You can sense the energy of the beach in Mike Mineo's catchy tunes. The native Floridian weaves rhythm and words to create fresh jams. His new album, Big Big Star, captures the kinetic force of his live shows but with a brand new electronic twist.
The CD release party for Big Big Star will take over Respectable Street's Thursday night dance party Flaunt. Mineo hasn't played West Palm Beach in a while, so naturally, the natives are restlessly awaiting the show. We chatted with the artist about his take on the American Idol audition process and the secret word you can whisper in his ear on Thursday to score a free copy of the new album.
New Times: Your last album, Beach Season, had a distinct chilled out, South Florida vibe. The new album, Big Big Star, steers more in a synth-y, experimental direction. What was your inspiration when writing these songs?
Mike Mineo: I was sick of dealing with musicians, so I experimented with what I could create on my own through production. But now I'm sick of myself, so I'm glad to be recreating this album live with my band of friends.
There are lots of musicians in South Florida, but you are one of the few considered a professional musician, in the sense that playing shows is your full time job. A full time job with wacky hours. Does it seem like your nights are your days, like the weekends are your work week? How do you deal with that?
My weekend is Monday and Tuesday, my days consist of folding laundry and hitting record while everyone I know is busy at work. My weekly night gigs are a constant challenge, to be present in realizing that I could be influencing someone's mood in a very positive way. And then the moment I need to talk to a friend it's usually at 4 a.m. and everyone I know is a sleep.
If you HAD to pick a "real" job, what would you want to do?
You saying my job ain't real!?
You are one of the only local Palm Beach County musicians with your own Pandora station. How did you do that?
I kept emailing a bunch of humiliating nude pics of myself along with my music, luckily they felt bad enough for me and kindly put up a few of my songs.
You gave us all a sense of pride when you made it to Hollywood on American Idol last season. Are you thinking about making another run at a singing competition show?
The whole audition was on a "What the hell, why not?" basis. My ex-girlfriend's mom offered to pay for my ticket to fly out for the first audition. I learned and grew from the experience as a vocalist and saw things I didn't want for myself as an artist. My career is not a bragging right of pride for someone that used to know of me before I made it big off a hyped television production. My career and happiness is a new song written from my heart that I know doesn't have to appeal to an audience of 12-year-old girls. I will not go that route again, but I was super grateful for all the support I received from friends during the whole shenanigan.
The video and message behind the title track, "Big Big Star," imply there are more opportunities for your musical career outside of South Florida, yet you are still here. Do you have plans of spreading your wings and flying North, or will South Florida always be your home?
Oh, I'm a jokester, just watch the video for that song. That song is more or less poking fun at the people that tell you you need to be here or there to be a success. Although at times, I can't help to think more people would hear my music if I moved to NYC or something, but I love the beach and weather too much to leave my home. I've accepted Florida as my home and I will stay here. But I'm probably leaving in a month.
It's been a while since you played in WPB. What about Respectable Street made you want to have your CD release party there?
The hipster chicks. Yeah... Those things got it going on.
How will the CD release party be different that your other shows?
Well, lately I've been playing solo at a lot of swanky hotels that don't let me drink. At the CD release, I'll be with my awesome band (Darin Scott on drums, Bill Muter on bass, Devon Heinrichs on sax) and I'll probably be drunk. And if you come up to me and whisper "nipple clips" in my ear, I will give you a free copy of the new album.
The Big Big Star CD release party at 11 p.m., Thursday, August 8, at Respectable Street Cafe, 518 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
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