Mike Mineo is an independent artist that has been carving out his career for over a decade through his prolific songwriting that has expressed many themes and experimented with an eclectic array of genres. From track one “Believe” off his 18-track debut album Eccentricity (2009) to “Song With No Words”, the third track off his sixth and latest release “Vintage EP”. “Believe” is a song to empower believing in yourself in a world filled with doubt and rapid change, with passionately delivered vocals over a blaring brass section, reminiscent of a Motown or Stax soulful production. “Song With No Words” is a song where Mineo laments of personal sorrow and identifies the struggles of life we all go through as a wordless melody sung alone in the first chorus and progressing to three part harmony as the song builds to an uplifting climax, all pocketed in a classic 6/8 groove by a rootsy gospel band performing live in a fully analog studio.
Mineo has been so dedicated to his true-to-life eclectic form of writing that almost every album has taken a total departure from the last in order to keep up with the inspiration that hits, which in turn has pulled fans from all over the musical landscape, usually with their favorite works being just a fraction of what Mineo has accomplished in experimentation and artistry. Many of Mineo’s albums have had cohesive themes, such as his sophomore album “Beach Season”, which was an audio dedication to South Florida’s beaches. It was here that he grew up and was ultimately influenced by the “no shoes, no shirt, no problem” lifestyle, as well as the myriad of musical influences from the cultural melting pot, such as, Latin, Reggae, Haitian Kompa, Brazilian Bossa Nova, and even Ethiopian Tizita. His third album “Big Big Star” was his first fully self-produced and self-recorded album created in his home studio where he learned the ropes of working with a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and focused on blending synth/electronic sampling style with live instruments. The name “Big Big Star” is ironic in the sense all music on the album was done by himself in a bedroom on an independent budget.
Mineo’s live performances have gone through as many transformations as his recorded works. Mike started off experimenting with silent performance art skits at open-mics and artist co-ops. As he started building a buzz for his music and began playing more well known venues around South Florida, no one ever really knew what to expect of the instrumentation or line up of his band. He has gone on several national and international tours, such as the Odd-Ball Freak Tour where Mineo played accordion accompanied by Bill Muter on tuba. They played the more theatrical songs of Mike’s earlier catalog while wearing black and white face-paint, gallivanting around the South. Following that tour Mike went out with drummer Darin Scott on as a “trio-sounding duo”. Mike had his guitar signal split into a bass amp and a guitar amp to articulate bass lines while he picked out chords that he sang over. Mike also had more intimate shows with the “Mike Mineo Mini-Orchestra” consisting of Scott Marischen on Harp, a classical string quartet, a horn section, backing vocalists and drums, where the line up would perform fully composed versions of fan’s favorite songs from his catalogue to date. Mike also has a looping setup for when he performs solo and has opened ours for such acts as, The Alabama Shakes, Train, Steve Miller Band, Zack Deputy and more.
In Mike’s own words:
“If there is something worth saying then there is something worth playing, whether the point is to incite thought, be provocative or just to make somebody smile. The road of an indie artist has been changed, morphed, and grown in a way where it is so close to life, so personal. In this sense, the question is ‘If you aren’t living right, how are you creating something of real value for other people on this journey?’ The struggle isn’t ‘making it’ in the sense of money, fame, or fans, it’s ‘making it’ in the sense of completing your existence as a living being so that you can better connect with yourself and in turn with your fellow beings in whatever it is that you do whether it’s being a mother/father, teacher, doctor, public worker, or making music. I look forward to the evolution of my own process and hope to keep having the honor of sharing it with you.”