AFMX 2019 Music Award Recipient
The Albuquerque Film & Music Experience is proud to present Neil Giraldo with the 2019 AFMX Music Award. As with previous honorees - Bobby Shew, Nathan East, T Bone Burnett and Steve Ferrone - Neil's talent as a musician, producer and film composer have brought the world some of the most memorable sounds of the past several decades.
A songwriter with a back catalog of more than 100 songs and more than 45 million records sold, he has worked with some of the greatest artists in the music industry, including Rick Derringer, Pat Benatar, John Waite, Kenny Loggins, Rick Springfield, Steve Forbert, The Del Lords, and Beth Hart. His work has produced many Grammy-nominated and Grammy-winning hits, and he holds the distinction of being the first guitar player appearing on MTV. Today, he continues to expand his creative portfolio: in addition to writing new songs for stage and screen, he is writing screenplays for feature films, touring, and reaching out into the community to work with musicians young and old.
Giraldo began his professional career in 1978 as a key member of the Rick Derringer band after competing against 200 other guitarists for the position. It wasn't long before Rick discovered Giraldo’s piano playing prowess and quickly put those skills to work in the studio for the recording of Guitars and Women. In the spring of 1979, Mike Chapman introduced Giraldo to an up-and coming singer named Pat Benatar who had recently signed to Chrysalis Records. While impressed with the young vocalist, Chapman felt she needed a musical partner who could facilitate the creation of a sound both identifiable and powerful. Over the years Neil has produced some of their biggest hits, including “Love is a Battlefield” and “We Belong.”
Today, Giraldo’s career is as dynamic and diverse as ever. He is in the process of completing two books – one an autobiographical novel, one a motivational book on the psychology of creating. He is further expanding his Bel Chiasso entertainment company, which is developing a variety of television and film projects. Later in the year Neil will start composing music for new film The Same Sky directed by Jeff Kramer. He is working on a new band project with Scott Kempner from the Del Lords/Dictators, and this year (2019) he will tour the country celebrating a 40-year musical history together with partner Pat Benatar. A collection of original songs written for a holiday/Christmas record featuring guest artists is also in the works.
And now Giraldo brings his creative energy and musical expertise to another level. As founder of Steel Bending Spirits, his company recently introduced Three Chord Bourbon, Amplify Rye, and Twelve-Bar Reserve, and he is putting together an all-star Steel-Bending Spirits band. His newest enterprise brings together his passion for music and love of sharing whiskey and conversation with friends.