Michael Kenji Shinoda (born February 11, 1977) is a Japanese American musician, record producer, and artist from Agoura Hills, California. His father is Japanese American. He is best known as the rapper, keyboardist, backing vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Linkin Park, and his side project, Fort Minor. He also provides artwork, production and mixing for both groups.
Mike Shinoda was raised in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills.
He first wanted to play music during his middle and high school years, he has started to play on different music tools like piano and took lessons on them. He attended Parkman Elementary and Lindero Canyon Middle School. After that, he began taking piano lessons, studying classical pianist techniques, and later moved on to jazz and hip hop. It was during this period that he added the guitar and, eventually, rap-style vocals to his repertoire.
After his teens, Mike Shinoda’s rap interests found a source of encouragement in friend Brad Delson, with whom he started to write and record songs in a makeshift studio set up in his basement. Shinoda attended Agoura High School with Linkin Park bandmate Brad Delson, as well as with members of the band Hoobastank. By the end of high school, drummer Rob Bourdon had become involved in their musical ventures. The trio formed the band Xero, and began to make a more serious attempt to pursue a career in the music industry. Chester Bennington came along a few years later.
After high school, Shinoda enrolled in the Art Center College of Design to study graphic design and illustration. It was here that he made the acquaintance of DJ and turntablist Joseph Hahn, who, along with Delson’s college-mate Phoenix, was soon added to Xero’s line-up. Shinoda eventually graduated from college with a degree in illustration, securing himself a job as a graphic designer right after graduation. With his background as a graphic artist, Shinoda has taken it upon himself in designing all of Linkin Park’s artwork with Hahn, and has even designed the album cover for Styles of Beyond’s debut album, 2000 Fold. In later years he would go on to showcase his art skills; he had his debut art showcase at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles in the time leading up to Linkin Park’s album Minutes to Midnight.
Shinoda’s band (at this point called Hybrid Theory) brought in second vocalist Chester Bennington, replacing Mark Wakefield. From the onset, Shinoda was closely involved in the technical aspects of the band’s recordings, and over the subsequent releases that role continued to expand. The first song they sang was "Crawling". Shinoda, with guitarist Brad Delson, engineered and produced the band’s Hybrid Theory EP, and performed similar roles in the recording of the Hybrid Theory album. Mike executive organized and oversaw the band’s remix album Reanimation (2002), contributing his own production remixes that he made in his home studio for "Crawling" and "Pushing Me Away." In his spare time, he produced and performed on a song by The X-Ecutioners entitled "It’s Goin’ Down."
On the second Linkin Park Warner Bros. studio release Meteora (2003) Shinoda continued to expand upon his duties as a musician and studio technician/engineer. Additionally, for the backbone of the album artwork, Shinoda collaborated with graffiti artist DELTA, graphic designer Frank Maddocks, and band-mate Joe Hahn.
By the release of the Linkin Park and Jay-Z ‘mash-up’ album Collision Course in 2004, Shinoda’s involvement in the creation of the albums continued to grow. He produced and mixed the album, which won a Grammy Award for "best rap / sung collaboration" later that year.
The band released their latest album, Minutes to Midnight, on May 15, 2007. On this album, Shinoda shared a production credit with producer Rick Rubin, overseeing the musical evolution of the band’s sound. This album was also the first time that Shinoda, best known for his rapping, sang a featured vocal. Mike sang on the songs "In Between", "Hands Held High" and the b-side song, "No Roads Left". Despite of the uncommonness of Shinoda-fronted singing tracks, Hit Parader ranked Mike at number 72 of the Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time.
Shinoda formed a side project named "Fort Minor" between 2004 and 2005 because he couldn’t demonstrate as much of his hip-hop background in Linkin Park. He explained the name of his project in an interview:
“ ‘Fort’ represents the more aggressive side of the music. ‘Minor’ can mean a few things: if you’re talking about music theory, the minor key is darker. I wanted to name the album rather than having my name on the cover, because I want people to focus on the music, not me.”
The debut album from Fort Minor, titled The Rising Tied, was released on November 22, 2005, and includes guest appearances from Styles of Beyond, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Black Thought of The Roots, John Legend, Holly Brook, Jonah Matranga and features Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) as an executive producer.
For the NBA 2006-2007 season, "Remember the Name", the second single from The Rising Tied, became the soundtrack for NBA Overtime on TNT. It was an NBA remix version, and remains the staple song for NBA on TNT to this day. Furthermore the Big East used "Remember the Name" as its theme song for the Big East Basketball Tournament in 2006.
He also scored a Top 10 smash with the surprise hit single "Where’d You Go", which peaked at #4 on Billboard Hot 100 chart.
After the release of the album, Shinoda also contributed to the iTunes Store by creating his own celebrity playlist.
Fort Minor won an MTV VMA for "Best Ringtone" in 2006, and was featured in the following films and TV programs (2005-2006): Entourage, Boston Legal, Gridiron Gang, Freedom Writers, Friday Night Lights (TV), and Numbers.
Shinoda has also continued his Fort Minor musical style in an executive producer role on the upcoming Styles Of Beyond album, "Reseda Beach" He is contributing music and vocals to the album, which is slated for release in 2008.
