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Mike Melinoe

From: Detroit, MI
Current Residence: Austin, TX


Music Career

When did you begin your music career?
I began music fairly young, but not with intentions to become an artist because it seemed a bit far-fetched. During my adolescence, I played the violin and sang in the choir, so I figured if I could find some sort of value in music I'd try but it didn't really hit me until I didn't make the football team in college. I used to write lyrics all through elementary, middle school and high school, so the moment I decided to pursue music I knew it could happen, just didn't know how. I had a few names early on, but I found myself in 2012 really narrowing my perspective and was named Mike Melinoe. 

What kind of music do you create?
Hip Hop and Alternative Hip Hop are my main ventures but over the past three years, I've been inspired to tap into my creative range, musically. So now I'm experimenting with funk, jazz, and soul.

Do you write your own songs?
Yes, I write everything I speak on records. It's important to me to stay as unique as possible when it comes to my penmanship so inviting others to write for me, at this point in my career, is irrelevant. But I am open to creativity.

What instruments do you play?
None right now, but this year I plan to devote time to piano lessons.

Are you apart of a band?
I use to be a part of a collective, but I find other creatives hard to work with if the mental level and understanding isn't identical or similar. I plan to incorporate a band into my artistry soon though. With where my music is heading I believe that a band will enhance my ability to translate the exact feeling on record to a live performance.

What inspires your music?
Everything, I'm like a sponge. Being from Detroit, I was able to see a great deal of both sides of the coin. Good and bad, but the more experiences I experience and hear from my neighbors, I'm more prone to find something out of nothing.

Have you played any shows?
Yes, plenty of them. I've traveled from L.A. to Europe for music.

Where can we go to listen to your music?
Currently, my music is streaming on just about every platform, by searching my name you can locate all of my music content.

What artist(s) do you aspire or dream to work with?
Truthfully, this list is long, so I'll give you five. Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Andre 3000 and Wiz Khalifa.


Artwork

What kind of art do you do?
Well, I started my own style in May of 2017 called Shades of Hospitality and it's very abstract.

How did you get started & how long have you been doing it?
Well in December of 2016, I tried to paint and fell in love. It's something I've been doing my whole life but never took it seriously. I then began to create random things I could imagine, I even tried the Bob Ross style, but it didn't last long for me. My main thing is to be myself, so I thought, "what if I had my own style as I do musically?" Everything after is history. 

What or who inspired you?
Basquiat's my main inspiration artistically just because I studied him. I'm searching for new inspiration daily though. In college, I actually had an art class, that I never went to until super late, but it was about ancient art so I began to learn about Picasso, Michelangelo, and more.

How do you work?
Well, I have a routine where I sketch a figure out, but multiple canvases at once then I paint in certain areas then outline. It's an intriguing process but turns out lovely. 

How has your practice changed over time?
Well, I now have over 160 original pieces so I'm working faster than ever now. 

What’s integral to your work as an artist?
Staying free minded while painting is essential. I use my art therapeutically. I have so mush pent-up emotions that I can't express musically all the time, so art is very much my thriving heartbeat to peace.

What has been a seminal experience in your career?
Well, when I was in Europe I met hundreds of beautiful foreigners from all over that were interested and astonished by my energy and music. I had several experiences overseas but one that stuck was when this foreigner came to chase me down for an autograph, during a pitch-black sky and no capability to speak English but he tried hard and said, "Don't worry about if we could understand you, we feel you." I almost cried that night. I believe those situations changed me forever.

What’s your favorite piece from your collection?
Honestly, all of them. They all have something to say so every time I see them I feel great energy and pain. 

How do you know when an artwork is finished?
I never know until it's sold and shipped or delivered. I grow with my pieces as much as I can.

Where does your inspiration come from when you are working?
The meaning behind Shades of Hospitality is the baggage that we carry overtime catering to others in hopes for the better, yet sometimes it doesn't end that way. So, each piece is a figure with extracted growth releasing over time.

Is there an element of art you enjoy working with the most?
The colors are everything to me. Each piece is different, but the colors are a visual representation of the inner soul of the piece. I try not to think of the next color to use so I never truly know what the final product will be. 

Do you pursue themes?
No. One thing I sought to do with art is to not be too conceptual as I am with music. If anything, I might say, I want this piece to have red as the main color but other than that I don't desire to have themes.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Know your worth. I'll never forget this conversation I had via DM with an artist overseas. She saw I had prints for $15 and she said that the price was basically a slap in my own face because I have something no one else has, creatively. She said I have to analyze my views more and accept the fact that I'm one of a kind.


Professionally, what’s your goal?
To be happy, for one, and to become one of the greatest creative known to man. Second, is to provide a platform and opportunity for my family and friends to live and experience their dreams, as I do. Third, set up ventures for the youth to grow and pursue what they desire. Not too many make it where I'm from, so it's something I want to instill in people heads. That you can truly be whatever if you believe, work hard, and find happiness within.

What is your dream project?
I'm not sure. Art is so new that I'm still learning the ends and outs of this craft. I will say that I plan to travel the world strictly for music and art. I'd love to tour and have pop-up art shows before the shows, allowing people to see the art world and music bridged.

Name three artists you’d like to be compared to and why.
None. Just because I don't think that way. I just look in the mirror and ask myself questions and proceed with a smile. 

What art do you most identify with?
I identify with Basquiat's art. Black art is always overshadowed by certain groups of people that just steal our talents and invest higher bucks and appeal to the masses quicker than maybe a black individual would. 

What's your go-to way to express yourself, music or art?
Art honestly, because it's something I can just let go on versus in my music I may take a few seconds up to an hour to think of a song concept that'll represent my current feeling or views on life.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Honestly, I just found one of my favorite songs ever the other day, I've been listening to this song forever but never knew the name. I was on YouTube and it came on, so I now know the song that I cried to, dreamt to, screamed to and more. It's Kool & The Gang - Summer Madness.