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Interview: Andy Mineo

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Interview: Andy Mineo

Nathan Armstrong

This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to speak with hip-hop artist Andy Mineo and talk to him about his upcoming show in Memphis, his new album “Uncomfortable,” and even a little bit of March Madness. Mineo is an established artist from Syracuse, New York, who is currently signed to Reach Records, an independent label specializing in Christian hip-hop. Much of his success has come from performing with friend and well-known rapper, Lecrae. But recently, Mineo created his own niche in the music world, making a name for himself with the help of “Uncomfortable.” 

Q: Where you at right now?

A: Right now I’m in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the first show. Getting our stage set up, excited for the first night.

Q: So “Uncomfortable” is the name of your tour and latest album, can you talk a bit about the reason for the title?

A: Just a real place I am in my life, especially as I was creating that album. I was coming out of a time of idealism. As you get older, you start to see how much more complex life is and how much more challenging it can be. It’s stretching, it’s painful, it’s uncomfortable, and I just want to encourage people to press into those uncomfortable moments instead of run away from them, because they grow you and change you. That whole album just discusses some of the tensions and frustrations and anxieties. I really think it’s something that everyone can relate to.

Q: Seems like this album sounds different than your last and that you’re molding your own sound. Are there any influences you can cite that helped shape your sound?

A: I think my sound is still changing. I’m such an eclectic artist and person and I like so much stuff that it is hard to just nail down one thing. In some ways my creativity can be my strength and my weakness. I think that “Uncomfortable” is a stepping stone and a challenge for me to make some other things rather than what was expected from me. And I think on the next project we’ll see more change and more growth. It’s the beauty of it, I don’t feel any pressure to be anything that I’m not.

Q: So any inspirations?

A: I’m inspired by people who really think outside of the box. Who try to create stuff not with the mindset to be popular, but who are pursuing after a unique sound.

Q: Any Memphis artists that you’re influenced by?

A: I bet you I am, I just don’t know that they’re from Memphis (laughter). There’s just so much rich music history in Memphis that I would have to say I’m definitely influenced.

Q: Has your music always been built to inspire?

A: I think my content has changed with me as I’ve changed as a person. So when I was 14 years old, they reflected a lot of what I valued at that time. Where I am emotionally, physically, spiritually evolves as I change as a person. But I think that I’ve always had a place in my creativity that says, “I want to use my voice as something.” I want it to mean something, and I really enjoy the idea of helping people have meaningful relationships.

Q: Favorite song on the record?

A: Probably Hear My Heart, it’s an apology song to my sister Grace who was deaf and I never learned sign language growing up. So the music video for the song will be completely in sign language and it’s getting ready to be released soon.

Q: What can we expect at your show April 16?

A: I think you can expect a really well put together show. I’ve been touring a few years and this is my first headliner. I’ve really gotten to dump some good resources into making it a very memorable night. This won’t be something where you show up and there’s 15 guys on stage screaming in the microphones, this will be a very well thought out and beautifully crafted live show. Which is what I’m all about, giving people experiences that they can remember. From my album packaging, to my listening parties, to me still calling my fans—it’s all built on who I am. I’m also bringing out Propoganda, Gawvi, Wordsplayed, to help make the night memorable.

Q: One more thing, did you fill out a bracket this year?

A: The only thing I fill out every year is Syracuse all the way and that’s it. Originally from Syracuse so I’ve got to root for them.

Q: That’s how I am with the Tigers but it didn’t work out this year, maybe next year.

A: (Laughter) Maybe next year man, we’ll see.

Come see Andy's show in Memphis at New Daisy Theater on April 16th. 

- @StonePannell