ANDY MINEO'S BIO
Whether he’s on stage bringing an audience to its feet or off stage fielding interview questions with a potent combination of intellect and wit, it’s obvious Andy Mineo is a born communicator and hip hop music is his instrument.
“It is absolutely undeniable that hip hop is becoming the universal language,” Mineo says expressing an unbridled enthusiasm for his artistic vehicle. “It’s so influential because you are able to say so much in a short period of time. The essence of hip hop is the boldness of it so you’re able to be exactly who you are. You are able to say exactly what you want. You represent exactly what is deepest and dearest to you and people respond to that. They respond to that realness.”
A native of Syracuse, New York, Mineo grew up in a single parent home and was a troubled kid who was kicked out of public school because of his anger issues and aggressive tendencies. Sports and music became positive outlets for Andy’s excessive energy. “I was more involved in basketball and football until one of my friends and I just started rapping as a joke,” he remembers. “We used to buy singles because we couldn’t afford anything else. When you’re 10 years old and you’ve got two or three dollars, you buy the CD single instead of the whole album. The CD single would have instrumentals, so we would just write our own raps to the instrumental on the CD. That’s kind of where my love for it began. My buddy got a program for the computer and we were recording in my living room. I put together my first rap and I fell in love with it the moment I heard myself on the beat. I said, ‘Man, I want to do this forever!”
Mineo became a hard-working young entrepreneur, who recorded his own raps and started a studio in his house where he recorded other young hopefuls. “When I got to about 15 or 16, I got all the equipment I needed to not only record myself, but have my friends come over and I’d record them,” he says. “Other people got wind of that and said, ‘Hey I’ll come over and I’ll pay to let me record,’ so I started doing that. The business kept on evolving. I started making more money and bought more stuff, moved it into my basement and built a full studio with one of my friends, who was a carpenter. We created a little ghetto basement studio. That’s how I made my money all throughout high school.”
In college, Mineo met producer Alex Medina (Lecrae, Trip Lee) who encouraged the young artist to check out T.R.U.C.E., a faith-based performing arts group. Mineo notes on how the group showed him a new perspective, “I didn’t have to live the way I was living. I didn’t have to make the music the way I was making it…I got connected with people that showed me that I could do more with my life and my music.”
Mineo traveled with T.R.U.C.E. and began making a name for himself. Soon others were enlisting Mineo to add his considerable skills to their projects, with features on Tedashii’s Blacklight, Lecrae’s “Background,” and more.
“That was the first song we collaborated on and since then we started to build a relationship,” Mineo says of working with Lecrae. “He came to New York and we shot a music video for it. We started to realize that we both had a similar vision, a similar mission in what we wanted to do with our music. They were looking to sign a new artist and I just seemed to be the right fit so I signed with Reach and it’s been a heck of a journey ever since.”
After signing with Reach, Mineo released his debut album Heroes for Sale. “We make heroes out of a lot of things,” he says. “We make heroes out of people. We believe ourselves to be greater than we really are. We make ourselves look like heroes to other people. What I really wanted to do is show the brokenness of the heroes that we create.”
Heroes for Sale reverberates with bold messages and infectious beats. The first single, “AYO,” is a potent number that showcases Mineo’s unique skills. “It’s an anthem, a fun party song. It has a big memorable chorus,” he says. “It’s really just a call to say, “AYO!” We’re enjoying our lives. We’re enjoying our freedoms.’ We’re inviting people to come and see what this is all about.”
In recording Heroes for Sale, Mineo freely explored all of his musical influences and the result is a highly innovative album that covers a lot of musical territory. “We took a lot of chances on this album production-wise,” he says. “I’m pulling from different influences and merging them all together. I love classical music. I love hymns. I love heavy metal stuff and I love hip hop, so you’ll hear a little bit of those influences all merged and different things happening that you wouldn’t hear typically on a hip hop album.”
Following his debut release, Mineo raised the bar with his seven song EP, Never Land. The release moved over 25,900 units in the first week, landing the number two spot on the Rap charts, number six on the Digital charts, number two on Christian charts and number 13 on the Top 200.
Featuring MARZ, label mate KB, Marty (of Social Club) and Kam Parker, as well as, production from Grammy award winning producers Alex Medina, JR, and Joseph Prielozny, Never Land brought innovative lyrical content and energetic hip-hop beats. The stand-out track, “You Can’t Stop Me” garnered placement as Showtime’s title track for 2015’s boxing season and Mineo began to gain traction with appearances on Sway in the Morning, MTV’s Live Rapfix Cypher, Thisis50.com, and more. Never Land broke Mineo into new territory.
Coming off of the nationwide Anomaly Tour with Lecrae, Andy is gearing up for his next full-length album, expected to be his biggest release yet.
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