My name is Michael Hilbun and I live to play guitar.
I may have come late to the game, not so much as touching a guitar before I was 18, but I did my best to hit the ground running. Now, I don't even feel like myself unless I have my instrument in my hands.
Prior to playing guitar I was a music aficionado, spending all my free time absorbing every melody I could into my ears. I lusted after owning a guitar, any guitar. I would sing every guitar riff I knew just waiting to finally be able to play them for myself. After years or saving my nickels and dimes I finally bought my first guitar. It was nothing special, just a no-name red Les Paul that I found at a flea market. After that, all my free time was spent trying to put those guitar parts I memorized onto my new Les Paul, hacking away at that guitar until my fingers played what I was singing. I didn't realize that I had been playing for eight hours the day I brought my Les Paul home until my parents asked me to turn it down when it got to be past midnight. Shortly after, when I realized how many songs you could play with just a handful of chords, I put a band together. A year after coming home with that red Les Paul I played my first gig.
Not long after, I started college where I majored in music. The college I attended had you pick between jazz and classical guitar and I chose jazz simply because I didn't own a classical guitar (despite never listening to any jazz before in my life). I had no idea how such a minor decision would shape my life. I developed a great affection for jazz and that style that still informs my playing to this day.
At the time I was deciding on a major, everyone told me I couldn't make a living in music. So as a "backup plan" I double-majored in digital graphics. That path led me to an internship which then led to a paid position in the film industry. But my heart just wasn't in it. It always about music to me. It didn't take me long to realize that I would never succeed as a musician if I had this "backup plan" mentality. So I quit my job and dove all into music.
With the help of some amazing teachers I graduated and then began to carve out my place as a musician in my hometown. I toured the United States playing south Louisiana folk music called Zydeco. I played in gospel music in churches, rock n' roll in bars, soul in restaurants, even traditional Chinese music in a museum once. I played whatever they would let me play wherever they would let me play it. As time went on, I realized it was time to move to a city that was as serious about music as I was. So I packed everything and me and my newly wed wife moved to New Orleans, where I planned to get my Masters degree in jazz studies. Except not everything works out how you plan. I quit after a year; it just wasn't the right fit. But I needed grad school to get me here because now I'm playing more than I would've thought possible back home. Everything happens for a reason.
So many great things are in the works, and the future is bright. I'm so fortunate to be able to do what I do for a living and share my musical journey with people like you.
Click below to read my full bio, including a list of credits and accomplishments.