Mike Shinoda performing with Linkin Park at Sonisphere Festival, 2009
|Birth name||Michael Kenji Shinoda|
February 11, 1977 |
Agoura Hills, California, U.S.
|Genres||rapcore, rap rock, nu metal, alternative rock, rap metal, alternative metal|
|Occupations||Rapper, musician, producer, graphic designer, visual artist, manager|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, piano, sampler, Turntables, organ, theremin, synthesizer|
|Years active||1994 – present|
|Labels||Machine Shop/Warner Bros.|
|Associated acts||Linkin Park, Fort Minor, Styles Of Beyond, Ghostface Killah|
|PRS CE 22
Takamine acoustic guitar
Michael Kenji "Mike" Shinoda (born February 11, 1977) is an American musician, record producer, and artist. He is best known as the rapper, principal songwriter, keyboardist, rhythm guitarist and one of the two vocalists of the rock band Linkin Park. Shinoda is also noted as a solo rapper in his side-project former Fort Minor. He also provides artwork, production, and mixing for both projects. Shinoda has been ranked in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader (#72). Shinoda's voice is baritone.
Life and career 
Early life 
Shinoda was born and raised in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills. His father is Japanese American and his mother is of European descent. He has a younger brother, Jason. He was raised as a liberal Protestant.
Following his mother's wishes, Shinoda began classical piano training lessons around the age of six. His enthusiasm grew eventually. By thirteen, he expressed the desire to move toward playing jazz, blues, and even hip-hop. During his middle school and high school years, he added the guitar and, eventually, rap-style vocals to his repertoire. At first, Shinoda was afraid of his position in the band, thinking that they had a singer, Chester Bennington, and they didn't have much use for him. The band had his back and they kept working on their Nu Metal/Rap-rock sound.
Following his high school graduation, Mike Shinoda's rap interests found a source of encouragement in Brad Delson, with whom he started to write and record songs in a makeshift studio set up in his bedroom. Shinoda attended Agoura High School with Linkin Park bandmates Brad Delson and Rob Bourdon as well as with members of the band Hoobastank. By the end of high school, 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.
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 Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, was soon added to Xero's line-up. It was also here that he experienced a form of identity crisis. Years later, in an interview he said:
|“||I think it was probably in college that I realized that there was a difference between Japanese and Japanese-American. That's important to realize. It's not the same thing and then eventually with Linkin Park, I toured in Japan. I've been there now I think four times. I remember the first time I went, how familiar it seemed, just getting out of the plane, it smelled like my aunt's house, in the airport, it smelled like Japan. I don't know if anybody else even noticed it but I walked out of the plane and thought this is definitely familiar to me, didn't even see anything yet. And then going to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, you just recognize things about the way people act, the small things that people do such as how you'll grab a piece of paper. There are things that are more obvious like taking somebody's business card with two hands. You don't do that in the States. When I saw somebody do that I went, "Oh yeah, my uncle always does that," you know. There are little things that culturally come from Japan but they also exist in Japanese American culture and it made me feel like the connection was there and I kind of hadn't realized how much of it was there.||”|
Shinoda managed to graduate from college with a bachelor's degree in illustration a year in advance, securing himself a job as a graphic designer instantly. 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 (Diamonds Spades Hearts & Clubs) at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles in the time leading up to Linkin Park's album Minutes to Midnight.
Linkin Park 
Shinoda's band 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. 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 has contributed to the writing and performance of the guitar on most songs of every Linkin Park record since the beginning, i.e., from Hybrid Theory; Brad Delson and Mike have both contributed to most songs that have guitar. Mike executively 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 / song collaboration" in 2006.
The band released their next album, Minutes To Midnight, on May 14, 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 in the songs "In Between" and the b-side song, "No Roads Left," as well as rapping and singing in the songs "Bleed It Out" and "Hands Held High." Despite the rarity of Shinoda-fronted singing tracks, music magazine Hit Parader ranked Mike at number 72 of the Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time. Mike and Rick Rubin again shared a production credit for Linkin Park's fourth album, A Thousand Suns, released on September 14, 2010, and Linkin Park's latest album, Living Things released on June 26, 2012.
Fort Minor 
Shinoda formed a side project named "Fort Minor" between 2003 and 2004 because he could not 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 13, 2005, and includes guest appearances from Styles of Beyond, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Black Thought of The Roots, John Legend, Holly Brook, Jonah Matranga, Celph Titled, and features Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) as an executive producer.
