“You have to love your own stuff for other people to fall in love with it too.”
Check out the interview with Mike Retnuh exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: How were you able to start your journey in the entertainment business? Where did this all start?
Mike Retnuh: Music started for me in my old bedroom back home. Just a laptop, some old speakers, a MIDI keyboard, and a Wii microphone. I recorded all of my early stuff with that toy mic until I got enough money for a real one. Then came some singles, then a beat tape I promoted by handing out free CD’s, and now my new commercial singles. I still have that toy microphone in the studio drawers somewhere.
What are some of the creative ways you use to promote your music?
My growth so far has been completely organic. As opposed to paying for views or doing a bunch of ad work, I’ve grown so far by word of mouth. I got a team behind me of fellow artists that love to help each other build, so we work hard at getting each other’s names and music out there.
What is the greatest challenge you face in today’s entertainment business? How do you overcome them?
The mass amounts of new artist’s every day. I can’t tell you how hard it is to break through the influx of new music out there. Really working at perfecting my sound has been what sets me apart. I don’t try and tell people how great or innovative my work is, I try to let the music speak for itself.
How is the music scene like in your hometown? What do you like about it and what don’t you like?
I love my city. Vancouver, Washington. That’s my home. Music in Vancouver is often overlooked. We border Portland, OR so our music generally gets lumped in with theirs. I love it though, we feed off of that energy and they do the same for us. Vancouver is great for music because I can get away from the city we border and really focus on what I do.
Where do you think the future of music is going to be? How do you feel artists can be more a part of it?
Music is only growing. If you look at any sort of media, whether its television, the internet, and of course radio, music is a driving force. Artists can really take advantage of this. There is no better time for your voice to be heard than right now. Staying active in your music can make bigger changes than you think. Stay active and stay hungry.
What advice can you give to other upcoming artists and musicians trying to achieve success?
Never compromise. If you go online right now and look up beats or raps, too many videos have tags like “so-and-so type beat.” Trying to sound like someone else can’t be your focus. Those artists got big because they’re genuine, and you should be too. Be yourself, focus on the music, and make art that you are proud of.
What inspires you to write your next song?
I don’t think I’ve ever truly hit writer’s block. There is always something to write about. For me that inspiration comes from my past and the world around me. Some days I can sit back and just listen to a beat I’m working on, and it’ll just bring up memories, bad or good, that just fit. Getting those feelings out as soon as possible is crucial.
What are the steps you take to make a song?
Most the time I’ll be in the studio working on beats. Sometimes I’ll be working on beats for me, sometimes on beats for other artists. When I hear a beat that I’m working on that really makes me feel something, I start writing. I then use the lyrical structure to develop what direction the instrumental will take, and try to make that feel as dynamic as possible.
What do you think makes a great song?
Emotion. If you write something that you don’t straight up go nuts for when you hear it, is it really worth making? The first time I played my songs “Shadows” and “Honey Make It Rain” I was probably dancing like crazy in my apartment. You have to love your own stuff for other people to fall in love with it too.
Where can we connect with you? Can you give us your social media links and where we can contact you?