Vinny D’Orio, Dave Rath, Michelle Cleary and Tina Kenny have released an incredibly moving tribute to all of our fallen heroes just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. If you have lost a loved one in the armed or civil services, you better break out your tissues. It’s gonna get a little wet in here…

“Not Forgotten” was written for and is dedicated to anyone who has lost their lives in the line of duty. The song conveys the message that those we have lost continue to impact us on a daily basis. We remember who they were and how they influenced us. It reiterates the promise that we will not forget their sacrifice.

“Not Forgotten” communicates that even in the absence of a loved one their presence remains, their impact on our lives continues, and most of all our love for them endures. Michelle, Vinny, Dave, and Tina wrote a song that reiterates the promise… we will not forget.

“Not Forgotten” was written by Vinny D’Orio, a NYC Police Officer of four years and retired NYC Firefighter; Dave Rath, a Lt. with the FDNY; Michelle Cleary, the daughter of a retired NYC firefighter, professional anthem singer, and singer/songwriter; and Tina Kenny, professional musician.

A portion of all proceeds will be donated to various charities.
Get it on iTunes >

The writer’s of ‘Not Forgotten’ have personal reasons to ‘give back’. Not only are each of them deeply connected to the events of September 11th but they genuinely support, admire, and wholeheartedly appreciate the men and women of our military. A large percentage of the proceeds generated for ‘Not Forgotten’ will be donated back to those who protect their communities and their country. Three charities have been chosen – one in support of the military, one in support of the member’s of the police department, and one in support of the member’s of the fire department. Below are links to each of the charities. Please take the time to visit their sites to find out about their programs and assistance.
- Fresh 102.7 (NYC Radio Station)


EP: Michelle Cleary (released August 2009)
Single: Not Forgotten (released May 2011)
EP: Remind Me (released September 2011)



Taylor Swift appeals to girls who are about 12-25 years old…then Michelle Cleary takes over.

Warm sincerity shines through her “perfectly put” lyrics and rich voice. Infectious melodies carry messages of Love and Hope. From heart ache to heart mend; insecurity to self-discovery; and, from loss to revelation … yeah, Michelle has a song for that. If there was ever an artist that you could find connection with, she’s it.

She has been more then merely “influenced” by artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette, Jewel, Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Barielles, Counting Crows, Missy Higgins, Jason Mraz, and Christina Perri, Skylar Grey (etc). Each of these artists have spent their fair share of time on repeat, accompanying Michelle through a whole lot of life…
“Fingers wide spread against the wall”, Michelle has found her way through the dark. Against the odds she has found her voice.

Her Story:
Michelle is a singer, songwriter, and professional anthem singer from New York City. She has performed the anthem at Madison Square Garden over 30 times. NY Rangers hockey, Knicks basketball, Big East Tournament games, and HBO's PPV Calzaghe vs. Jones Jr. World Championship boxing match are just a few of the events this captivating singer has performed at.

Michelle's story is not your typical "follow your dreams" scenario. Having focused on her career as a psychotherapist through her 20's and having pretty much no musical background, it didn't look likely music was going to be more then a hobby. After singing for a sold out Ranger game she was asked, “you made it to the Garden giving only 15% of your time to music, what would happen if you gave music 100% of your time”? It was then Michelle decided to avoid a potential world of regret and actively pursue a career in music. Her only regular gig had been at Madison Square Garden where she knew she could win over a crowd of 20,000 with her anthems… so now the question was, could she win over a crowd with her originals? She was running late and trailing far behind the rest of the NYC singer/songwriter pack.

She had a lot to learn in a short period of time but she began song writing with purpose and with an unyielding determination to find her "voice". Michelle was determined to catch up!

Since then she has been turning out songs that truly connect with her listeners. She writes with the intelligent self-awareness of Ingrid Michaelson and the poignant angst of Alanis Moressette. Her voice has been described as a stylistic union of Missy Higgins, Jewel, and Taylor Swift.

In the past two years Michelle has performed at The Bitter End, Arlene’s Grocery, The Alphabet Lounge, etc. and oh yeah, a little venue called Nassau Coliseum! She was chosen as one of the Music Showcases for the 1st annual CBGB's Music Festival and was featured on Channel 2 News where she performed her original tribute song "Not Forgotten" Hmmmm... We think she’s picked up the pace.

Michelle knows she's not the average aspiring musician from the lower east side of NYC and she believes her purpose is to show the world you don’t necessarily have to “fit the mold” to be successful.