Playing the guitar since he was a teenager, Michaels started the rock band Paris in his early twenties as a vocalist, with drummer Rikki Rockett, bassist Bobby Dall, guitarist David Besselman and guitarist Matt Smith. The band then moved to Los Angeles in search of fame, and changed their name to Poison.
Signing a record deal with Enigma Records, the band produced their first album, Look What the Cat Dragged In, which went platinum after the music video release of hit “Talk Dirty to Me” in 1987. Other top hits include “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Something to Believe In” and “Unskinny Bop.”
In 1998, Michaels recorded his first solo album, A Letter from Death Row, which became the soundtrack to the same-titled movie, in which he directed, wrote and starred in. In 2000, he released album, Show Me Your Hits, and subsequently, Ballads, Blues & Stories in 2001, which both composed of his solo recordings and Poison hits. Released in 2003, Songs of Life featured hits, “Raine,” dedicated to his daughter, and “Bittersweet” and music videos for “Raine,” “Menace to Society” and “One More Day,” a tribute to 9/11.
Michaels appeared in VH1’s reality television series, Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, with 20 women competing each week to ultimately become his girlfriend. The show increased his fame and popularity and played for three seasons from 2007 to 2009. He additionally has appeared as a judge on Nashville Star, on Celebrity Apprentice 3, where he was the winning contestant, host of the Miss Universe Pageant in 2010 and star of VH1 series, Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It.