Born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, pianist/singer-songwriter Michael Johnston is one of Canada's best-loved musicians.


Celebrating his 25-year anniversary in music, Michael brings genuine warmth and enthusiasm to every musical situation. The Scotsman wrote "exuberant Canadian Michael Johnston bounces around from instrument to instrument keeping the energy high.” Michael has also been called "the illegimate son of Burt Bacharach and Randy Newman" (En Route).

Michael’s 2016 album, The Bound Of The Red Deer, is a collaboration with Mercury Prize-Nominee King Creosote. Based around the piano and acoustic guitar, the recording is “richly ambient and elegaic” (Montreal Gazette) and a “record that will haunt you, inspire you and bring you joy” (Belleville Intelligencer).

Michael has toured, written and recorded with Juno-winning roots group Skydiggers since 2006.

Michael is also a member of Scottish-Canadian supergroup The Burns Unit. Formed at a songwriting retreat in rural Scotland, The Burns Unit released one album (voted #2 folk recording of 2011 by MOJOmagazine) and performed songs co-written by Michael on the Jools Holland Show (BBC).

A trusted collaborator, both on stage and in the studio, Michael has accompanied Canadian musical-theatre star Ramin Karimloo (Les Miserables), Scottish singer KT Tunstall, Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy and former NDP MP Andrew Cash.

He has co-written songs with the likes of Chris Difford (Squeeze) and Stephen Fearing (Blackie and The Rodeo Kings) and recorded with producers Gary Louris (Jayhawks) and Joel Plaskett.

Michael has contributed to over 40 recordings, including Canadian musicians Oh Susanna, Suzie Vinnick, John Southworth and Jory Nash. As a producer, he co-wroted and arranged the only recordings by Taylor Mitchell, and co-produced the debut by Saidah Baba Talibah (daughter of Salome Bey).

Michael's solo debut, Curious Heart, drew nationwide acclaim upon its release a decade ago. Based around the piano, and an all-star band led by producer Don Kerr (Ron Sexsmith), the album became a quick favourite of CBC, and led to festival bookings at Mariposa, Hillside and Summerfolk.

Michael has performed at venues across North America and the UK including The Interstellar Rodeo in Winnipeg (2016), Roy Thompson Hall (2015), National Arts Centre (2014), Koerner Hall (2013), Glenn Gould Theatre (2012), The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh (2011), The Cambridge Folk Festival, UK (2010), and Massey Hall (2009).

Michael lives in Toronto with his wife Annie McDonald and two children.

"...purely Canadian in all the best ways. Michael Johnston has finally succeeded in uniting our great land — at least musically."  - CHART

"Delicately beautiful..." - the Toronto Sun

For more quotes and press about Michael, click here

For Michael's demo reel, click here