Mike Whitebread
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Mike Whitebread

Houston, Texas, United States | INDIE

Houston, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Acoustic


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"American singer and songwriter, Kareem Salama tours the Middle East"

Jerusalem: A key priority for the Obama Administration, as outlined in the President's speech last June in Cairo, is launching "a new beginning" in America's relationship with the Muslim world. The U.S. Department State and U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the globe are actively pursuing a variety of cultural, education and information programs to showcase respect for diverse cultures, faiths and traditions. As part of these efforts, American country and pop singer and songwriter, Kareem Salama (http://www.kareemsalama.com), is participating in a one-month, seven-country tour, of the Middle East, including stops in Egypt, Morocco, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Jerusalem and the West Bank.

During his visit to Jerusalem and the West Bank, Salama will give free live concerts on Thursday, May 20 at 7:30pm at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem and on Friday, May 21 at 7:30 pm at Al Hamra Palace in Ramallah. He will perform at other venues and participate in community outreach events in other locations in the West Bank. Salama will be accompanied by three other accomplished musicians: Dan Workman, JJ Worthen and Michael Whitebread. - US State Department

"UST Grad Plays on International Music Tour"

In a competitive music world, music students dream of touring internationally. University of St. Thomas graduate Michael Whitebread is living that dream.

Whitebread graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing, and again in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in music theory and composition. He recently returned from his second international tour with country singer Kareem Salama, sponsored by the U. S. State Department. They traveled to seven different countries in the Middle East playing for workshops in refugee camps during the day and concerts at night.

Whitebread said his involvement with the tour was one of happenstance.

“I taught Kareem Salama guitar lessons a few years ago and we became friends,” Whitebread said. “In 2008, we went to Berlin and London and played some events there. He remembered me; we hit it off and he called me when he had this last tour.”

The Kareem Salama Tour was designed to bring rising American musical talent, representative of America’s diversity of faith and heritage, to audiences in the Middle East to serve as a bridge between their culture and that of America, the U. S. State Department website explained.

“Kareem is an American-Egyptian Muslim,” Whitebread said. “We traveled around and he would sing country songs in English and in Arabic.”

On this tour, Whitebread was one of Salama’s backup guitarists. Whitebread has future plans for more international tours. A trip to Lebanon in the coming months is in the works.

In addition to his recent tours, Whitebread has also made a name for himself in the Houston music community. The Burdener, an album produced by Whitebread for his friend and fellow UST alumnus Craig Kinsey, was named by the Houston Chronicle one of the “Best 12 Texas Albums This Year.” He also teaches guitar at the Christ United Methodist Fine Arts Academy in Sugar Land and plays with various groups around the city.

Whitebread is returning to UST once again this semester as a guitar teacher for the UST Music Preparatory School. He expressed excitement about returning to his alma mater and working with his former professor, Paul Krystofiak, who directs the preparatory school for young musicians.

The Music Preparatory School is a community outreach that offers private instruction to pre-college music students and non-traditional hobbyists. Interested students may contact the director, Paul Krystofiak, for more information at 713-525-3566 or by email at krystop@stthom.edu.

“I am delighted that Mike has joined the faculty as a guitar instructor,” Krystofiak said. “It is wonderful he is once again sharing his talents. Mike deserves all the opportunities that have come his way. He is a remarkable ambassador for the university.”

Whitebread said he finds teaching to be “wonderfully rewarding.” He enjoys, “encouraging each student’s growth and confidence while having a great time sharing music.”

Whitebread ‘s UST education has given him the flexibility to work in both the business sector and the music industry.

“I worked in advertising for a couple years and I just didn’t really like it, so I came back for my music degree,” Whitebread said. “I studied guitar for about five years; I took a lot of private lessons and ensembles while I was doing my marketing degree and I should have known to do music instead of marketing. Like a classic college student, I tried lots of things.”

Whitebread advises students to, “just do what you love and do what you enjoy. If you stay at it long enough, you’ll find the right path.”

- University of St. Thomas


Appeared on:

Craig Kinsey, forthcoming abum (2012)
I am Mesmer, I am Mesmer (2009)
Craig Kinsey, The Burdener (2008)



Michael has performed and instructed professionally as a guitarist for the last 15 years. Having toured throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and America, Michael has emerged as a sought-after guitarist and musician playing pop, jazz, and country music. Past appearances have included ABC World News, CNN, BBC World News, BBC4, German and French TV, as well as various ‘Late Night’ and morning talk shows for radio and television throughout the world. Michael has also performed as an American ambassador for the U.S. State Department in settings as diverse as Berlin’s ‘Amerikafest’ and inside Jerusalem’s Old City.

As a studio musician, Michael has collaborated with Grammy-winning engineers and producers in production and arranging with artists from his hometown of Houston, Texas. His work as a producer helped earn a 2008 ‘Best Of’ award in the Houston Chronicle and Houston Press, including a ‘Top 10 Texas albums of the year’ recognition. As a multi-instrumentalist, he has performed and recorded professionally on guitar, electric and upright bass, piano, organ, drum set/percussion, and voice.

Michael also serves as a faculty guitar instructor at the University of St. Thomas Music Preparatory School in the Montrose area of Houston, TX.