MikeyyAustin & The Happy Medium
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MikeyyAustin & The Happy Medium

Lansing, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | SELF

Lansing, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Hip Hop Soul




"City Pulse"

Imagine it’s noon on a weekday. Lunch hour. Finding a parking spot in downtown Lansing is nearly impossible. In the rush, people from all walks of life briefly emerge from their workplaces to hurriedly grab food before scurrying back to work.

For an avid people-watcher like 19-year-old rapper and Lansing resident Michael Austin, who performs as Mikeyy Austin, it’s a perfect situation.

“I was driving through downtown during that time, and I wanted to slow myself down. I wanted to look at people,” Austin said. “You see everybody. Some with suits, kind of consumed with their work life, and less fortunate people too.”
At that moment, inspiration hit.

“What if my windows were tinted, but so that I don’t see people through their suits or their lack of clothing? So that everyone looks the same,” Austin said. “What would it be like if it was our motto as people, to tint our eyes, to see people not as what their outward appearance might show but as a person?”

From this jolt of creativity, Austin created his first mixtape, “T I N T E D,” to be released July 11. The focus of the mixtape is spirituality and self-discovery, with themes that delve into culture and art as a whole. While this is his first release, Austin has been performing since he was young.

“I started probably when I was four or five,” Austin said. “My mom made me perform in front of the church. A lot of them were songs that she wrote, so that kind of got me into it as a kid.”

Austin is hoping to tap into those gospel roots to give his mixtape a unique flavor.

“A lot of times as a rapper, we kind of get caught up in ‘write two verses, rap your two verses, and then do a hook and call it a song,’” he said. “I’m challenging myself to kind of get back to my roots and really just have fun with the music and create.”

Austin is still a little surprised that “T I N T E D” ever became a reality. The mixtape started as a hobby with his roommate in their dorm room at Great Lakes Christian College.

“We set the whole dorm room up into a studio, and all the songs were recorded there,” Austin said. “We were making music for ourselves, just having fun. We sent it to our friends, and the response encouraged us to make it.”

Austin took the tracks to REO Town Recording for professional mixing and mastering. He’s giving the public a chance to get a sneak peek at the mixtape Saturday with a listening party hosted by All of the Above hip hop academy at Riverview Church’s REO Town venue. The event also includes live performances and music from DJ Meftah.

“T I N T E D” comes after a about a year in Austin’s life when he stepped away from music entirely. He had been part of a band, but the group never made an album and his involvement tapered off. With this release though, Austin is jumping back into the game. He plans to go on tour with the band who helped record his music, and he’s getting reacquainted with the scene.

“With ‘T I N T E D,’ this is just getting our feet wet. We’re putting something out there to make something bigger,” Austin said. “We are looking to make a big splash.” - Eve Kursachki

"City Pulse"

Local hip-hop artist Mikeyy Austin releases a Harlem Renaissance-themed video for his track, “ErykahBadu,” later this month.
Photo by Elzie Cannon/LACED
Local hip-hop artist Mikeyy Austin dropped “T I N T E D,” his debut solo project, earlier this year. The digital-only EP got a boost in August when Grammy-winning neo-soul artist Erykah Badu shared one of its tracks in a public post on her personal Facebook page.
The track that got her attention? “ErykahBadu,” a nod to the singer and her message, which often deals with topics like institutional racism and inner city life.

“Tryin’ to get back to my roots. In my car and I’m listening to Erykah Badu,” Austin sings. “It can’t all be so easy, so what about you?”

Austin — real name Michael Austin — recently completed a music video for the song, which will be released Nov. 11. He’s hoping Badu will check out the video as well.

“We’re hoping that she will see it and share it like she did with the original song,” Austin said. “That’s the goal.”

Austin planned to make at least one music video for “T I N T E D” but wasn’t sure which song he wanted to start with.

“I put the project out and wanted to let the listeners determine which song they wanted a music video for,” Austin said. “Whichever song they shared the most would be the one.”

When Badu posted the song, that sealed the deal.

“Once she shared the song, I knew for sure,” Austin said.

