Mickey Shiloh came a long way since signing her first publishing deal at the age of 15. She wrote songs for major artists like Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Twista, Pitbull, LL Cool J, Shontelle, released her own songs which caught the attention of reality tv star Kylie Jenner and is also the founder of the first ever subscription based record label.
We had the chance to catch up with this busy individual and ask her a few questions:
As an artist and songwriter, you have been featured in Forbes 30 under 30 in music: How did you find your style? What’s inspiring you to create music?
After years of songwriting for so many different artists it was actually pretty hard to craft my own sound. I often felt like I was sounding too much like “Britney Spears” or “Rihanna” when I would try to write my own songs. I finally decided that my priority was my artistry, so I made a decision not to write for other artists full time any more. In 2015, I made the switch from songwriter mode to artist mode, and it was much easier for me to find my own voice.
“Self Care” – your latest EP – got released just recently. How did the EP come to life? Can you give us a sneak peek in your production process? And what does Self Care mean to you?
I was sitting alone in my apartment in July – just last month. I was feeling kind of reminiscent about an ex, who actually didn’t treat me well at all in the end. Rather than write songs about him, I wanted to talk more about me and what I go through as an independent woman. Self Care for me is all about what I do to cater to my own emotions, and taking time to learn more about myself.
Having been in the music business for quite some time now, in your opinion: What are the biggest challenges and chances up-and-coming artists face in the digital age?
Now everyone can be an artist, and it seems like everyone is. Now you are a very, very small fish in an enormous pond. The biggest challenge for independent artists today is to find a way to truly stand out without losing their integrity or authenticity. Learning how to properly market yourself is paramount, but also extremely difficult. Not impossible!
You have written for superstars like Janet Jackson, Britney Spears or Pitbull. Can you tell us about your evolution as a songwriter? How did you master the craft?
I attribute 100% of my success to being able to record myself from home – I was able to practice every day growing up and very blessed to have great mentors along the way. I was signed to my first publishing deal at 15, to multi-platinum producer, Chad Dexter (50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Robin Thicke, Ashanti). Chad is really the one that taught me the keys to songwriting structure and how the music industry worked. When I signed to Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins at 17, I learned how to apply those lessons Chad taught me to more real life scenarios, more high-pressure situations, where I was in the studio with major artists writing on the spot.
The pandemic forced many artists to live-streaming in order to keep connecting with their fans. You also did a virtual show for the live-streaming platform Headliner and you’re going to hold a virtual writing camp soon. Do you think live-streaming and other ways to connect with fans and fellow artists, that gained more importance during the Covid 19 crisis, are here to stay in a post-pandemic world?
Yes, absolutely. I think that live-streaming is the future. The technology will only continue to evolve, much like our mobile phones did. I wouldn’t be surprised if someday there are dedicated live-streaming devices where you can actually touch and interact with people, just like you can touch your phone screens today.
With your own record label HRDRV you provide services for artists, songwriters & producers. Tell us more about HRDRV please.
HRDRV is an artist’s one-stop shop. We provide our artists with cover artwork, visualizers, mixing/mastering, production, distribution administration, branding, radio promo, marketing, mentorship, and educational workshops. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We are always adding more services and features to empower our 1,000+ members! We are working very hard to add more valuable services for producers and songwriters as well. The best part about HRDRV is the community.
What was the inspiration that kicked off your endeavor?
I was on a road trip in April 2019, and while driving I was thinking about all of the resources I have as an artist. Graphic designers, mixing engineers, etc. Then I was thinking about all of the people that reach out to me asking for help with where to start and what they need. So I thought to myself, why isn’t there a community record label? Why isn’t there one place an artist can go and essentially order everything they need?
In your work as an artist/songwriter and label owner: How important are data insights for your decision-making?
Not as important to me as it should be. As Mickey Shiloh I don’t ever look at data. Yes, I collect a lot of it, but it does not dictate my decision-making. I lead with my experience, and my gut, which has been working so far. It’s easy for me to know what people in my community need, because I am them. However, as I grow as a business owner, I do know that analyzing the data will only help my company grow. I plan to bring someone on the team that I can delegate that work too soon.
Which artist’s social media feeds are you digging right now? Who’s killing it visual wise?
What’s next for Mickey Shiloh and HRDRV?
World domination! But no… creating a self-sustaining music ecosystem. I don’t care to chase what other people are doing. I’d prefer to create my own world.
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