Founder of Linkin Park
“Writing songs and sharing them with people is a very rewarding experience. Many thanks to all our fans who support our albums and concerts.” Mike Shinoda
American musician and record producer Mike Shinoda is best known as the founding member of Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band Linkin Park, along with Brad Delson and Rob Bourdon. Playing rhythm guitar and keyboard and serving as emcee, background vocalist and main songwriter, he took the mainstream fame by storm thanks to the group's first album, “Hybrid Theory” (2000), which went on to become the most successful debut album in the 21 century. The group enjoyed furthered success with the sophomore album “Meteora” (2003) and the third “Minutes to Midnight” (2007), which he co-produced with Rick Rubin. “Minutes to Midnight” also featured Shinoda as lead vocalist on three tracks. Shinoda produced or co-produced Linkin Park non-studio albums like the 2002 remix “Reanimation” and the 2004 collaborative EP with Jay-Z, “Collision Course,” which won the group their second Grammy Award. Linkin Park released a number of hit singles, including the Grammy winner “Crawling,” “In the End,” “Somewhere I Belong,” “Breaking the Habit,” which won the MTV’s Viewer's Choice Award in 2004, “Numb,” “What I've Done,” “Leave Out All the Rest” and “Shadow of the Day.”
Outside Linkin Park, Shinoda released the album “The Rising Tied” (2005) under Fort Minor. It is notable for producing the surprise hit single “Where'd You Go” (2006), which won the Best Ringtone Award at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards.
Shinoda teamed up with Brad Delson to set up Machine Shop Recordings in 2002. Aside from Fort Minor, the label has signed bands like Styles of Beyond and Holly Brook. Shinoda said, “My bandmates in LP were very excited for me to be able to show the fans what I do individually. I wouldn't have done this without their complete support. In fact, I picked our guitarist Brad Delson as my A&R guy!”
Apart from his music and producing career, Shinoda is a graphic artist. With a B.A. degree in illustration, he landed a job as a graphic designer right after graduation and collaborated with band member Joe Hahn to design all of Linkin Park's artwork. He also designed the cover of Styles of Beyond's debut album, “2000 Fold,” and has collaborated with DC Shoe. Shinoda has held two public art shows, namely “Diamonds Spades Hearts & Clubs,” which opened at Gallery 1988 on November 19, 2006, and “Glorious Excess (BORN),” which premiered at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in 2008.
A former student of the Pasadena Art Center College of Design, Shinoda created a college scholarship at his alma mater in 2004 to benefit future illustration and graphic design students. The Michael K. Shinoda Endowed Scholarship, which he finances through the sales of his original artwork on his website, art shows and his DC Shoe projects, was awarded for the first time in 2006.
Shinoda has been married to his wife, Anna Hillinger, since 2003.
Childhood and Family:
Michael Kenji Shinoda, who would later be popular as Mike Shinoda, was born on February 11, 1977, in Agoura, California, to Leslie Shinoda, who is of Japanese lineage, and Kim Shinoda, who is of Native American and Hungarian origin. He has a younger sibling named Jason (born in 1979). A third generation Japanese American, Mike's grandfather was born in the United States, but was interned during WWII.
Young Mike started taking classical piano lessons when he was six years old. He later branched out into hip-hop and jazz and picked up the guitar during his middle school and high school years. He also added rap-style vocals to his collection.
Reared in a Los Angeles suburb called Agoura Hills, Mike attended Parkman Elementary and Lindero Canyon Middle School. He went to high school at Agoura High School, whose schoolmates included future Linkin Park band members Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson. After high school, Mike studied graphic design and illustration at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He graduated in 1998.
On May 10, 2003, Mike married Anna Hillinger. She is an author of children's books. Mike confessed that he wrote the song “Where'd You Go” for his wife.
Mike Shinoda has several nicknames, including Mikey, Shinnizle, Spike Minoda, and Mike the Spike.
Discovering a love for music after his mother sent him to classical piano classes, Mike Shinoda made a switch to hip hop when he was a teenager, and along with his high school buddy, lead gutarist Brad Delson (born on December 1, 1977), he began to write and record songs in his basement studio. By the time the two formed the group Xero, drummer Rob Bourdon (born on January 20, 1979) had been added to the line-up. The three high school friends began to take their musical interests more seriously after graduating high school.
