To call Mike Shinoda a rock star would be technically accurate and yet incomplete. He is the lead singer and driving force behind Linkin Park (one of the best selling bands of the 21st century), Fort Minor (his hip hop project) and a thriving career as a solo artist. But that list of headlining achievements doesn’t even begin to capture the scope of his creative versatility.
He’s always been a creative omnivore since his days as an ArtCenter Illustration student when he divided his time between the painting studio and band practice. Even as Linkin Park soared to stratospheric success, he continued to multitask creatively. He continued to pursue solo endeavors (including a Grammy-winning collaboration with Jay-Z) while cultivating a diverse visual arts practice designing album covers and merchandise and assembling a series of paintings that have exhibited in major museums and galleries.
But for all his myriad achievements, what stands out most about Mike is the unique quality of attention and intention that he brings to everything he does. We were only a few minutes deep into our conversation when it became clear that I was in the presence of a rare breed of artist who is uniquely curious about the mysterious forces at play in his own creative process. He gamely expanded upon his challenges and breakthroughs as a songwriter (with a vital assist from producing legend, Rick Rubin), his use of doodling to access certain parts of his creative brain and the twitch channel he’s created to make things from scratch, in real time, often in collaboration with his audience.
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