We Moved! WE MOVED


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Mike was born Michael Kenji Shinoda on the 11th February 1977 to Muto and Donna Shinoda. A few years later they gave Mike a brother, Jason, whom Mike calls Jay, they were raised in Augoura Hills, California. From very early on Mike shown his skill of drawing as when the family went out for dinner and Mike would finish his meal early he would be given napkins to draw on to keep him quiet rather than disrupt the other diners. His mother also arranged piano lessons for Mike when he was four years old, he started with classical music and he continued for 12 years and moved onto hip hop, learning loops and hooks. After the 12 years of tuition there was nothing else he could learn from his tutor and she advised him to go experiment on his own.

“I started piano lessons when I was really young, around aged four. And I played piano for about 12 years, and then I got into keyboards and samplers, then guitar. I learned bass a little bit.I can play tunes on most string and wind instruments. I could probably strap instruments to each of my limbs and put on a show as a one man band!” Mike, 2004.
During high school Mike’s father would take him on work camp trips in the summer to help out on Native American reservations, Mike as taken on this ethic of giving to charity and also helped Brad and his family out by volunteering at soup kitchens over the holiday season.
Mike has mentioned that he felt awkward at school and found it difficult to fit in with his ethnicity, he has joked that kids often thought he was Latino. Whilst junior school he met Brad Delson, the pair became friends and Brad taught Mike how to play the guitar. They went on to form a band named Xero, (later to be renamed Xero 818, Hybrid Theory and finally Linkin Park).
“when i discovered groups like U2, Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode, and discovered similar themes of alienation, i realised that what I was really drawn to were the emotions in the lyrics. I think everyone goes through the same emotions, on different levels and through different experiences. The best lyrics are the ones that describe those emotions in ways you always wanted to say but could never find the words.”
After graduating high school Mike went to the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena to study design and illustration, Joe Hahn also attended the college and joined Xero, Mikes roommate was Corey Sandelius who Mike remains close friends with. Despite the stresses of having to take his finals the same weekend as Hybrid Theory were performing a showcase for 6 record labels, Mike graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in Design and Illustration, he was the youngest in his class to graduate aged 21.
Mike got a job as a graphic designer straight out of college and thought he was going design CD covers for a living. In 1997 he designed the cover for Styles of Beyonds 2000 Fold album and he also produced the track Marco Polo.
As Mike worked as a graphic designer the band continue to write and record music, their signer Mark Wakefield left and the band found Chester Bennington to replace him, the band was renamed Hybrid Theory, then eventually the Hybrid Theory EP was released in May 1999, again Mike did the cover art for the EP. After another name change to Linkin Park and with the help of Jeff Blue, Warner Bros finally offered them a recording contract (after previously passing on the band three times).
Hybrid Theory was released in October of 2000, Mike did the artwork for this album also, the solider has since become a favourite for fans to get tattooed on them. The band toured extensively in support of Hybrid Theory, in 2001 they won a Grammy for Hard Rock Performance for Crawling, and so Mike accomplished a goal he had set within the band. Hybrid Theory went on to be the biggest selling album of 2001.
In 2002 Mike and Joe wrote and performed the single It’s goin’ down with the X-Ecutioners, and Mike produced the single. Mike also produced his first Linkin Park album, Reanimation, and he also did the artwork cover. This album also allowed Mike to work with his friends such as Cheapshot, and people he had met during the Hybrid Theory touring cycle, such as Aaron Lewis.
The second Linkin Park album Meteora was released in March 2003 and again the band toured.
On May 10th 2003 Mike married long time girlfriend, Anna Hillenger who is now a children’s author (website).
In 2004, Mike reinterpreted Depeche Mode’s single Enjoy The Silence, for their remix album entitled Remixes 81-04 and it was chosen to be released as a single in October. The following month Linkin Park teamed up with Jay Z to do a mash up album for MTV and a small show. Mike was honoured to be working with Jay Z as he was a huge fan of his work. Mike also produced, mixed and engineered the EP. The single from the EP, Numb/Encore went on to win Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2006 Grammy Awards, the band also performed the song with Jay Z and were also joined by Paul McCartney, and The Beatle’s song Yesterday was also incorporated into the mash up.
During this year Mike also founded the Michael K. Shinoda Endowed Scholarship, offering scholarships for Art College Centre of Design from the proceeds of his artwork, Mike has also donated to the Japanese American Museum.

