I recently got the chance to catch up with hip hop artist Mike Willion & discuss independent artistry, the therapeutic power of music and his amazing entrepreneurial-ship and multiple businesses. Peep his story and gems for independent artists to cling to.
Interviewer: Who is Mike Willion?
Mike Willion: WILLION is honest, he’s direct…actually created from my former name Mike.Will? but I had to change it due to MikeWillMadeIt and his commercial success. Early I dropped a couple of mixtapes under Mike.Will? and then boom the MikeWillMadeIt wave came so I switched it up and recreated myself as an artsit and at first it was hard because all the locals know me by Mike Will as far as music, but I had a mission. The new name was actually curated from my infatuation with mafia movies, the Willion of course, it was like if I was in one of those movies what would be my name and role and that’s Mike Willion. He’s honest, a standup spiritual person at heart and won’t allow disrespect from anyone. He questions his abilities and is emotional and loving when it comes to his family, but Willion can calm a lion when it comes to music and business. He’s “smoove” and calculated. His music is his voice. Hell, his music is like his secret handgun in the movie knocking everyone off lol.
Interviewer: When did you discover you needed music to be a part of your life?
Mike Willion: When my pops left at 5 the only thing that me and my moms had that would have us forgetting our current struggle is music! Of course at 5 I didn’t know, but there were moments where I was like “I wanna do music”. It’s like the ultimate way of expression without acting or crying or showing emotions, you can put all that in song! When I realized it was therapeutic, I became attached to it at a young age, writing what I was going through then I started reciting and from there it caried on.
Interviewer: What is the meaning of 60k Clothing & 60ksmokes and how did you transform it into a brand?
Mike Willion 60k started from a song I created called 60,000 ft which means beyond fly. I thought of the idea on a plane headed back from Iraq when I asked a flight attendant whats the highest the plane can go
And she said 60k. The brand started out as show merchandise then instead of just printing t-shirts I decided to make it a official clothing brand by adding more stylistic pieces and styles because looking good is something I do everyday not just for a music video. I wanted to be comfortable in wearing my own brand and have others follow and wear it to. 60ksmokes was idea that formed from my passion of the cigar culture introduced by my father because I use too smoke weed heavy and he was trying to find me a substitute. After studying the culture and seeing how detailed and deep it is too smoking cigar. I really got into them and decided to invest in my passion I found a distributor and after 6 months up and running the company has been very successful.
Interviewer: What are 5 attributes/skills would place an artist on your top 10 list?
Mike Willion: Individualism, orginality, delivery, lyrical prowness, and charisma.
Interviewer: Conversely, what are 5 attributes that would place an artist at the very bottom of your list?
Mike Willion: Lol obviously the opposite of those things, like if you dont have that I’m not really interested.
Interviewer: What advice would you have to offer independent artists trying to build a name for themselves?
Mike Willion: When somebody says no don’t get discouraged, keep going. A lot of people settle because they don’t know how to accept rejection and take that as being “oh well, this not for me”. You might be at the the finish and don’t know it.
Interviewer: How can people connect with you and stay current with what you have in the works?
Mike Willion: You can connect with me by actually listening to the new project “Selective Hearing 2” and checking me out on my IG, Twitter, FB, and Snapchat. Check Out P Valley on Youtube & all my projects are on those and peep my websites www.60kclothing.net & 60ksmokes.com