Next generation Nuyorrican salsa singer Michael Stuart was born January 5, 1975 in NYC of Puerto Rican parents who emigrated to the city in the '60s. He spent significant amounts of time both in New York and Puerto Rico throughout his childhood. From a very young age, he was influenced by his uncle, bandleader Israel "Timbalero" Stuart, and his father's love for music. Playing together at home with his mentors, Stuart became familiar with the percussion instruments and melodies that laid the groundwork for modern salsa music. Though also interested in the rock and R&B heard on the streets of NYC, he was weaned on artists such as Ismael Rivera, Héctor Lavoe and Andy Montañez. Even without the advantage of formal training, he landed a gig singing coro for the well established Puerto Rican bandleader Wichy Camacho at the age of twenty. Through his connections with Camacho, Stuart met and was offered work with Johnny Rivera and Marc Anthony. As he found himself in more professional situations, the idea of recording a demo and moving towards a solo career became increasingly tempting. His demo track "Tu y Yo" garnered attention from a number of important salsa labels, including RMM who eventually signed the young talent. His debut disc Cuentos de la Vecindad was a significant hit, earning him the Tu Musica Award for Best New Artist in 1997. His follow-up disc Retratos was met with similarly positive press. Career highlights include the 2005 Latin Grammy nomination of his fifth disc Sin Miedo for Best Tropical-Contemporary Album and nominations for Billboard Music Awards in both 2006 and 2007. After a long and fruitful relationship with RMM, Stuart initiated a relationship with Universal's Machete Music with his 2006 release Back to Da Barrio, followed in 2007 with by Sentimiento de un Rumbero. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi