Mike Shinoda

(b. 1977) Musician, Producer, Artist

First experience writing music Drawing on paper napkins Contemplating identity in Los Angeles Connecting to Japan Insights from family on Japanese American internment Politics in music Role as an artist Being a good example for people

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Michael Kenji Shinoda was born and raised in Agoura Hills, a suburb north of Los Angeles, to a Japanese American father and Caucasian mother. He first began studying music with piano lessons at age three. During high school and continuing while a student at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, Shinoda and friends formed a band called Xero. Due to copyright issues, they later renamed themselves Hybrid Theory and ultimately, Linkin Park. Since the 2000 release of their first album, Linkin Park has enjoyed great success. In 2002, they won a Grammy for “Best Hard Rock Performance” for their song “Crawling.” The band won another Grammy in 2006 for their mash-up collaboration with Jay-Z entitled “Numb/Encore.”

In 2005, Shinoda released his first solo effort, The Rising Tied, a hip-hop album that he wrote and produced under the name Fort Minor. One of the songs on the debut album titled “Kenji” was inspired by a visit to the Japanese American National Museum. He interviewed family members who were incarcerated in American concentration camps during World War II. Parts of the interviews with his father and aunt are incorporated into the song.

Although he pursued music as his career, Shinoda continues to express his creativity visually. He oversees the design and artwork for all of Linkin Park’s printed and web materials. He has also created artwork for Linkin Park and Fort Minor’s album covers.

Despite his many projects, Shinoda has taken time to support many charities. In addition to starting a scholarship at Art Center College of Design, he has been involved with organizations like United Way, Denshō, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Japanese American National Museum. He participated in Los Angeles’ Nisei Week Parade as the 2005 Honorary Parade Marshal. For his creative contributions to American culture, he was awarded the Japanese American National Museum’s Award of Excellence in 2006. (October 19, 2006)

composition music Piano artists drawing hapa identity Los Angeles multi cultural Japan Linkin Park camps Fort Minor incarceration internment art charities

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