Archives For mike shinoda

You’ve heard the song and your reaction may have gone something like this: “Wait, is there something wrong with my speakers? Why is my phone skipping? Is the radio messed up?”

There is nothing wrong with your speakers, your phone isn’t skipping and we’re fine. Hopefully you realized this 11 seconds in to “Gold,” as soon as the first verse kicked in. Hopefully you realized that there was still three minutes and 34 seconds left in the dark, twisted and rather interesting journey that 21 year-old Kiiara was going to take you on.

Or maybe you’re just transfixed on the song’s opening and chorus. It’s fine; you’re far from the only one.

“It’s interesting because I always knew what it was; like it’s a sample,” the Illinois-born emcee replied when I asked her on my show recently about people’s interpretation of the song’s open. “That’s all it is. So people trying to put words to it or like (ask) ‘What is she saying? What language is this?’ It’s interesting. It’s funny.”
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“Gold” first blew up outside of the U.S. even though Kiiara, nee Kiara Saulters, is an American artist. The single is already a Top 5 hit and two-times platinum down in Australia. It has cracked or is on the door step of the Top 20 in five other countries, including here where it sits at 22 on the pop radio airplay chart.

Chart success and critical acclaim are certainly propelling Kiiara’s career in the right direction, and she doesn’t seem to mind.

“It’s really fun,” she said of her time in the music industry thus far. Kiiara grew up in Illinois playing high school volleyball and would eventually dual-major in accounting and finance before dropping out of college after a year to pursue music. “It’s cool to like, experience everything with shooting music videos to seeing what rehearsals and touring is about, because I’ve never performed before.”

That changed last month when the singer embarked on her first headlining tour, a six-date jaunt that culminated with a festival slot: Lollapalooza in Chicago, back where she had grown up.

“It was really weird to be back; like it was a good weird but I haven’t been there in over a year,” she admitted. Kiiara moved to L.A. shortly after recording “Gold” and continued on to finish her debut EP, “low kii savage.” “And then I’ve never been to Lolla, so performing was really dope, to see it from a different perspective.”

Seemingly the only item on Kiiara’s itinerary at the moment is the promotion of “Gold” as it continues to climb up airplay charts. The 21 year-old hopes to drop her debut full length album in January and noted that a full tour could come shortly sometime thereafter.

You’ve got to hand it to Linkin Park – the rap-rock group has been at it since 1996 and the guys are still finding ways to innovate their craft. The latest example came this past weekend, when LP performed for its second time on “Saturday Night Live” and accomplished a feat so unique – Lorne Michaels himself had to sign off on it.

First, the band performed the hit single, “Waiting for the End” off of A Thousand Suns. The lighting scheme combined lasers with LED panels to mimic some of the effects that can be seen in the music video for the song. For Linkin Park’s second go-around, the group played “When They Come for Me” – another track from ATS. LP decided that it would look best if the camera shot it in black and white as opposed to full color.

“It was kind of a nail biter, at the last minute because Lorne Michaels, who runs the show, had to approve that,” revealed emcee Mike Shinoda, who called in to “The Ralphie Radio Show” while on tour with LP. “(Michaels) looked at the test in color and then looked at it in black and white and he said, ‘Yeah, yeah for these guys we can let them do black and white.’”

As if the approval from SNL’s creator wasn’t enough, Michaels also put a little bow on the present he gifted Linkin Park.

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Shinoda also chatted about the different tech schemes currently implemented on LP’s world tour, and the implementation of new technology to the band’s marketing campaigns.

“(Michaels) also said, ‘Yunno it’s funny, now other bands are going to ask me to do black and white, and I’m going to have to tell them no because it’s Linkin Park’s thing,’” a happy Shinoda recalled. “I didn’t realize that no musical guests have ever done black and white before.”

Shinoda certainly is aware of the magnitude of the “accomplishment” – calling the decision “amazing” while citing the legendary status of the show. It’s appropriate that a band like Linkin Park be honored with such a distinction – the California-based band challenged itself just as much with the new visuals for the current world tour as with the idea of creating a new sound for the album. Shinoda says LP’s visual team created software and mechanisms that respond to band’s nightly changing set list – so that like the music, no one concert’s visual pattern will be like another’s.

“If the record is a challenging record, then we want the visuals to be challenging,” Shinoda said. “We spent more time than we would have five years ago on something like this.”

Part of the reasoning for the increased attention to the live show could be attributed to music’s changing business model: generating income from live shows, marketing deals, and singles as opposed to selling records. But Shinoda cautions that LP has and always will have its priorities straight.

“Everything is inter-related. You could put all your focus in the world on your touring, but if you good albums or good music to lay the foundation, then that’s not going to fly.”

Take it from the band that’s sold over 50 million albums worldwide – and has gone either gold or platinum in 12 different countries with its latest release.