The music video, which features a Harlem Renaissance theme, was directed by Jared Milburn, a graduate of Michigan State University’s media arts and technology program. It was shot at The Avenue Café on Michigan Avenue.

“We had about 20 or 30 people, all dressed up in 1920s Harlem Renaissance attire,” Austin said. “The Avenue was really open to letting us use the space. They loved the idea.”

Austin, 20, is fascinated by the explosion of African-American culture that came from the Harlem Renaissance. He compares it to the birth of hip hop in New York in the early 1980s.

“The song talks about going back to the roots — the roots of music, back when music was pure, and there were no hidden agendas,” Austin said. “People made music just for the love of it.”

He also sees a parallel, albeit on a smaller scale, in the resurgence of Lansing’s REO Town. Austin is a member of All of the Above, a community-focused hip-hop collective that recently set up a classroom and recording studio in the district.

“REO Town is our headquarters,” he said. “I’m there pretty much every day, writing or working on something. That’s home for all of us.”

Austin is working on his debut album, which he plans to release this spring.

“I started my full-length album in April, before ‘T I N T E D’ even came out,” he said. “I’m putting the finishing touches on that, but it won’t be released until March or April. We want to give it four or five months to plan out the marketing so everything is executed perfectly.”

For the upcoming album, Austin worked with several local musicians, including singer/songwriter Taylor Taylor, hip-hop artist James Gardin, drummer Austin Tipton Jr., Detroit artist Stoop Lee and producer Shaquille Brown, aka PianoBoy.

“It’s definitely a community feel,” Austin said. “I believe that collaborations lead to the best kind of creativity. I love bouncing ideas off people. Community is everything to me.”

And while “T I N T E D” was his first solo effort, Austin sees it as a blueprint for future projects. The driving idea behind the EP is tinting one’s vision, metaphorically, to see the world in a different light.

“My whole goal in music is to shift people’s perception, how they look at things,” he said. “That’s always going to be the backdrop of anything that I put out.”

Austin has a day job to pay the bills, but he hopes the album will open up opportunities to make a career out of music.

“I would like to focus on music and not have to worry about work,” he said. “What I’m working on right now, I think it has the potential to do that.”

While he realizes that a full-time music career may mean a move away from Lansing, he’s hoping to stay in the area. And if he has to move, he expects that he’ll often come back to visit.

“I’m always going to give back to Lansing,” he said. “It’s all about community for me.” - EVE KUCHARSKI

"Hope Love Media"

It is an absolute pleasure to introduce you to MikeyyAustin.

One: His voice.

I think the sincerity in his voice comes through in every single word that comes out of his mouth and shows up on the track. Even though you didn't experience what he did through his eyes, you feel it. You know it's real.

Two: He's a storyteller.

Painting a picture with his lyrics so that when you listen you can almost relive the moments he speaks about with him. The first time I listened I got caught up. I hung on every word wanting to hear what he was going to say next.

Three: He's Humble

It comes across so easily in his music and when you read his description of "T I N T E D"
The mixtape tells a story of discovery of one’s self as it deals with culture, art, and spirituality.
You get a snapshot of the thought process that went into his project.

Well, you know me, I had to find out more about MikeyyAustin so I can share it with everyone else not just the music, but the man behind it.
Photo Courtesy of MikeyyAustin (www.instagram.com/mikeyyaustin)
Photo Courtesy of MikeyyAustin (www.instagram.com/mikeyyaustin)



What made you want to be a songwriter/rapper?

I started performing when I was 5 years-old. My mom would write raps for my brother and I, and then we would perform them. As I got older, I began to appreciate her for putting me in front of crowds at a young age. By the time I turned 13, I began to teach myself how to play the piano. My escape from school, family, and problems in my neighborhood was to play the piano, and write songs about what was going on. Today, writing is still an escape for me.

Who are your musical influences?

I have many musical influences that span from different genres. As a 'former' musician, The Roots have always inspired me. The way they incorporated instrumentation, different genres, while embodying the culture of hip-hop drew me in. Along with The Roots, Nas, Oddisee, and Outkast are some of my favorites. When I listen to some of the old classics, I am inspired by The Gap Band, Stevie Wonder(amazing song writer), Michael Jackson, and Earth Wind and Fire. And with my family coming from a strong faith background, i grew up listening to Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond.