A single was put out by the X-Ecutioners featuring Mike Shinoda, and it was called 'It's Goin Down'.
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. According to Shinoda, the song was written about his wife, Anna Hillinger and how she and the rest of his family must feel when he is away on tour.
Fort Minor won an MTV VMA for "Best Ringtone" in 2006, and was featured in the following films and TV programs (2005–2006 and 2010): Entourage, Boston Legal, Gridiron Gang, Freedom Writers, Friday Night Lights (TV), The Karate Kid, 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 was slated for release sometime in 2009. However, Styles of Beyond went under hiatus, and the album is only now being released in 2012.
Art and painting 
Mike was the youngest of his graduating class from Art Center College of Design of Pasadena 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.
During time off in 2003, he did a collaborative "remix" shoe for DC Shoes, remixing the "Clientele." He reworked the colors and materials for the shoe, and additionally 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 created a series of ten 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 was featured in Shinoda's first public art show "Diamonds Spades Hearts & Clubs." In addition to the ten Fort Minor pieces, the show also featured thirteen more original works and five collaborative pieces. “Diamonds Spades Hearts & Clubs” opened at Gallery 1988 on Sunday, November 19, 2006.
Additionally in 2004, Shinoda started a college scholarship at Art Center College of Design to benefit future illustration and graphic design students. Named the Michael K. Shinoda Endowed Scholarship, it is awarded based on financial need and merit. The scholarship was awarded for the first time in 2006. The scholarship fund is made possible through the sale of his original artwork on his website, art shows and his DC Shoes projects.
2008 has proved to be a busy year thus far artistically for Mike. On July 11, Shinoda’s second public art show “Glorious Excess (BORN)” premiered at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. The show included nine new pieces, with an exclusive signing on opening night. The show served as part one of the “Glorious Excess” two-part series, with the second installment “Glorious Excess (DIES)” due at JANM at August 22, 2009.
Concerning the inspiration behind the Glorious Excess series, Mike stated that it:
"Got to a point where the pervasiveness of “celebrity news” concerned me. It seemed like it has jumped out of its niche into places where it doesn’t belong. I would be watching the news, and thinking, “of all the things going on in the world right now, why are they covering so-and-so’s breakup?” It didn’t make sense to me. Add to that the fact that I’m supposed to somehow “belong” to that celebrity group—and I really don’t feel like I do in a lot of ways—and you can see how the topic started to become really interesting to me. The Glorious Excess (BORN) show was my way of diving into those topics, trying to find answers. It follows a central “celebrity” character, who is filthy rich, slightly violent, and famous without any particular skill or talent."
Also in 2008, Mike partnered up with DC Shoes again on a second DC Remix Series project. The project would feature a "great juxtaposition of Mike's unique influences: accomplished artist versus recording-breaking musician, American upbringing versus Japanese heritage." The MS/DC limited edition remix has two different versions – Xander and Pride. Roughly 2000 pairs of the limited edition shoes were made available for purchase when the sneaker was released on August 1, 2008.
In an interview with Sneaker Freaker Magazine, Shinoda had this to say about the latest DC Shoe project:
"This remix is a little slimmer than most of DC’s skate shoes; the Xander feels almost like the skate shoes I grew up wearing in the late 80s. But the art brings it up to date—my work is laser-etched into the panels on the side of the shoe, and the sole is a clear gum sole with a koi fish pattern, and four-color artwork beneath. That way, when you’re walking, and your foot lifts up, it’s a little surprise under there. We also took the time to add extra padding and a satin inner lining to make it as comfortable as possible. They come with three pairs of lightly waxed laces instead of two, because I like to flip up the look sometimes. Each pair also comes with a booklet of my art."
