Mike Shinoda

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Mike Shinoda
Mike Shinoda World Expo 2008.jpg
Mike Shinoda at World Expo 2008
Born Michael Kenji Shinoda
(1977-02-11) February 11, 1977 (age 37)[1]
Agoura Hills, California, United States
Residence Agoura Hills, California, United States
Occupation Rapper, musician, producer, graphic designer, visual artist, manager, Film composer, conductor and record producer
Years active 1994–present
Net worth US$23 million (2014)[2]
Spouse(s) Anna Hillinger (m. 2003)
  • Otis Akio Shinoda
Musical career
Genres Rap metal, rap rock, hip hop, nu metal, alternative rock, alternative metal
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, piano, sampler, turntables, organ, theremin, synthesizer
Labels Machine Shop/Warner Bros.
Associated acts
Signature Mike Shinoda Signature.png

Michael Kenji "Mike" Shinoda (born February 11, 1977)[1] 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 a solo rapper in his side-project Fort Minor. He also provides artwork, production, and mixing for both projects. Shinoda was ranked number 72 in the list of "Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists" by Hit Parader. Shinoda's voice is baritone.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Shinoda was born and raised in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills.[1] His father is Japanese-American, descendant of the Kumaichiro Shinoda floral company family, and his mother is white.[3][4] He has a younger brother, Jason. He was raised as a liberal Protestant.[5]

Following his mother's wishes, Shinoda began classical piano training lessons around the age of six. By thirteen, he expressed the desire to move toward playing jazz, blues, and even hip-hop.[6] He added the guitar and rap-style vocals to his repertoire during his middle school and high school years, eventually.

Shinoda attended Agoura High School with Linkin Park bandmates Brad Delson and Rob Bourdon. The trio formed the band Xero, and began to make a more serious attempt to pursue a career in the music industry. After graduating high school, Shinoda enrolled in the Art Center College of Design to study graphic design and illustration.[1] He attended classes with DJ and turntablist Joseph Hahn. While studying at the Art Center College of Design, he experienced a form of identity crisis. Years later, in an interview he said:

Shinoda graduated from college, a year in advance, with a bachelor's degree in illustration and secured himself a job as a graphic designer.[1] 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 displayed his art skills in his debut art showcase (Diamonds Spades Hearts & Clubs) at Gallery 1988[8] in Los Angeles in the time leading up to Linkin Park's album Minutes to Midnight.

Linkin Park[edit]

Mike Shinoda performing with Linkin Park at Rock im Park, 2014.
Main article: 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 Hybrid Theory. 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.[9] Mike executively organized and oversaw the band's first remix album Reanimation in 2002, contributing his own production of 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 band's second studio album Meteora in 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 Jay-Z and Linkin Park collaborative mashup EP, entitled 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.[10]

The band released their next album, Minutes to Midnight, on May 14, 2007. On this album, Shinoda shared a production credit with longtime 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.[11] Mike and Rick Rubin again shared a production credit for Linkin Park's fourth album, A Thousand Suns, which was released on September 14, 2010. Then, Linkin Park released their fifth album Living Things on June 26, 2012. Recharged, which is a remix album consisting remixes of original songs from Living Things, was released on October 29, 2013. The band's sixth studio album, The Hunting Party, was released on June 13, 2014.

Fort Minor[edit]

Main article: 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:[12]

Mike performing with Holly Brook live.

The debut album from Fort Minor, entitled 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, Celph Titled, and features Jay-Z as an executive producer.

A single was released by The X-Ecutioners featuring himself and bandmate Mr. Hahn, entitled "It's Goin' Down", in March 2002 from the album Built from Scratch.

For the NBA 2006–2007 season, "Remember the Name", the second single from The Rising Tied, became the soundtrack for NBA Overtime on TNT.

He also scored a top 10 smash with the surprise hit single "Where'd You Go", which peaked at #4 on Hot 100 chart.[13] 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.[14]

Shinoda provided several original score selections to the 2005 MTV VMA's. Lil Jon also provided original music, but not on any of the same tracks.[15]

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 Styles of Beyond album, Reseda Beach. He contributed music and vocals to the album, which was slated for release sometime in 2009. However, Styles of Beyond went under hiatus, and the album was released in 2012.

