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Life & Work with Mixed Miyagi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mixed Miyagi. 

Hi Mixed, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Although music wasn’t my first passion, I ended up falling in love with it in elementary school. I started listening to Hip-Hop around 2nd grade and quickly became hooked. My favorite artists growing up were Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, DMX, and Eminem. From there, I began to branch out and found my way into the underground Hip-Hop scene which I was more a fan of. 

I remember writing my first rap in 6th grade (2010). I had no beat or specific topic. I just wanted to rhyme and do wordplay just like my idols did. Making songs came very natural to me because it allowed me to express myself in ways, I was never able to. The same way we can listen to an artist and relate/resonate with the song, I wanted to have that same impact on others. However, at the end of the day, I make music purely out of the passion for it. To me, Hip-Hop is art, expression, and therapy. 

I messed around with rapping and songwriting all through high school as well. During 11th grade (2015), my final project in AP US History required me to make a rap song about a certain topic in US History. I was given the topic “World War I”. I also shot a music video for extra credit points and the song is still on YouTube to this day. When I presented the song to my class, a lot of people gave me recognition for my talent and that’s when I gained the most confidence in my ability. 

That same year I had released many singles on SoundCloud. They were mainly for me to vent about things, but I had many listeners enjoy it. So, by the time I graduated most of my friends saw my passion and talent in Hip-Hop. Going into college, I had slowed down a lot. I rarely would release anything new. This was mainly because I was more focused on school and working. I also didn’t see myself being able to make a career out of it, so I went at my pace and still had fun with it. 

During my 3rd year in college (2019), I started recording videos/snippets of myself rapping and posting them on Instagram. I was getting a lot of good feedback which encouraged me to keep going. I was feeling really inspired and motivated at the time. I first started getting a lot of traction beginning of 2020. This is because I started incorporating Vietnamese into my music. I’ve wrote and rapped in Vietnamese before, but I never had the confidence to release it. When COVID-19 popped off, and all of the Asian hate crimes started. I told myself it was time to show out for my motherland and Asian people as a whole. 

After releasing videos of me rapping in Vietnamese I went viral quickly. I received millions of views across all social because of my appearance. But at the same time, I believe the Vietnamese people recognized my talent as well. So, I have majority Asian following. That moment is when I considered the true start of my music career because I got so many opportunities afterwards. I connected with many big artists in Vietnam as well as other talented individuals globally. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My music career has been pretty smooth. My personal life is a whole other matter. But I’ve received no troubles doing music. I’ve been able to fund everything entirely myself. I’m also my own manager. So, I handle my own songwriting, networking, promoting, and everything else. I have no problem not having a team because I enjoy making music from the bottom of my heart. This is my passion. So, in terms of obstacles, I only find trouble finding like-minded individuals. The music industry is really cutthroat. Most people are willing to step on the other person’s neck to get to the next level. It becomes more of a business than an art form. And I’m somebody that’s more focused on making good music than getting rich or famous. However, at the end of the day each artist is on their own journey so it’s not my place to judge. I just have different intentions and goals than most I feel like. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Regarding the music, I believe I am entirely unique. I have yet to find someone else that’s doing that I’m doing. Being half Nigerian and half Vietnamese, I’m able to perform in English as well as Vietnamese. With my look, I think I draw the interest of many people because I’m able to dip my foot in more communities and groups. For example, there are many mixed or blasian artists like myself, but they cannot speak their own language. Tyga is well-known artist that’s also mixed Vietnamese but has never done any sort of collaboration incorporating his roots. I’ve been called “unicorn” by people because I’m rare. 

I’m proud of the fact that I can do this because it comes from a place of honest self-expression. I’m very proud of my roots, so to be able to make music that more people can resonate/relate to makes me feel good. I feel like I’m a bridge, being able to connect my African to my Asian side and show people that you can do big things by just being yourself. My motivation is to represent Nigeria and Vietnam through Hip-Hop culture and to prove that no matter how different people are we can still show respect and understanding towards one another. 

Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I believe risk-taking is an absolute must. I feel like most successful people were willing to step out of the box and try things that others were too afraid to do. You have to go with your gut and disregard the opinions of others. Even if the whole world is against you if you believe you have a good idea you should pursue it. There is a saying, “no risk, no reward”. The question isn’t about if it’s a good idea or not. It’s about how bad you want to succeed. Failure is inevitable on the journey towards success. Failure, trials, and tribulations are just tests of your character and willpower. And it’s all about the struggle. The goal is to overcome all obstacles, and the feeling of satisfaction is indescribable. Struggle is the greatest motivator because that’s what keeps you hungry. Diamonds are only formed under intense heat and pressure. By taking risks, you prove to the world and yourself that you are unbreakable. 

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Image Credits
Jack Vu
Tuan Huynh
Nicalyn Perez

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