Sale-born Michael Saleta’s success in Nashville

Nashville-based Michael Saleta is a musician born and raised in Sale. Photo: Savannah Grimm and Nashville Songwriters Association International

Katrina Brandon

BORN and raised in Sale, Michael Saleta is a professional singer songwriter in Nashville who recently signed with the producer Debbie Zavitson. Saleta is in good hands as Ms Zavitson has been running her publishing firm since 2012.

Going from a music teacher, a DJ, children’s entertainer, waiter, and installing ducted heating, he is now making his stride in the Nashville community.

In 2021, he had two songs in the Top 10 of Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI’s) 21st Annual Song Contest and one in 2023. Along side these accomplishments, Saleta has supported many artists including Toto, Taxiride, Killing Heidi, Jimmy Barnes, Hanson, Eric Martin (Mr Big). Currently, he has co written songs with Sandee Facy (She had country radio number ones’ with Lucky Charm and Best One Yet), Emily Hatton, Jetty Road, Zac & George, Lily Grace, Troy Kemp, Craig Lloyd, Sammi Palinkas and Renee Jonas.

Nashville competitions allowed Saleta to co-write songs with many artists and gave him the opportunity to participate in songwriter rounds. Songwriter rounds are when one artist after another plays a song and explains the song and then off to another artist. This goes on for about an hour where artists can play up to three or four songs an hour, according to Saleta.

“Best thing about doing that is seeing the audience reaction, how they feel about a song. Last time I was in Nashville, I was doing a round, one of the people next to me (were) actually crying by the end of the song. As weird as that sounds, it felt really good to make her cry because that was part of the idea on how we wrote the song, it was to make people feel something,” said Saleta.

Currently Saleta works with around 50 different artists and is booked for many months. He mentioned to the Gippsland Times that this is a constant in his line of work and enjoys the collaborations.

Saleta’s connection with Sale runs deep. His parents met at the Heyfield Rock ‘N’ Roll dance and Saleta has played at many of the local performance centres in the area. Saleta mentioned that growing up in Sale contributed to his dedication to music, thanks to having a really supportive family and community.

Memorable moments within his career run plenty. Saleta said, “Moments like when we played at the Astrodome, the JAM in Morwell in the early 90’s. We played with Screaming Jets, Roxis, and The Reptiles which was great.”

“A band I was with, supported Toto when they came to Australia. Getting to see them do sound check and then standing by the stage while they are playing Africa was pretty amazing.”

Saleta said for young musicians, “Don’t stop, don’t give up. When you stop, that is when the dream is over. No excuses. Just show up because you are still making a difference even at 50 per cent. Believe in yourself.”

Saleta’s dream started like most other musicians in a band and wanted the “rock star thing”.

Music means a lot to Saleta, but it means more now than when he first started.

“When you are younger you are having a good time, enjoying the moment. Whereas when you are older, it’s all about being in the moment, enjoying the moment and taking in your surroundings,” Saleta said.

With countless ‘one to watches’, Saleta is continuing his Nashsville journey and plans to keep going.

“Music is the one thing that has made me feel complete,” he concluded.