the death of henryxolskool and rise of Mike Melinoe

'Over the past hundred years, it's been a load of trauma on my community and culture, as a race, so I created a record where I engaged mentally as much as I wanted at that time'.

Who is Mike Melinoe and when did the musical journey begin?

Mike Melinoe is a creative music artist and painter from Detroit, MI. I moved around a bit to Inkster, MI then up north then back to the metro areas so at times growing up was fun but weird. Raised by my mother, along with my three siblings, she tried to make everyday as special as she could. Which was just about everything she didn't have during her adolescence. Even though we was a bit poor, barely had a variety of clothes, didn't have a stable male in the household we we're still making things work, I swear it was like magic. I've seen my mother cry so much I began to stop. I figured I didn't go through as much pain as she did, so I turned to jazz. I had a radio where I would listen to nothing but smooth jazz V98.7! It changed my life. I never felt so free and careless at one time.

Around this time I'd say I'm between 7-9 I began to write music. See I was raised in a church, just like damn near everybody in the hood. I honestly can say I hated it so bad that I really started to pay attention then got confused. I was in the choir and played the violin elementary. My biological dad is a pianist, that played churches, Aaliyah (for a moment), jazz gigs and more other bands. My mother was also a very good singer, was a choir director, singer, writer and loads of other crafts. I remember when my mother use to sell her jewelry and we use to help, it's sort of how I sell my art at shows now. Music felt to far fetch so I played sports, in hopes that I would make it. But it didn't. The moment I devoted my life to music was in college, my freshmen and only year. I didn't make the football team, so I ran gusto and haven't stop since.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Honestly, my mother, two brothers and one sister are where my biggest inspiration come from. Without the rough and lovely days with them I wouldn't be the great soul I am today. There was times where many would say I was lost, but I never gave up and left home mentally. Early on jazz was my only musical inspiration and seeing my dad play piano at church. Seeing my dad play was equivalent to me having the ball tossed around with my dad. I didn't really listen to rap around my mother, because she never played it. My older cousin Rachel use to babysit us and she would play mad rap. The main thing that stuck out at that time was 'The Hot Boyz'! I was a huge fan and still can't wait to meet Lil Wayne. In middle school, computers were becoming a bit more accessible so during my classes I would listen to rap battles, rap and discover whatever at that time. But when I heard Big L, Big Daddy Kane, Eminem and Camp Lo my life change. Nowadays, I'm more inspired by everything. I find it easier to create what I see in my head.

What triggered the lyrics in Begonia?

A lot. My upbringing, my history, my surrounding, life really. Over the past hundred years, it's been a load of trauma on my community and culture, as a race, so I created a record where I engaged mentally as much as I wanted at that time. I tried to give someone some sort of realism, edge and hope at the same time. I purposely created the chorus to have some repetitive unifying message that folks could find some inspiration from to translate that energy in our daily lives.

Where is henryxolskool?

Haha, Henry's is dead. I killed him in my last 20 nightmares.

What are some of the struggles you face whilst growing in the industry?

There's many struggles currently. Not even in the industry life in general is very interesting right now, I feel like the universe is testing me more than ever. Testing my integrity, honor, love, passion, patience, strength and drive for what I desire. Not having the funds and maybe, the right people to move my brand promptly would be the struggles. It's really nothing more or less for me. I'm building a team now, so more is looking clean nowadays but still finances don't fall from the sky. But my motto is I don't complain, just get it done. So we will.

Apart from music, you also paint! When did you realise this is something you want to pursue?

Well, since I started my own style I said that I wouldn't release any other art content but this style. I'm focused on the development and longevity conceptual expression of my art. As many may know already, my art is very rare. Many people are exposed to this newly found content and find deep connection without knowing the true meaning. 'Shades of Hospitality' is the evolution and dead weight we carry and experience with time. No matter how hard thin may be, these lessons are learned and stored for a new life to more forwards. It's amazing I believe that this universe brought me art, I never necessarily found it.

What is coming up next for Mike Melinoe?

Focused on expansion and world domination. I believe my art can stand with time and I'm approaching music and art quite different, compared to others. I have an EP coming very soon, with YoAstrum. We've spoken very little publicly about this EP, but it's on the way. I'm focused on art shows, festivals and visuals as we speak so, a lot is next.

Finally, what's your favourite type of cake?

Haha, my favorite cake is German chocolate cake, preferably from my auntie. She's the best.

Follow Mike on Instagram to stay updated on his latest music and artworks: @mikemelinoe

Visit Mike's website to buy his paintings and merch:

All images are courtesy of Mike Melinoe