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Rated Next: MIKExANGEL

Trey Songz’ protegé talks early beginnings, inspirations and new music.

MIKExANGEL is among the new wave of R&B acts that is making a lot of noise right now.

Born in Petersburg, VA and raised in Richmond, MIKExANGEL started singing at a young age. He was initially insecure about the sound of his voice. However, his supportive family gave him the encouragement he needed to keep going. He eventually joined his church choir where was able to sharpen his skills. His airy, melodic voice made him stand out. Church deacons would compliment him, telling him he had a “voice like an angel.” The feedback about his angelic voice would eventually inspire his stage name.

“They used to always tell me that I had a different type of control with my voice, I could control my voice better than a lot of people,” says MIKExANGEL. “I used to just keep that in mind. It always reminded me that I had a gift.”

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Like many singers, MIKExANGEL tried the whole R&B group thing in high school — it didn’t work. While he attended Virginia State University, a historically black college located in his birthplace, MIKExANGEL utilized social media to help build his brand. He would perform covers on YouTube of popular singers such as Trey Songz, Drake and Jhene Aiko.

It’s funny how life works and how things come full circle. Aside from his voice, MIKExANGEL had a hidden talent — songwriting. His producers would plug his name in circles they were in, which eventually landed him an opportunity with Trey Songz — an artist from the same town as him and an artist he was covering on YouTube. He ended up signing to Trey Songz’ team as a songwriter. He contributed to Trigga’s mixtape Intermission I & II, where he co-wrote songs and sung on reference tracks. Their working relationship evolved into something greater. Trey saw something in MIKExANGEL and became his mentor.

Trey introduced MIKExANGEL on his Snapchat when he shared a snippet Mike’s song “Nothing 2 Something.” Overwhelmed with positive feedback from fans, Trey knew he was stepping in the right direction.

MIKExANGEL joined Trey on his Tremaine: The Tour this past spring, where he was able to formally introduce himself to Trey’s fans as his protege. The tour also put momentum behind MIKExANGEL’s debut project, Nothin 2 Somethin, which released in June.

In our interview with MIKExANGEL, he talks about working with Trey Songz, being influenced by other genres, his mixtape and more.

RATED R&B: Although you’re still early in your career, how do you feel like you’ve evolved since you first started doing music?

MIKExANGEL: I feel like I’m making music for a purpose now — not just for me but to inspire others. I’m also influenced by all music now not just one genre.

RATED R&B: How did you end up working with Trey Songz and becoming his protege? What lessons has he taught you thus far?

MIKExANGEL: I met Trey at a studio in Virginia through my manager Mu. He connected us and showed him some of my work; shortly after we built our own chemistry and started collaborating together. I always believed in myself and wanted to be an artist as well as a songwriter; however a lot of people labeled me as only a songwriter. But Trey and Mu saw my vision but never promised me anything. I just strived to show my worth and my value and never stopped creating.

RATED R&B: Virginia has birthed some very popular artists like Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Missy Elliott, D’Angelo, Pharrell and the list goes on. Has being a Virginia native have any influence on your music?

MIKExANGEL: Honestly, Virginia made me who I am…just growing up seeing these artists from the same area blow up and become huge stars made me feel like I could do the same. I draw inspiration from all of those artist because they’ve made their own lane and are still considered the pioneers in the industry.

RATED R&B: Has any other genre of music influenced your sound?

MIKExANGEL: I definitely get influenced by a lot of music. I try to listen to a new song from a different genre every day. One thing about me is I want to explore and experiment genres as I grow. I never want to put myself in a box or classify myself as just an R&B artist. I draw inspiration from old and new music. I enjoy MGMT, Elton John, John Mayer, Francis and the Lights, Ed Sheeran…the list goes on.

RATED R&B: Your mixtape Nothin 2 Somethin is out now. What do you hope fans take away from this project?

MIKExANGEL: I want my supporters to know I didn’t just make this project overnight. It was a process of a lot of long nights, relationships, tears, heartbreaks and life experiences. I want them to know this isn’t it for me. This is only the beginning. I feel like everything I went through molded me and there’s a lot more music on the way.

RATED R&B: At one point, you weren’t comfortable with the sound of your voice. At one point did you learn to love your gift?

MIKExANGEL: I really started embracing my voice when I got to high school and college. I joined every choir I could and learned a lot of techniques along the way. I think I really found my sound when I purchased my own equipment and stopped going to big studios.

RATED R&B: Is there anything else you have coming up that you would like to discuss?

MIKExANGEL: Really, just a lot promotion for my project NOTHIN2SOMETHIN that’s available everywhere and be on the lookout for touring announcements!

Stream Nothin 2 Something below and follow MIKExANGEL on Instagram @MIKExANGEL.

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