Could you describe your sound and how you chose it?

My sound is a direct reflection of playing piano and guitar. I just recently began rapping over instrumentals. Before, i would create sounds on the piano or guitar, or while playing with my musician friends, and writing to it. So now i try to incorporate the soulful/ neo-soul/gospel sound that has always influenced me, while staying true to the hip-hop roots.

How important is self discovery and spirituality to you and how has that influenced you writing/music?

So i just turned 20 a few weeks ago. I am the youngest in the circle of artist that i hang out with. The Hip Hop Creative group that i roll with, (All of the Above Creative), is full of seasoned artist that have done everything i aim to do. These people include names like Ozay Moore, James Gardin, Sareem Poems, and Jahshua Smith. While being around them, I've noticed that a lot of artist my age are still trying to find themselves. And that's perfectly normal. But before i started recording, i wanted to be rooted in who i am, so that my music has it's own identity, and not riding the trendy wave. And i try to tell that story in my projects as well. T I N T E D begins with me reflecting on my own personal experiences. Once i realize that those moments made me who i am, then i am able to speak about issues that plague people that come from backgrounds similar to mine.
Today, writing is still an escape for me.
The project is also very reflective of all the things that have gotten you to where you are, was that a major focus when creating the story of Tinted?

The major focus is somewhat shared in the song, Live from the Concrete. The idea that no matter what conditions you come from, you are still able to bloom and be successful. Other than that, when i began writing, i wanted to challenge perspectives, with the idea of people looking at their every day lives through a 'T I N T E D' lens.

Why the name "T I N T E D"? What does it mean to you?

The title came from me driving around the downtown area in Lansing, MI, on a summer afternoon. It was right around the lunch hour. If you go downtown during this time, you will see a little bit of every individual. You see the city workers, in their suits and brief cases, the parents, the 'just getting by', the homeless, etc. After a while of just people watching, I began to ask myself "what makes each person different". A lot of the answers i came up with was based on achievement ranks, derived from western traditional importance. Then I began to question why i unconsciously treat others differently based off of this tradition. Ex: If it's a white man has a suit on, he probably went to college, so talk to him better than you would talk to a pan-handler. While all of these thoughts flooded my mind while in my car, I wondered, 'what if our reality wasn't so divided by these traditional thoughts'. I had the idea of tinting my windshields so dark, that i didn't see a pan-handler, or drug addict. But i saw kings and queens.

I knew that if i could challenge the way i looked at people, i can challenge my perspective of every day things. And that's why the project starts off with 'Skating By'. Because life sucks sometimes. Sometimes it feels like we're just skating by, or just trying to survive. But being able to challenge your perspective to not dwell on the bad, but be grateful for what may seem small. It starts with simply saying, "I'm happy to be alive."

How mush has recent events affected you and your music?

I always try to stay aware of whats happening in my community. Hip-hop began as a platform to speak about bigger issues. Whether that police brutality, inequalities, death, lack of opportunities, etc. By making music, i can express my frustrations while bringing the news to my people that may be uninformed.
But being able to challenge your perspective to not dwell on the bad, but be grateful for what may seem small. It starts with simply saying, “I’m happy to be alive.”
What's next for you? What do you want to do with your music?

I am currently working on my first full length album. It should be done in November, but i am not sure when it will be released. Other than that, just performing. Writing is an escape for me, but performing is home for me. I feel so light and carefree when im on stage. In some moments, the reason i write and record is so i can be on the stage. So i plan to continue to have fun performing as well.
Photo Courtesy of MikeyyAustin (www.instagram.com/mikeyyaustin)
Photo Courtesy of MikeyyAustin (www.instagram.com/mikeyyaustin)
Anything else?

