Mike was born in Panama City, Florida, but moved with his family to Athens, Georgia at the age of five. When he was twelve he started playing the violin. As a freshman in high school, Mike was invited to play in the Georgia All State Orchestra and he also played in the University of Georgia orchestra.

In his junior year in high school his dad purchased him a Silvertone Guitar from Sears, Roebuck and Company and the fiddle has been on the "back burner" ever since. Learning the guitar became a passion for Mike. He was influenced musically by the popular folk artists of the time - Bob Dylan, John Denver, John Prine and Doc Watson. Their "thought provoking", honest musical approaches still influence Mike's singing and writing.

In the late sixties he began playing in coffeehouses, speakeasies and other "nice joints" in the Atlanta and Athens, Georgia area. In his performances, Mike included a few original songs. Positive feedback from patrons encouraged him to continue to write songs.

In the late seventies, with encouragement from his wife Crystie, Mike started making regular trips to Nashville. The "dues paying" really began at this point.

In 1982, after years of dropping off tapes, talking to publishers and being told "You're hooks ain't strong enough", Mike decided to record one of his own songs. He'd developed a close friendship with the late Roger Bowling (writer of "Lucille", "Coward of the County", "Blanket On The Ground") a Hall of Fame songwriter. "Roger Bowling was that first person who wanted to see me realize a dream." He introduced Mike to Byron Hill, then a young writer/producer for ATV Music Group in Nashville. Mike says "Byron Hill is a creative genius whose songwriting and producer credits are legendary." Byron produced Mike's first record, "Scarlet Fever". This song was a chart maker in Billboard Magazine and a pick hit. Within weeks of Mike's release, Kenny Rogers heard the song on a local radio station and contacted Mike and asked about recording the song himself. Kenny recorded "Scarlet Fever" and released it in July, 1983. This was Mike's first published song and it became Mike's first number one. Soon after Kenny Rogers' publishing company, Lionsmate Music, signed Mike to an exclusive writer's contract. Their association lasted until Kenny sold his publishing company. Kenny has recorded six of Mike's songs to date. "Kenny Rogers is a warm and caring man and friend who gave me instant credibility as a songwriter... I can never thank him enough."

In 1987 Mike signed with Song Source, Inc. This association produced cuts by Ricky Skaggs, T.G. Sheppard, Moe Bandy, The Whites, Hank Thomson, Keith Whitley and several overseas artists. From 1990 until 1994 Mike published his own songs in Square D Music. In 1994 Mike signed with Almo Irving Music in Nashville. Since signing there, Mike's had a top ten hit with Tracy Byrd titled "Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine". Mike's latest songs are published by Square D Music, including a new song on Gene Watson's current CD, "No Trash In My Trailer".

Mike's "Fine Tuned" album was released in 2000 and garnered him his first success on the Americana charts. "Fine Tuned" has been a great calling card for Mike among industry professionals, especially on Nashville's Music Row, and has led to other artists recording some of the songs from the album, including Joe Nichol's 2001 recording of "Joe's Place".

In 2003, Mike released his "Sketches" album that resulted in several of his songs being covered by artists like Joe Nichols, Gene Watson, and Rhonda Vincent.

He followed "Sketches" with his fourth album "Tunesmith," released in January of 2006. The album contains the song "Size Matters," which was covered by Joe Nichols and released as a single at the same time.

Mike is currently at work on his fifth studio album, planned for release sometime in 2007.

Mike says, "I consider myself a sensitive Southern storyteller who is extremely blessed to have been given a creative talent. Songwriting is in my blood. I'll write because I'll bust wide open if I don't."

In the words of one of his songs... "I'd Be Lost Without Music In My Life".

Mike Dekle - Tunesmith

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Get a sneak peek at some of Mike's favorite tracks from Tunesmith

555-2109 MP3
Normaltown MP3
Size Matters MP3
Bikinis and Beer MP3

Listen to more of Mike's music