Art and painting[edit]

Mike Shinoda with his paintings during an exhibition

Shinoda 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.[16] The following year, he also designed a customizable Kid Robot "Munny" doll for a charity auction.[17]

In 2004, Shinoda created a series of ten paintings which became the basis of the Fort Minor debut 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".[18] 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.[19] The scholarship fund is made possible through the sale of his original artwork on his website, art shows and his DC Shoes projects.[18][20]

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, Shinoda 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, Shinoda partnered up with DC Shoes again on a second DC Remix Series project. The project would feature a "great juxtaposition of Shinoda's unique influences: accomplished artist versus recording-breaking musician, American upbringing versus Japanese heritage."[21] 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."[22]


Although Shinoda listens to current rap music, he looks up to earlier hip-hop artists for inspiration for his production. He said, “I think my production style is more in the spirit of old B.D.P., Public Enemy, N.W.A., and Juice Crew”. He enjoys rock music as well and stated that A Thousand Suns was heavily influenced by Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. He also cites grunge bands Nirvana and Pearl Jam, electronic band Depeche Mode, rap metal band Rage Against the Machine and heavy metal band Metallica as some of his all-time favorites.[citation needed]


Mike with Rick Rubin, who was his production partner for six years, during Living Things listening party.

Shinoda produced The Rising Tied, the debut album by his solo 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 the 1989 single "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.

Other musical activities[edit]

  • In 2004, Mike Shinoda remixed Depeche Mode's 1989 single "Enjoy the Silence". The remix was the only single from Depeche Mode's remix album, Remixes 81-04. He added Linkin Park's nu metal sound to the original song. An animated music video was made for the remix.
  • In 2005, Shinoda hosted the Rock Phenomenon mixtape/remix 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 mashup 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, Shinoda and Mark Wakefield, former vocalist of Linkin Park back when they were named Xero in 1996, recorded and released the song "Barack Your World" under the band name White Pegacorn.
  • For the 2006 Grammy awards, Shinoda and Brad Delson assembled the mashup track of Numb/Encore and "Yesterday" by The Beatles to be performed live by rapper Jay-Z, Linkin Park and former Beatles singer Paul McCartney.
  • Mike scored the MTV VMA's in 2005. Lil' Jon also contributed, but they did not collaborate; The tracks were separate.[23]
  • Mike was an honorary parade marshal in Los Angeles Nisei Week, 2005.[23]
  • Mike was awarded with the Japanese American National Museum’s Award of Excellence in 2006.[23]
  • Mike and Joseph Trapanese worked together to create a new score for the American release of the 2011 film, The Raid: Redemption.
  • Mike worked with composer Ramin Djawadi on the score for the video game, Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
  • Mike has been working with Open Labs on music software called StageLight. Linkin Park also released a special Linkin Park Edition of the software.[24]

Other activities[edit]

Shinoda started writing articles for The Big Issue in September 2012 and will act as the publication's US election correspondent.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Shinoda is a third generation Japanese American.[26][27] His father and aunt were forced to live in an Japanese Interment Camp during World War II.[28][29]

In 2009, Shinoda received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters (L.H.D) from Art Center College Of Design.[23] EWP honored Shinoda with a Visionary Award and dinner in 2010.[23]

He has been married to author Anna Shinoda (née Hillinger) since 2003. Anna released her first novel Learning Not to Drown on April 1, 2014. According to her blog and an interview with Mike,[30] they have three children; the eldest is a son named Otis Akio Shinoda.


With Linkin Park
As Fort Minor
Other appearances
Year Track Artist Album Notes
1998 - Styles of Beyond 2000 Fold Artwork
1999 - DJ Frane Frane's Fantastic Boatride Artwork
- Saukrates The Underground Tapes Artwork
2002 "Freestyle" DJ Vice I'm Serious Vocals
"It's Goin' Down" The X-Ecutioners Built from Scratch Vocals, guitars, producer, composer
2004 "Mike Callin' to Say Hi" (skit) KutMasta Kurt Redneck Olympics Vocals
Enjoy the Silence 04 Depeche Mode Remixes 81–04 Producer
"Rock and Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) Part 2" Handsome Boy Modeling School White People Vocals, guitars, piano, bass, producer
2006 "Mike Shinoda Interlude" DJ Vlad & Roc Raida Rock Phenomenon Vocals
"The Instrumental" Lupe Fiasco Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor Producer
2007 "Hard [MS Remix]" Styles of Beyond Razor Tag Producer
"Hey You" Vocals
"You Cannot Fuck With This" Producer
2008 "We Made It" Busta Rhymes & Linkin Park We Made It (single) Vocals, guitars, producer
"Barack Your World" White Pegacorn - Vocals, guitars, producer, composer
2009 "Death to Analog" (Mike Shinoda Remix) Julien-K Death to Digital

