Alumni Profile: Michael Sigman '71
"In management, the ability to think logically and decisively is crucial. And that's something I didn't have before I got to Bucknell."
Managing - From songs to publishing
Growing up on Long Island, Michael Sigman ’71 was always surrounded by music. Sigman is the son of late lyricist/composer Carl Sigman, who wrote over 800 songs, including the classics “Ebb Tide,” “(Where Do I Begin) Love Story,” “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” and “It’s All in the Game.”
His father’s passion for his craft clearly made a mark on the younger Sigman, who has spent much of his own life in the music business. Today, Michael Sigman is paying tribute to that inspiration by promoting his father’s work.
In 2002, two years after his father died, Sigman set to work on a heartfelt project. “I’d always wanted to make a CD out of the best versions of my dad’s songs,” he says, “because he never really promoted himself, so nobody really knows who he was.”
Within a year, Sigman had released a promotional box set of his father’s songs performed by such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley, and Van Morrison. He says, “It was great to go back over everything, to see all the old memorabilia and be in touch with my dad in a way that I had never been before.”
Sigman also penned the biography of his father, included in the Carl Sigman Songbook, which was published in February.
Despite the family propensity for music, Sigman graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Bucknell with a B.A. in philosophy. Says Sigman, “The best thing about the Bucknell experience was that it was invaluable for its own sake. I picked the classes and activities that were simply the most stimulating.”
Upon graduation, Sigman went to work editing the music trade publication Record World in New York. In 1983, he became president/publisher of the alternative newspaper LA Weekly, a position he held for the next two decades. Serving on several nonprofit boards, Sigman is still involved in managing his father’s catalogue, and he has found time to make a foray into filmmaking. He recently optioned the rights to a Harper’s article detailing the efforts of a journalist to expose Washington lobbyists whose activities benefit vicious dictators and despots.
“It’s just like a Dr. Strangelove scenario,” says Sigman, “but it really happened! It’s a great story, and I think it could make a great movie.”
From publishing newspapers to publicizing his father’s work, Michael Sigman believes the foundation for his success was laid at Bucknell. “Being a philosophy major really helped teach me how to think,” he says. “In management, the ability to think logically and decisively is crucial. And that’s something I didn’t have before I got to Bucknell.”