Recently we had the chance to interview Mikey Shyne! Check out our interview with our NY Entertainer of the Week!
upfrontNY: How did you get your musical start?
Mikey Shyne: Well music has been the heartbeat of my soul from an early age. I was always the kid that loved to be front and center and entertain. I owe a lot to my grandma Maureen for being my biggest influence in the early toddler years. She would take me to concerts and shows and I was always fascinated by the dynamics of the bands that would play. I loved the melodies, the beat of the drum, the way a guitar pick strummed the strings… I remember putting on my own concerts for family members using the vacuum cleaner as my make-shift microphone.
Noticing how musically inclined I was, my family decided to allow me to graduate into the musical theater and choir world, where I was able to allow the music to be a form of expression. My first “Big Gig” was singing the National Anthem at Shea Stadium with a small select group of choir members when I was maybe 10 years old. I was super thrilled for this opportunity!
But somewhere along the lines, I lost touch with the music and my talents went into a hibernation mode. Self expression just didn’t seem “cool” anymore and I chose to hide out and no longer show my true colors. It really wasn’t until 2013 when I met Eric Anzalone, the Biker from the Village People, who inspired me to rekindle my love with music and actually pursue it. For 2 years I dabbled with “re-learning” the creative process as I began to write lyrics and take vocal lessons again. But it wasn’t until 2015 that the musical monster inside of me really came out when I released “Set Me Free” and began my journey.
upfrontNY: How would you describe your music?
Mikey Shyne: Wow so I have so many influences. I listened to EVERYTHING growing up. From Elvis to Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Justin Timberlake, Tupac, 311,The Offspring, Blink 182, Eminem, Michael Jackson… The list goes on and on. I’ve had an obsession at one point or another with all types of artists and genres.
My music is upbeat Pop with heavy Hip Hop/Urban influences. I pour my soul into my lyrics, and have been writing for years now so you can surely expect heartfelt and heavy lyrics. I try not to write generic crap and I am a perfectionist in the creative writing process. I make sure that my lyrics have meaning, even if it’s in an upbeat club/party track.
upfrontNY: What was it like for you to release you first professionally produced song “Set Me Free” last February?
Mikey Shyne: So a little back story before I get into “Set Me Free.” Like I said earlier, I went into musical hibernation for years but a bad breakup and depression were the charges needed for my explosion into the industry. Let me tell you, I was so heart broken and depressed after this breakup, I didn’t leave my room for almost a month. But one day I finally snapped and began putting my emotions onto paper. I wrote an entire album in a matter of days, with “Set Me Free” taking the lead.
I originally wrote it to a more depressed, laid back instrumental but once I heard the new beat produced by Mantra, I knew right away it was a match made in heaven. I recorded a lifeless demo at a friends home studio and shopped it around to some friends. No one was impressed or encouraged me to pursue it. One of my friends even said “Man, you’re in deep.”
Enter Ray Balconis… I met Ray on a whim on the internet and brought the demo into his studio. Not gonna lie, I was a little intimidated stepping into a professional studio with the huge mixing console and all of the equipment. I played the song for Ray and he promised he would help put some swagger and life into it.
Stepping into the booth at Ray’s is an experience like no other. He is so passionate and confident in his production and vocal coaching abilities. He taught me how to break down a song line by line and deliver the proper emotion for the lyrics. Huge shout out to Ray Balconis over at Studio Ray in Maspeth! His vocal production talent is amazing as well, he mixed and mastered the song to perfection.
After 3 sessions at Rays I had a final product. I raced home with my manager, Manny Rivera and instantly uploaded it to Soundcloud. I posted it once on facebook and it went viral. The phone calls started ringing in. Everyone was blown away by my hidden talent! “Set Me Free” led the way for the rest of my professionally recorded singles.
upfrontNY: What do you love most about living and performing in NYC?
Mikey Shyne: Performing in NYC is amazing! There’s so much love and support out here. Because there is no real Pop underground, I found myself in the early stages doing alot of hip hop showcases. My first show ever, Kurtis Blow and DJ Tomekk came out to support me. Kurtis even personally introduced me to the stage! I only sang 2 songs but blew the crowd away and won the showcase. I was hooked. Addicted. There is no better feeling than being on a stage expressing myself freely.
upfrontNY: Do you have a venue, city, or country you hope to play one day?
Mikey Shyne: I would love to hit up Los Angeles and Miami, maybe play some festivals this summer. But I surely need to get out to Berlin and perform because thanks to DJ Tomekk, my mentor and one of the biggest DJ’s in Europe I have a fanbase out there. I would love the chance to tour Europe.
upfrontNY: What can people expect from your debut album “Dream Runners” that is coming out this spring?
Mikey Shyne: Everything you’d expect from Mikey Shyne. Upbeat melodies, great lyrics and awesome, well produced songs. Definitely keep your eyes peeled for some celebrity features. “Dream Runners” is going to be a musical journey of my life, my hopes and my dreams.
upfrontNY: Is there anything you want people to know about you and your music?
Mikey Shyne: Man, listen, I was living in a homeless shelter 3 years ago with nothing but a dream. Look at me now. If I can do it, you can do it and I look to be an inspiration for future musicians who’ve yet to take that first step.
-New York City-
Favorite thing about New York City- The people. I’ve seen half the country and been all over Europe but NOTHING compares to the culture and people you experience in NYC.
Favorite NYC Music Venue- Webster hall. Would love to play that stage one day.
Favorite restaurant – Tao on 58th.
Favorite season in the city- Nothing like a sweltering hot summer in New York! Spring is also a beautiful time.
Learn more about Mikey Shyne and his music!