Death to Digital X

"Shoot First" Apathy Wanna Snuggle? Producer
"Stories of the Lost" Zii Stories of the Lost (single) Executive producer
2010 Full album Linkin Park 8-Bit Rebellion! Producer
"Carry Me Away" Cypress Hill Rise Up Vocals, producer
"Never Let Me Down" (produced with Chad Hugo) Kenna Download to Donate for Haiti Producer
"Resurrection" Kenna featuring Lupe Fiasco
"Gold Guns Girls" (Mike Shinoda Remix) Metric
2012 Full album Mike Shinoda & Joseph Trapanese The Raid: Redemption Composer
"NOC Out" Ramin Djawadi Medal of Honor: Warfighter Composer
"Dumb It Down" Styles of Beyond Reseda Beach Producer
"Second to None" Vocals, producer
2013 "Wake Me Up" Avicii True Producer (Uncredited)
"Truth Inside a Lie" (LPU Sessions 2013) Ryan Giles LP Underground XIII Producer
"Change" (LPU Sessions 2013) Beta State Producer, keyboard, samples
Year Movie Role Director Notes
2014 The Distortion of Sound Himself Jacob Rosenberg -


  1. ^ a b c d e Apar, Corey. "Mike Shinoda: Biography". allmusic. 
  2. ^ Mike Shinoda's Net Worth Celebrity Net Worth Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  3. ^ "Linkin Park's 818th Battalion: Mike's Not Russian". Linkinparks818th.blogspot.com. July 24, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ Kimpel, Dan (2006). How they made it: true stories of how music's biggest stars went from start to stardom. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-0-634-07642-8. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  5. ^ McKeon, Therese. "Linkin Park: One Step Closer". Shout Web. ShoutWeb.com. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ Scaggs, Austin (March 26, 2003). "The Mellower Half of Linkin Park". The Linkin Park Times. 
  7. ^ "Getting Back to His Roots, April 2006". Mike Shinoda Clan. April 28, 2006. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Mike Shinoda's Art Work". LinkinPark.com. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  9. ^ "For Superfans Only « Mike Shinoda's Blog". Mikeshinoda.com. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  10. ^ "U2 dominates Grammy night". CBC News. February 9, 2006. 
  11. ^ "Hit Parader's Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time". HearYa. December 4, 2006. 
  12. ^ a b "fort minor interview". fixins. Retrieved June 24, 2007. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Billboard Hot 100: Week of June 10, 2006". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  14. ^ The Making of The Rising Tied DVD
  15. ^ "Mike Shinoda releases 2005 VMA score via official Sound Cloud page". Soundcloud.com. January 27, 2010. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ "Mike Shinoda's MUNNY". Machine Shop Recordings. November 7, 2005. 
  18. ^ a b Mike Shinoda, [2]. Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  19. ^ "Linkin Park rapper and artist Michael K. Shinoda partners with DC Shoes" (Press release). Art Center College of Design. September 29, 2004. Archived from the original on March 3, 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Mike Shinoda". BandMerch Store. Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2007. 
  21. ^ "About". DC Shoes: Mike Shinoda. Retrieved October 3, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park & DC Shoes) interview". Sneaker Freaker. August 14, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2008. 
  23. ^ a b c d e "For Superfans Only « Mike Shinoda's Blog". Mikeshinoda.com. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  24. ^ Rotter, Josh. (2013-08-02) Star Apps: Linkin Park | The Download Blog - CNET Download.com. Download.cnet.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  25. ^ Shinoda, Mike (September 10, 2012). "Mike Shindoa and Music For Relief: 'Let's power the world'". The Big Issue. Retrieved September 23, 2012. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ Marcello (February 1, 2012). "Creative Spotlight: Episode #93 – Mike Shinoda Interview". japancinema.net. Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  28. ^ Lim, Cathy (April 28, 2006). "Getting Back to His Roots". The Rafu Shimpo. 
  29. ^ "Outside the Park". The Star (Malaysia). December 23, 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  30. ^ "The Kids ~ Linkin Lady". Linkinlady.net. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 

External links[edit]