27 June 2011
The Rhyme Perspective: Mina Leon
First and foremost, who is Mina Leon?
I could use this question to hype myself up and say something extremely profound, but unfortunately, there's nothing more to me than just being someone who loves music, believes it has power, and that the power should be used for good. "Good" meaning to tell the truth about anything and everything, of course.
How long have you been singing and who were your idols growing up?
I've been singing for as long as I can remember but I wasn't really serious about it until I was about 13. I joined choir when I was 10 and it helped me learn how to control my voice, breathe, and most importantly, stay on pitch. As far as my idols, there were so many! But the ones that stick out most in my mind are Ella Fitzgerald, Prince, George Michael, Madonna, and Jem from Jem and the Holograms. Yeah I said it...I WANTED to BE her so badly as a child.
How did your upbringing (being reared in an Algerian household) influence your inclination towards music (most notably singing)?
To be honest, music was everywhere in my childhood. My parents always had music playing whether it was at home, in the car, or my mom was singing it herself while she made dinner. So I was always around it and I think I somehow got infected by it.
Your favorite song of all-time is?
Hands down, "Hallelujah", originally written and sung by Leonard Cohen but Jeff Buckley's version is what made me fall in love with it. I listen to that song everyday.
I remember your singing talents from the past when we performed at the same venues and you were apart of Jade Avenue Project. When did Jade Avenue Project originate and do you still communicate with Tenax?
Jade Avenue started as something between two best friends. Tenax and I swore we heard things in music that others didn't, so we decided to make our own music that pushed the envelope a bit. Life led us in two separate directions though. She's now living in Florida making music under her new alias Bonni Nix, and we still keep in touch. I will always love that girl and I know she'll always love me no matter what happens. We talk every chance we get.
Recently you released a track with Tese Fev called "G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time)" from the Soul Danger Series. What is the concept of the series and how did you hook up with Tese Fev?
I linked up with Tese before I even knew Tese. Her song "I Don't Need" was originally a track I recorded when I was in the States for Born Unique. Somehow, it ended up being given to her. I listened to some of her stuff and was like, "Wow...this chick is AMAZING. I HAVE to work with her." So technically, we collaborated before we even started corresponding online. With "Cold World" and "Extraordinary" coming along so quickly thereafter, we just felt a really strong musical chemistry. So when she mentioned doing a whole project together, I was 100% down; hence Soul Danger. The concept is simple, really. We just want to make great music that's honest, real, and creative. We are not afraid to talk about anything a human being may experience. And that's what makes it beautiful.
Describe your working relationship with Tef Wesley and St. Mic...
Oh man, you touched a sensitive spot. Tef and Mic are my brothers. We all share a mother, and her name is Music. It's hard to find people out there who are artists themselves yet work for you as they would for their own careers. We all want each other to succeed both together and separately as artists so there is never ulterior motives. Our working relationship is based on a mutual respect for the craft we each possess. Great music just gets created from there. I love those dudes.
Running Red Lights will be released...
Honestly, I still don't have an exact date for release but it will DEF be this year and DEF be very soon :) The details are being ironed out at the moment.
What are you currently working on music wise outside of Running Red Lights?
Besides Running Red Lights and Soul Danger, I am writing for my next album which I haven't officially named yet. Besides my own music, I am ALWAYS writing or singing features for other artists.
What is your favorite song to date that you have been apart of and why?
Wow, this one's a hard one. Honestly, my favorite has to be one I just did recently for Tef Wesley and Grussle's Pens and Needles album. Since it's not released, I won't disclose the title. But it's my favorite because I love what we're talking about on that record. It's just how I feel about everything right now.
You are now located in Japan and I know that the Internet has allowed you to continue to collaborate with artists here in the States. Do you have any plans to collaborate with any Japanese artists soon?
As a matter of fact, I do. I have worked with other American artists signed to Japanese labels but I REALLY want to collaborate with a Japanese artist. The challenge has been finding the right one with the right song. But that day will come, I'm sure of it.
What do you miss the most about living in the States?
I miss being near family and friends, I miss my mom's home-cooking, and Sonic Cranberry Limeades.
Your favorite cuisine is?
It used to be Italian until I came out here. Now it's definitely Asian: Korean, Thai, Japanese... I love it all.
How can people get in contact with you?
The easiest way would be through email or Twitter. I'm pretty active on both so I'm always reachable. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also be reached on my Website.
Any Final Thoughts?
Hmmm...final thoughts.... well, the only thing I can think to say is thank you to everyone who is a part of my life, whether it's through music or not. My family, friends, and fans are the reasons why I do what I do, and why I love doing it so much. So a huge thank you to ALL of them for supporting me and sticking by me. I promise I will do my best everyday to make all of you proud. :)
Mina Leon - Fly (Prod by Certified) by Certified_Music