Mikey Vee is a Bay Area artist known for his catchy raps and charismatic delivery. While early in his career, he’s already made noise in the emerging Hip-Hop scene with tracks like “The Artist” and “FBI”. We had the pleasure of getting to know the Bay Area artist from his background to where he’s going with his music in the conversation below:
Tell us a little bit on who’s Mikey Vee and how did you fall into making music.
Michael Villanueva is a Filipino-American hip-hop artist, rapper, and producer from Daly City, CA. Michael started out writing poetry and doing open mics in college during the soundcloud days. After a short stint with Filipino rap group, Doyen, Michael rebranded as Mikey Vee and began releasing a slew of original and innovative music. Influenced by artists like Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye, Andre 3000, Pharrell, J Cole, Kendrick, Drake, Chance the Rapper, Smino, JID, and more, Mikey differentiates himself from the typical Bay Area sound with unique wordplay, impactful lyrics, catchy hooks, and versatility. With his upcoming album, Mikey Vee promises to solidify himself as a limitless talent with mastery of his craft.
For new potential listeners, how would you describe your sound and who you’re making music for?
Although I was born and raised in the Bay Area, my sound is very atypical of the average Bay Area sound. I gained most of my early influence from lyricists such as common, Jay-Z, Nas, and J. Cole, but I have learned to observe and adapt to the changing styles and landscape of hip hop today. I have always kept my ear to the ground and paid attention to the evolution of hip hop and have adapted my style to encompass effortless flows, catchy hooks, and memorable lyrics. Recently I have also learned to produce my own beats, further allowing my own sound to flourish. My style is extremely versatile and I’ve made everything from pop jingles to deep introspective ballads. My upcoming project is what I would consider, “A Baroque Classic” melding classical with modern hip hop.
What are some current challenges your’e facing so far coming up as an artist? What keeps you going to overcome these challenges?
One of the most difficult challenges as an artist is staying hungry and disciplined and fending off the ever-looming self doubt that often plagues real artists. Also, it can be difficult to time manage effectively when you are balancing several branches of your life. Being an artist can be tough financially as well. What keeps me going is the belief I have in my abilities and the discipline I have gained through my life. One of the mantras that has guided me is to “follow the fear” and “walk in your purpose”.
Being Filipino and from the Bay, how does that influence your sound or your approach to music?
I think being Filipino and from the Bay has made a huge impact on my music. First of all, I have found Filipinos to be my biggest supporters and I have come to appreciate the love of the community. Being from the Bay Area has fostered a lot of my love for music in general and pride in my art as people from the Bay Area share a common bond, often through music. However I also believe that it can be limiting and put me in a box, which is why I often try to seek out different ways of approaching the music. This of course could also be considered a direct influence of my environment – the call to innovate.
We saw you on one of Kato’s duets and have been one of the standout submissions in our opinion. What’s your take on social media as a jumpoff platform for artists? Essential? Competitive?
I think social media is a tool, but just like with any tool, it can be used both for good and “evil”. Social media can be a great way to express yourself and meet like-minded individuals. I think social media is an incredible platform for showcasing your talents and business, etc, but at the same time, it can distract you from what is really important like family and the music itself. It can also be easy to fall victim to comparison. I think any artist should learn to tread that line carefully.
What would you like the Mikey Vee music career to look like 6-8 years from now?
In a perfect world, I would like to be able to make a real living off of the music and tour the world. I would love to have a family someday, but I want to make sure I have no regrets before that time comes and so I want to go as far as I can without sacrificing the people I love.
Anything you’re excited about that you can share coming musically from Mikey Vee in the near future?
I am planning to drop my debut album (which my songs, “The Artist” and “The Syndics”) in January 2024! I’ve been working on it for a long time and I am confident that it will make an impact!
Shoutout to Mikey Vee on sharing his story and music with Traklife. As mentioned, there’s a lot more music and content on the way so stay tapped in to Mikey Vee’s social channels or keep it locked right here at Traklife. If you want to check out Mikey Vee, find him on his socials @mikeyveemusic and his music available on all streaming platforms.