Wheeler (Michael Lewis Wheeler) was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 30, 1961. His music career spans more than 30 years. He played his first gig in 1984 with Muddy Waters' piano player, Lovie Lee, at Lilly's, a Lincoln Park bar in Chicago.
His mother was his first musical influence by playing blues (such as Muddy Waters and B.B. King), R&B, and soul records in their home.
He recorded and played on numerous Chicago blues bands including Dave Cadillac and the Chicago Redhots, Sam Cockrell and the Grooves, Nellie Tiger Travis, Big Ray and Chicago's Most Wanted, Big James and The Chicago Playboys, and Peaches Staten and the Grooveshakers.
He performed with well-known blues artists such as Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland, Jimmy Johnson, Son Seals, and Willie Kent. He tours in Europe and he has played at the Chicago Blues Festival. In 2014, he was inducted into the Chicago Blues Halls of Fame as a Master Blues Artist. He is a regular performer at the famed Chicago blues club, Kingston Mines.
Wheeler formed his own band in 2001, the Mike Wheeler Band. The band has all of its original members. Bassist Larry Williams was a childhood friend of Wheeler. He has played to national and international audiences. He is known for his stage presence and charisma.
Drummer Cleo Cole started playing drums at the age of 10, studied at the Music Conservatory of Chicago, and has performed before international audiences. Keyboardist Brian James has an associate degree in Fine Arts. He was the music director for numerous artists, including Lonnie Brooks.
Mike Wheeler has a vast knowledge of music and a voice that's reminiscent of the late Sam Cooke. He can sing and play everything so well that you may forget what the original record even sounds like. From Jazz to Rock, from popular music to Top 40, he slides in and out of musical genres with sophistication, ease and indulgence.
Mike Wheeler is a brilliant staple in the Chicago blues community, playing and writing songs for a variety of Chicago artists including, Nellie Tiger Travis, Peaches Staten, Sam Cockrell, Demetria Taylor, Big Ray & Cadillac Dave.
Mike was a well known member of Big James & The Chicago Playboys, a notable band in Chicago and recorded five albums with the group. He has travelled the world as an ambassador for Chicago blues music. He's been to Monaco, France, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium, just to name a few.
He's also shared the stage with the most elite musicians the world has known, including Willie Kent, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, George Benson, Jimmy Johnson and Shemekia Copeland. He also arranged the rhythm section and played lead guitar on BigLLou's award winning debut album. Mike was inducted in the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame in 2014.