Shinoda produced The Rising Tied, the debut album by his side-project Fort Minor. He has also 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. In 2004 Shinoda, with drumming assistance by band mate Rob Bourdon, remixed "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode. Shinoda and Bourdon again teamed up in 2008 to create an instrumental piece entitled "Lockjaw" while previewing Digidesign's Pro Tools 8 software. Some other notable production credits include:
- The X-Ecutioners – "It's Goin' Down" (from the album Built from Scratch)
- Depeche Mode – "Enjoy the Silence 04" (remixed and produced)
- 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 – "Dumb it Down" (from the album Reseda Beach)
- Styles of Beyond – "Second To None" (from the album Reseda Beach)
- Styles of Beyond - Reseda Beach (executive producer)
- Zii - "Stories of the Lost" (executive producer)
- "My December" – Linkin Park
- "High Voltage" – Linkin Park
- Reanimation – Linkin Park
- "What I've Done (Distorted Remix)" – Linkin Park
- Scored the 2005 MTV VMAs (contributed all original music)
- "Fort Minor: We Major" Mixtape – including S.C.O.M., Bloc Party, Dolla, 100 Degrees, Spraypaint & Inkpens (feat. Lupe Fiasco and Ghostface Killah)
- Busta Rhymes feat. Linkin Park – "We Made It" (co-produced with Cool & Dre)
- "L.O.A.T.R." (M. Shinoda Remix) – Linkin Park
- "Lockjaw" – Linkin Park
- "Death to Analog" (Mike Shinoda Remix) – Julien-K (from the album Death To Digital)
- "New Divide" – Linkin Park
- "Gold Guns Girls" (Mike Shinoda remix) – Metric
- "Shoot First" – Apathy
- "Resurrection" – Lupe Fiasco & Kenna
- "Never Let Me Down" – Kenna
- "Not Alone" – Linkin Park (From Download to Donate for Haiti, an initiative by Music For Relief)
- Cypress Hill – "Carry Me Away" (from the album Rise Up)
- "Linkin Park: 8-Bit Rebellion!" – composed 8-bit soundtrack
- "Issho Ni" for Download To Donate for Japan, a charity contribution for the 2011 Japan earthquake
- "Razors.Out" (with Joe Trapanese and Chino Moreno) from the movie The Raid: Redemption
- "Suicide Music" (with Joe Trapanese and Get Busy Committee) from the movie The Raid: Redemption - also composed the score for the film with Joe Trapanese
- "NOC Out" (from the Medal of Honor: Warfighter soundtrack) - Composed By Ramin Djawadi & Mike Shinoda
- "Saa'iq" (from the Medal of Honor: Warfighter soundtrack) - Composed By Ramin Djawadi & Mike Shinoda
Other musical activities 
- In 2004, Mike Shinoda remixed Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence. The remix was the only single from Depeche Mode's album Remixes 81-04. He added Linkin Park's nu metal sound to the original song. A music video was made for the remix.
- In 2005, Mike hosted the Rock Phenomenon Mixtape CD with 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 10, 2007, with new artwork.
- In October 2008 Mike and Mark Wakefield, former vocalist of Linkin Park back when they were named Xero, recorded and released the song "Barack Your World" under the name White Pegacorn.
- For the 2006 Grammy awards, Mike and Brad Delson assembled the mashup track of Numb/Encore and "Yesterday" by The Beatles to be performed live by Jay-Z, Linkin Park and Paul McCartney.
- Mike scored the MTV VMAs in 2005. Lil’ Jon also contributed, but they did not collaborate; The tracks were separate.
- Mike was an honorary parade marshall in Los Angeles Nisei Week, 2005.
- Mike was awarded the Japanese American National Museum’s Award of Excellence in 2006.
- Mike and Joseph Trapanese worked together to create a new score for the American release of the 2011 film The Raid.
- Mike worked with composer Ramin Djawadi on the score for the video game Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
Other activities 
Personal life 
He has been married to Anna Hillinger since 2003. Together they have two children, the eldest is a son named Otis Akio Shinoda.
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- Transworld Snowboarding.com[dead link]
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- Shinoda, Mike (September 10, 2012). "Mike Shindoa and Music For Relief: 'Let's power the world'". The Big Issue. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
- Jensen, Todd Aaron (2010). On Gratitude: Sheryl Crow, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Keys, Daryl Hall, Ray Bradbury, Anna Kendrick, B.B. King, Elmore Leonard, Deepak Chopra, and 42 More Celebrities Share What They're Most Thankful For. F+W Media, Inc. p. 224. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
- Marcello (February 1, 2012). "Creative Spotlight: Episode #93 – Mike Shinoda Interview". japancinema.net. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
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- "Outside the Park". The Star (Malaysia). December 23, 2005. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
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