Another interesting fact is that Erykah Badu shared my song, ErykahBadu, on her person facebook page and followed me on soundcloud. So i'm one of the 8 people she follows! Lol. - Sabra Wrice

"Dead End Hip Hop"

DEHH Premiere: Mikeyy Austin- “Elevate” featuring Alfred Singleton
March 30, 2017 by Michael Stover Leave a Comment


Lansing, Michigan artist Mikeyy Austin is getting set to release one of my most anticipated releases of the year in “L I F T E D”. As the name implies Austin brings much needed positivity to the genre and the world in these dark times and today I have the first single from the album in “Elevate”. With Ess Be & Young Heat collaborating on the beat, the positive vibes flow and the heavenly vocals from Alfred Singleton & Taylor Taylor already make this song a hit.

However the star of the show is Mikeyy Austin with his sharp lyricism and again just adding to the positive vibe instilled by the sounds around him. Here’s what Mikeyy Austin had to say about the track: “The idea of being “lifted” comes from the desire to up(lift) others. I believe we’re put on earth to uplift those around us with the tools and resources we hold. Elevate is a song that started off as a self-encouraging anthem. Wanting to go elevate higher than the current positions I hold now, whether in my craft or in everyday life. I know that this is just the stepping stone – ‘one time for the come up'”!

You can check out “Elevate” below. Keep it locked it here because “L I F T E D” drops May 19th. - Michael Stover


Some new things are happening in Reo Town.

Lansing rapper Mikeyy Austin is one of the minds behind Reo Town Sessions, a monthly event that highlights local artists and connects them to the community.

Listen Listening...4:01 Local rappers Mikeyy Austin, Sareem Poems, and Ozay Moore discuss the Black Arts Matter Celebration.

One of those events is tonight, The Black Arts Matter Celebration. It’s at The Robin Theater, and Austin says it’s going to have art of all kinds.

“You're gonna see dance, you're gonna see poetry, you're gonna see music, hip-hop and then there's gonna be a ton of urban photography from our last photo gallery that we had this past Saturday, it’ll be hung up all around the Robin Theater. There's also gonna be an art vendor there and she does African art, she does jewelry, custom clothing, there's gonna be a ton there.”

The event is a celebration of black art of the past, present, and future. The “future” part is students.

“We're raising $5,000 for five Lansing school district students that are continuing their education in the arts, it's part of our Arts Matters scholarships. So all the admission proceeds and donation proceeds will go towards that scholarship,” Austin says.

There’s a long list of performers at the celebration, including Mikeyy Austin and his band. Sareem Poems is another local rapper who will perform.

He moved to Lansing from Long Beach, California. He says he wants to participate in the event to help show people what a vibrant scene there is here.

“I think just being a part of making people aware that the art exists here in Lansing, it's local... you know there's a lot of people who get a chance to see a lot of things and they're not excited about what's going on here because they don't think that it's on the same caliber or it's as good. I think this night will show people that there's talent here that rivals what they think is great and there's also a scene they can become a part of if they're artists themselves.”

Ozay Moore will also be performing at the event. Originally from Seattle, Moore is the director of All of the Above Hip Hop Academy in REO Town. He was named one of the top 20 Christian rappers by hip-hop website Rapzilla.

Moore says for him, it’s an honor to be a part of celebrating black art here in Lansing.

“I think when we look backwards and we look to the past we see a lot of popular culture has its roots in black tradition, black music, black art, and for that to not be an intimidating thing to our multi-cultural community, for folks of all ethnicities to come out and celebrate that, I think that's a beautiful thing.To acknowledge where it's coming from but also its ripple effect in society, that's huge to me.” - Katie Cook


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


MikeyyAustin is a 20 year-old hip-hop/soul artist and musician from Lansing, Michigan. His sound is reminiscent of the Soulaquerian era, combining hip-hop, soul, and live instrumentation. His music tells the story of discovery of ones-self, while dealing with culture, art, and community. 
Mikeyy is backed by his band, The Happy Medium. Members include:
Tyler Jenson (Bass Guitar)
Austin Tipton (Keys)
Lead Guitar (Joey Lindstorm)
Drums (Deon Gladney)
Sax (Alan Sloan)
MikeyyAustin & The Happy Medium has been able to headline shows and participate in festivals since combining forces in 2016. Each live performance is an electric and memorable experience.

Band Members