After the touring cycle had finished, the band decided to take a break, Mike took this time to experiment on a hip hop side project, Fort Minor. The album gave him the opportunity for him to work with his friends in the industry, including Styles Of Beyond, Common, and Jonah Matranga. He released a Fort Minor mixtape entitled Fort Minor: We Major, the album The Rising Tied was released in November 2005. Mike enlisted Jay Z as executive producer and Brad gave advice on the album track list too; but Mike produced and mixed the album himself, as well as performing almost every instrument on it and painting the album cover.
“Jay-Z is the executive producer, but he didn't write anything. He helped me pick the songs and mould the direction of the album. Black Thought, Common, John Legend, Styles of Beyond, Holly Brook, Kenna, Jonah Matranga, Mr. Hahn, and Eric Bobo are some of the people on the actual album. I limited the guests to people I already knew. I think the only person I cold-called about the project was John Legend, simply because I really like his voice. I figure I could have probably gotten bigger names on the record, but I wanted to do the album with friends instead.” Fixins interview, 2005.
The album was well received by critics and fans and was supported by a short tour, including supporting 50 Cent in Malaysia. The album, in particular the themes in the lyrics are much more personal to Mike, Where’d You Go was written for his wife, and considers what his family goes through whilst he is away on tour for great amounts of time. During interviews regarding Fort Minor Mike revealed that his family were held in internment camps during world war II, the song deals with the tension around that time through the character Kenji who is interned into a camp, and it is Mikes father and aunty who can be heard on the track who were both interned.
"My family was interned and I learned that some of my relatives were taken to the Santa Anita racetrack to live in horse stalls before they were taken to the camp" in California . "It was the story of your typical Japanese-American family during that time, but a lot of people don't know about it. I had a hard time getting the story out of my family because they don't like to talk about it. But when I heard it, I knew I had to put that story out there."
Mike also wrote and produced the score for the 2005 VMAs with Lil’ Jon, "The challenge was that they needed variety. I did 10 tracks, a couple of them a lot of Linkin Park fans will recognise the sound, while others are different, all the way down to some really stripped-down hip-hop sounds. And within each piece, there are different parts."
The concept of the artwork was around 10 pieces of art including the album cover, Mike displayed the art at his first art gallery opening, his called the art show Diamonds Spades Hearts Clubs as them symbols appeared in the art pieces.
In May 2007 the third Linkin Park album, Minutes to Midnight was released, this album has less of Mike’s vocals than previous albums but Mike put in the album as much as he had in the others and he got a co-producer credit alongside Rick Rubin.
Linkin Park teamed up with Busta Rhymes on the single We Made it, with Mike having his own verse and Chester singing the chorus.
As the band toured the world in support of Minutes to Midnight Mike also started work on another art show, entitled Glorious Excess, he released a film Sirens and Silence he had filmed some of the footage and acquired the rest and then put it all together. The art show was split in two parts (Born) and (Dies) and deals with celebrity excess.
Mike and Mark Wakefield collaborated again in 2008 as they wrote, performed and made the hilarious video for Barack Your World under the band name White Pegacorn, the track shows their support for Barack Obama in the presidential race.
In early 2009 Anna and Mike had their first child, Otis Shinoda. 
Also Mike was asked to speak at the graduation ceremony at the Art Center College of Design, he was also awarded an honorary degree, a Doctorate of Humane Letters.
On the August 29th the conclusion to Glorious Excess: Glorious Excess: Dies opened at JANM, and received fantastic reviews from fans and critics.  
Mike is currently writing and recording the new Linkin Park album.