Michael Spike Wilner, was born in the city of Manhattan. His father is a professor of Hematology and his mother a clinical social worker. Spike hails from a direct line to a famous rabbinical dynasty founded by his great-great-great grandfather, Moses Sofer, who was also a Kabbala master & mystic. His grandmother, Marie Wilner, was a well respected painter in the Abstract Impressionist style. She was active on the New York art scene of the 1930's through the 1960's and created an enigmatic body of work.
Spike was inspired to play ragtime piano at a young age after seeing a docudrama on the life of Scott Joplin. This led to a life-long passion for piano playing, ragtime and jazz music. Spike made his performance debut at the age of 14 by playing Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag at the St. Louis Ragtime Festival, then held on the Goldenrod Showboat moored on the Mississippi River. Spike continued his music studies through high-school and participated in its award winning jazz band.