Under The Influence: How Singer-Songwriter Mickey Shiloh Cultivates Her Authentic R&B Sound
Mickey Shiloh embodies the meaning of breaking glass ceilings. She is an artist determined to flourish as a singer and multi-platinum songwriter. Mickey Shiloh chips away at the writing process until she creates something thoroughly worthwhile. Hailing from San Fransisco, the artist grew up writing music to express her soul and in the process, others saw just how talented she was. Signing her first publishing deal at the age of 15, Mickey Shiloh has since written songs for the greats such as “Night” for Janet Jackson and “Don’t Keep Me Waiting” for Britney Spears. Yet, her discography doesn’t stop there. With a number of EPs and albums under her belt, Mickey Shiloh is giving Pop-infused R&B to loving fans. She has recently added her latest EP, “No Titles,” to her impressive catalog.
Featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30, Mickey Shiloh truly embraces the entrepreneurial path. Recently, she created her own label called BDRM Records in homage to her favorite place to create. Through her brainchild of a record label, Shiloh released her own musical offerings in “No Titles.” Honest tracks like “idk” and “better in my head” help the EP express a relatable emotional depth that any listener troubleshooting this the millennial age can appreciate. In this exclusive interview with Steereo, the artist shares an in-depth look at her latest EP, her technique for stellar songwriting, and her more than authentic sound.
Listen to “No Titles” By Mickey Shiloh
As an artist and songwriter, you’ve been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30. Can you share with us what got you into music and what keeps you motivated?
My dad was a rapper so I always say I got the music bug from him. He was in a group called BlackJack in the Bay Area and they had features from artists like Biggie and 2Pac. Kinda crazy! I started out with a dream of being a famous rapper one day, was writing my own raps at 7 or 8 years old. Then as I got older I transitioned into singing and songwriting, just a way for me to express whatever I was going through as a kid. I’m a huge advocate for mental health, so what keeps me going these days is knowing that my music is helping other people get through whatever struggles they are going through. It’s the best feeling to know you’re not alone.
You’ve written songs for the likes of Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, and The Game, has there been an unforgettable moment in your music career thus far?
I will never forget meeting Janet Jackson. She was so quiet and so sweet. I was so nervous standing next to her for our picture. There have been a lot of moments like that. Same when I met JLo! She was extremely down to Earth and funny. Just being in the presence of greatness is always a humbling experience. Working with LL Cool J in 2013 was another highlight in my career. A lot of “rappers” get a bad wrap but he was super professional and kind- immediately a big brother! It’s always a good feeling to meet celebrities that are humble.
You have such a smooth and unique sound, which artists and/or groups are major influences to your style? How have they impacted your music or career?
It took me a long time to find my own voice as an artist. Years. Transitioning from being a songwriter for so many different types of artists (where you have to sound different in every demo you record) can make it hard to know what you want to say and how you want to say it. Over the years my major influences have been Imogen Heap, Missy Elliot, Alicia Keys, Sia, Alanis Morissette, etc. Singers that are also songwriters. These women are able to connect with what they are singing about because they also took part in the writing process (or wrote it entirely themselves), and that is something I truly admire and try to emulate.
You recently released your EP “No Titles,” the songs seem chill and layback compared to a track like “Getaway.” What inspired you to create your EP?
My EPs and albums just seem to “happen.” There’s no methodology behind it, they always just come together somehow! “Getaway” was a track I did in September 2018 when Keys N Krates flew me out to Toronto to work with them. Our intention wasn’t even to necessarily release anything with me featured, we were just creating dope songs. “No Titles” honestly put itself together. I had been working on songs like “idk” and “better in my head” for months and months. Finally, I decided to sit down and finish them. Those stories are my life and I knew people would relate.
You don’t stray from sensuality or vulnerability in your music, such as your relatable song “idk,” can you share what the creative process was like writing to recording the song?
I started “idk” maybe 6 or 7 months before we released it. I record myself at home so I always start ideas and never finish. I actually forgot about that song until I was going through my hard drive and was like, “wait, this is crazy!” It was only a verse and a few layers of the hook. I just kept adding to it until it was complete. Then I had a few other songs with the producer, City of Dreams, that I decided to finish up and create the EP.
What was the overall process like creating “No Titles” and what do you want listeners to take away from listening to the EP?
The overall process took months to complete, but I didn’t know I was creating an EP until the very end. I could write and record an EP/album in a few hours (and have before) but this one just was slower because I didn’t even know the ultimate goal. Modern day relationships are so strange and “relationships” for young people are more like “situationships.” People don’t like to “label” their relationships and that was the sentiment of the EP, “No Titles.” I just want people to know they aren’t alone in their feelings.
Do you have a favorite lyric off your latest EP? If so, why and what’s the meaning behind it?
“I don’t even like you like that, I don’t even know why I text you back” – is the first line of “idk.” I was going through something at the moment when I recorded that, and it was the most accurate way to describe it. Very straight-forward. This guy that I wasn’t interested in at ALL was texting me and the only reason I was even responding was because I was drunk. We all know what happens when you’re drunk!
What more can we expect from you this year? Do you have any upcoming performances?
No performances scheduled that I know of but I have 3 more EPs on the way, sprinkled over the next few months. I’m also finishing an eBook to help my fellow creators make money from home. I’ve also just officially launched my label BDRM Records, so people can expect to be hearing a lot of new artist releases from my team.
Is there a word of advice you would give to artists working to grow their own music while also writing for other artists?
Be able to record yourself! Invest in a home studio set up if you don’t have one already. You will be able to work on your craft much more and ultimately save recording costs (studio time, etc). It is the single most important thing I could’ve done for my career as an artist and songwriter. I started recording myself when I was 12 but it is NEVER too late to learn. Especially now that there are tutorials for everything online! You can learn much faster than I did.
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself, career, or music?
No matter what it is that you want in life, stay persistent. There will always be ups and downs and rejection, but persistence and dedication will get you to where you want to go. It may even take you to places you never thought you’d reach, or places you didn’t even know you wanted to go.
Watch The Official Music Video for “We Ain’t Friends ft. Rowlan” by Mickey Shiloh