Mike Shinoda

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Mike Shinoda
Mike Shinoda World Expo 2008.jpg
Mike Shinoda at World Expo 2008
Background information
Birth nameMichael Kenji Shinoda
Born(1977-02-11) February 11, 1977 (age 37)[1]
Agoura Hills, California
GenresHip hop, rap rock, nu metal, alternative rock
OccupationsRapper, musician, producer, graphic designer, visual artist, manager
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, piano, sampler, turntables, organ, theremin, synthesizer
Years active1994–present
LabelsMachine Shop/Warner Bros.
Associated actsLinkin Park, Fort Minor, Styles of Beyond, Ghostface Killah
Notable instruments
Fender Stratocaster
Ibanez RG
Takamine acoustic guitar
Korg Triton
Roland Keyboard
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Mike Shinoda
Mike Shinoda World Expo 2008.jpg
Mike Shinoda at World Expo 2008
Background information
Birth nameMichael Kenji Shinoda
Born(1977-02-11) February 11, 1977 (age 37)[1]
Agoura Hills, California
GenresHip hop, rap rock, nu metal, alternative rock
OccupationsRapper, musician, producer, graphic designer, visual artist, manager
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, piano, sampler, turntables, organ, theremin, synthesizer
Years active1994–present
LabelsMachine Shop/Warner Bros.
Associated actsLinkin Park, Fort Minor, Styles of Beyond, Ghostface Killah
Notable instruments
Fender Stratocaster
Ibanez RG
Takamine acoustic guitar
Korg Triton
Roland Keyboard

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 #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 affluent Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills.[1] His father is Japanese-American, descendant of the Kumaichiro Shinoda floral company family, and his mother is of European descent.[2][3] He has a younger brother, Jason. He was raised as a liberal Protestant.[4]

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.[5] 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:

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.[6]

Shinoda graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in illustration a year in advance 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[7] 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 Sonisphere Festival, 2009.

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10] Mike and Rick Rubin again shared a production credit for Linkin Park's fourth album, A Thousand Suns, released on September 14, 2010. Linkin Park then released Living Things on June 26, 2012. The band's latest album Recharged which is a remix of Living Things was released on October 29, 2013.

Fort Minor[edit]

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:[11]

'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.[11]

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 him and bandmate Mr. Hahn, and it was called "It's Goin Down".

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.[12] 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.[13]

Shinoda provided several original score selections to the 2005 MTV VMAs. Lil Jon also provided original music, but not on any of the same tracks.[14]

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]

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

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".[17] 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.[18] The scholarship fund is made possible through the sale of his original artwork on his website, art shows and his DC Shoes projects.[17][19]

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.[20]

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, for his production, he looks up to earlier hip-hop artists for inspiration. “I think my production style is more in the spirit of old B.D.P., Public Enemy, N.W.A., and Juice Crew,” he likened.


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.

Other musical activities[edit]

Other activities[edit]

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

Personal life[edit]

Shinoda is a third generation Japanese American.[26][27] His father was born in the United States and was interned 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 first of April,2014. According to her blog and an interview with Mike[30]They have two children, the eldest is a son named Otis Akio Shinoda.


With Linkin Park
As Fort Minor
Other appearances
1998-Styles of Beyond2000 FoldArtwork
1999-DJ FraneFrane's Fantastic BoatrideArtwork
-SaukratesThe Underground TapesArtwork
2002FreestyleDJ ViceI'm SeriousVocals
"It's Goin' Down"The X-EcutionersBuilt from ScratchVocals, guitars, producer, composer
2004Mike Callin' to Say Hi (Skit)KutMasta KurtRedneck OlympicsVocals
Enjoy the Silence 04Depeche ModeRemixes 81–04Producer
Rock and Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) Part 2Handsome Boy Modeling SchoolWhite PeopleVocals, guitars, piano, bass, producer
2006Mike Shinoda InterludeDJ Vlad & Roc RaidaRock PhenomenonVocals
The InstrumentalLupe FiascoLupe Fiasco's Food & LiquorProducer
2007Hard [MS Remix]Styles of BeyondRazor TagProducer
Hey YouVocals
You Cannot Fuck With ThisProducer
2008We Made ItBusta Rhymes & Linkin ParkWe Made It (single)Vocals, guitars, producer
Barack Your WorldWhite Pegacorn-Vocals, guitars, producer, composer
2009"Death to Analog" (Mike Shinoda Remix)Julien-KDeath to Digital

Death to Digital X

Shoot FirstApathyWanna Snuggle?Producer
Stories of the LostZiiStories of the Lost (single)Executive producer
2010Full albumLinkin Park8-Bit Rebellion!Producer
Carry Me AwayCypress HillRise UpVocals, producer
Never Let Me DownKennaDownload to Donate for HaitiProducer
ResurrectionKenna & Lupe Fiasco
Gold Guns Girls (Mike Shinoda Remix)Metric
2012Full albumMike Shinoda and Joe TrapaneseThe Raid: RedemptionComposer
NOC OutRamin DjawadiMedal of Honor: WarfighterComposer
Dumb It DownStyles of BeyondReseda BeachProducer
Second to NoneVocals, producer
2013"Wake Me Up"AviciiTrueProducer (Uncredited)
Truth Inside a Lie (LPU Sessions 2013)Ryan GilesLP Underground XIIIProducer
Change (LPU Sessions 2013)Beta StateProducer, keyboard, samples


  1. ^ a b c d e Apar, Corey. "Mike Shinoda: Biography". allmusic. 
  2. ^ "Linkin Park's 818th Battalion: Mike's Not Russian". Linkinparks818th.blogspot.com. July 24, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ McKeon, Therese. "Linkin Park: One Step Closer". Shout Web. ShoutWeb.com. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  5. ^ Scaggs, Austin (March 26, 2003). "The Mellower Half of Linkin Park". The Linkin Park Times. 
  6. ^ "Getting Back to His Roots, April 2006". Mike Shinoda Clan. April 28, 2006. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Mike Shinoda's Art Work". LinkinPark.com. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ For Superfans Only « Mike Shinoda's Blog. Mikeshinoda.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  9. ^ "U2 dominates Grammy night". CBC News. February 9, 2006. 
  10. ^ "Hit Parader's Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time". HearYa. December 4, 2006. 
  11. ^ a b "fort minor interview". fixins. Retrieved June 24, 2007. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Billboard Hot 100: Week of June 10, 2006". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  13. ^ The Making of The Rising Tied DVD
  14. ^ "Mike Shinoda releases 2005 VMA score via official Sound Cloud page". Soundcloud.com. January 27, 2010. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  15. ^ Transworld Snowboarding.com[dead link]
  16. ^ "Mike Shinoda's MUNNY". Machine Shop Recordings. November 7, 2005. 
  17. ^ a b Mike Shinoda, [1]. Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  18. ^ "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. 
  19. ^ "Mike Shinoda". BandMerch Store. Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Mike Shinoda Official Website". [full citation needed]
  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. ^ http://www.linkinlady.net/p/kids.html

External links[edit]