Shinoda’s art and painting
Mike was the youngest of his graduating class from Art Center College of Design in 1998, with a Bachelor of Arts in Illustration. He has had a hand in most artistic facets of Linkin Park’s imagery, including album artwork, band merchandise, web design, and on-stage production art.
In off-time in 2003, Mike did a collaborative "remix" shoe for DC Shoes, remixing the "Clientele." He reworked the colors and materials for the shoe, and designed all the packaging and print advertisements. The following year, he also designed a customizable Kid Robot "Munny" doll for a charity auction.
In 2004, Shinoda also started a college scholarship at Art Center College of Design to benefit illustration and graphic design students, and is awarded based on financial need and quality of work. It is called the Michael K. Shinoda Endowed Scholarship; the first recipient was granted a scholarship in 2006.
Also in 2004, Shinoda created a series of 10 paintings which became the basis of the Fort Minor album The Rising Tied. That series became the backbone for the packaging of the album, and has only been presented in an art show once–at Shinoda’s show at Gallery 1988. The show was entitled "Diamonds, Spades, Hearts, and Clubs."
Shinoda has done collaborative artwork with: Gary Baseman, DELTA, graffiti artist SEEN, DALEK, Greg "Craola" Simkins, and Mr. Hahn.
Mike is currently working on another DC remix in 2008, which will come in standard, plus more than one Limited Edition styles. The shoe and packaging will again feature his artwork.
Mike is currently preparing for his second art show "Glorious Excess (Born)" which is the first of two series. This show includes nine new pieces. The show commences on July 11 at the Japanese American National Museum, with an exclusive signing.
Proceeds from the sales of art on his website (mikeshinoda.com), the Gallery 1988 shows, and DC Shoes projects all benefit the Michael K. Shinoda endowed scholarship.
Shinoda has produced tracks for albums by Lupe Fiasco and Styles of Beyond, as well as producing or co-producing all of Linkin Park’s non-studio albums, including Reanimation, Hybrid Theory EP, the collaborative EP with Jay-Z, Collision Course, and for the first time producing a studio album in 2007, the group’s third studio release Minutes to Midnight. He has also produced all of Linkin Park’s Linkin Park Underground releases. Some notable production credits include:
* Styles of Beyond – "Marco Polo" (from the album 2000 Fold)
* The X-Ecutioners – "It’s Goin’ Down" (from the album Built from Scratch)
* Depeche Mode – "Enjoy the Silence 04" (remixed and produced)
* Vocals: Crystal Method – "Name Of The Game"
* Lupe Fiasco – "The Instrumental" (from the album Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor)
* Styles of Beyond featuring Celph Titled – "You Cannot Fuck With This" (from the Razor Tag mixtape)
* Styles of Beyond – "Hard [MS Remix]" (from the Razor Tag mixtape)
* Styles of Beyond – "Second To None" (from the upcoming album Reseda Beach)
* Writer, Producer, Engineer, Mixer: "My December" by Linkin Park
* Producer, Writer, Mixer: "What I’ve Done (distorted remix)" – Linkin Park
* Scored the 2005 MTV VMAs (contributed all original music).
* Writer, Producer, Mixer: "Fort Minor: We Major Mixtape" – including S.C.O.M., Bloc Party, Dolla, 100 Degrees, Spraypaint & Inkpens (feat. Lupe Fiasco and Ghostface).
* Vocals: "Rock and Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) Part II" – Handsome Boy Modeling School
* Vocals: "Magic Doors (Green Lantern Remix) – Portishead
* Busta Rhymes feat. Linkin Park "We Made It" (co-produced with Cool & Dre and Timbaland)
Other music activities
* In 2005, Mike Hosted the Rock Phenomenon Mixtape CD by DJ Vlad and Roc Raida. The CD is the first (and to date, only) in DJ Vlad’s Rock Phenomenon series (which itself is a spin-off of Vlad’s Rap Phenomenon Mixtape series), and features a Mash-Up of Linkin Park’s Papercut, and David Banner’s Like a Pimp (Remix). The Mixtape was re-released on July 10th, 2007, with new artwork.
* In 2008, Mike is featured to be a guest Artist and Producer for Ill Bill’s second studio album The Hour of Reprisal
Mike Shinoda has been married to Anna (Hillinger) Shinoda since May 10, 2003. She is now a children’s author. The song Where’d You Go, according to Shinoda, was dedicated to his wife, Anna. The couple currently reside in Agoura Hills, California. Every so often he visits family in Atlanta, GA. and friends in Tallahassee, FL. and St. George Island, a few hours south of the Sunshine State’s capitol. In 2004 he found his way on an episode of Punk’d in which a fire hydrant was placed next to his car during a pretend fire. In 2005 he was interviewed by Ike Barinholtz & Bobby Lee of MADtv at the 2005 Billboard Music Awards which was later aired on the series. He has also revealed that he has asthma.In an interview, he has revealed that his father was born during the second World War, when talking about his song "Kenji" from "The Rising Tied" album. Mike is a third generation Japanese American. His father was born in the United States and was interned during World War II.
Information from Wikipedia.org