Shinoda next recruited DJ and turntablist Joseph Hahn, whom he met in college, bassist Dave “Phoenix” Farrell, and lead vocalist Mark Wakefield. They worked in Shinoda's make-shift studio, but their unsuccessful attempts to score a record label led Wakefield and Farrell to quit. Eventually, Shinoda hired Phoenix, Arizona, native Chester Bennington as a new vocalist and changed the group's name from Hybrid Theory to Linkin Park. With Bennington's help, he successfully revived the group. He stated, “When we started the band (Linkin Park), it was because we were waiting for a sound that never happened. We got tired of waiting and we decided to just do it ourselves.”
Signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1999, Linkin Park launched their debut album on October 24, 2000, titled “Hybrid Theory,” which proved to be a massive commercial breakthrough for the band. Edited by music producer Don Gilmore, “Hybrid Theory” made the Top 2 on the Billboard's 200 and emerged as the best selling debut album of the 21 century after selling over 24 million copies worldwide. In the United States, the album sold more than 10 million copies and has been certified diamond by RIAA. It was also nominated for a Best Rock Album Grammy.
Shinoda's first album with Linkin Park spawned five singles, namely “One Step Closer,” “Papercut,” “In the End,” “Points of Authority” and “Crawling,” from which he and his band members won a 2002 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. The success of “Hybrid Theory” subsequently propelled the group to stardom.
In July 2002, Linkin Park released a remix album, “Reanimation,” which Shinoda executively managed and organized. Recorded during the “Hybrid Theory” tour in 2001, the album went platinum in the U.S.
In March 2003, Shinoda and Linkin Park resurfaced with their second studio album, “Meteora.” In addition to his responsibilities as a musician and engineer/technician, he also contributed to the album graphics, for which he teamed up with graphic designer Frank Maddocks and band mate Joe Hahn. “Meteora,” rose to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and other countries like the U.K. and Italy, and produced such popular singles as “Somewhere I Belong,” “Faint,” “Lying from You,” “From the Inside,” “Breaking the Habit” and “Numb.” To date, the album, which became the best selling rock album of 2003, has sold over 5 million pieces in the U.S. and over 20 million worldwide.
The next year found Shinoda serving as producer for “Collision Course,” a collaboration album recorded by Linkin Park and hip hop artist and entrepreneur Jay-Z. It later won a 2006 Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
“I am playing every instrument on there, but it's not really about me. I'm featuring a lot of great MCs that are friends of mine. I want to work with people that I'm friends with that I get along with. I'm not just going to go out there and grab whoever's hot at the moment. I want to connect with people I see eye-to-eye with and make great music. Like I said, it's not really about me.” Mike Shinoda (about Fort Minor)
It was during 2003 and 2004 that Shinoda created a hip hop side project, Fort Minor, to showcase his hip hop roots. Fort Minor released the debut album “The Rising Tied” on November 22, 2005, under Linkin Park's Warner Bros. Records imprint label Machine Shop Recordings. The most successful single, “Where'd You Go” (2006) rose to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and later won an MTV Video Music for Best Ringtone. “The Rising Tied” also generated other singles like “Remember the Name,” which was used as the soundtrack for NBA Overtime on TNT during the 2006-2007 season, “Petrified” and “Believe Me.”
Shinoda was reunited with Linkin Park in 2007 for their third studio album, “Minutes to Midnight,” which was released on May 15 and became the group's next No. 1 hit on Billboard's 200. The album scored the chart-topper “What I've Done” and the popular singles “Given Up,” “Leave Out All the Rest,” “Bleed It Out” and “Shadow of the Day.” Shinoda co-produced the album with Rick Rubin and sang lead vocals on “In Between,” “Hands Held High” and “No Roads Left.”
The co-founder of Machine Shop Recordings, Shinoda served as executive producer on “Reseda Beach” (2008), a new album from the Los Angeles-based underground rap group Styles Of Beyond. He and Linkin Park collaborated with Busta Rymes on the song “We Made It,” which was selected as the soundtrack for the Western Conference Finals of the 2008 NBA season. The song is included in Rymes' new album, “Back on My B.S.,” which is slated to be released in March 2009.
Grammy: Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, “Numb/Encore/Yesterday,” (with Jay-Z and Paul McCartney), 2006
MTV Video Music: Viewer's Choice Award, Breaking the Habit, 2004
Grammy: Best Hard Rock Performance, “Crawling,” 2002