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Mike Brown

Mike Brown

New Voices '23

Tell us about yourself:

I am a Black Queer multi-hyphenated artist. I produce podcasts, and I am a musician, public speaker, educator, author, and thought leader. I am originally from Houston, TX, and spent the past 13 years in Los Angeles pursuing my dreams. My journey has led me to currently being a nomad. I have been creating audio since I was in 3rd grade when my parents bought me my first tape recorder. I have a bachelor’s degree in Audio Production from The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles that equipped me for my journey in podcasting. I started a podcast because therapy was too expensive for me. This safe space that I created for myself taught me how to be an audio storyteller and created many opportunities far beyond my imagination. I never knew that sharing my journey of inviting people into my sexuality would lead to a Spotify residency and a relationship with GLAAD where I have conversations rooted in the growth of the Black Queer community. All of my art is sourced as a way for me to heal myself and help others heal. Whether you read my books, listen to my podcast, or eat from my ceramic houseware (those are coming soon). You will see that the common thread that weaves all of these titles that I hold together are, healing, vulnerability, authenticity, and inspiration.

A piece of yours or project (in any medium) that you'd like to share.

There are two projects that I would like to share and that I am most proud of. My podcast, The Art of Letting Go, and my most recent musical EP called, Desert Thoughts, which releases today (October 11). I created Desert Thoughts during the beginning of my nomadic journey and it felt therapeutic to creatively express the tools that have been supporting me in my journey.

What draws you to storytelling?

I am drawn to storytelling because I feel that the stories I needed when I was younger aren’t being told. I feel like I had to experience a lot of the stories that I share in order to share them creatively. So many times I have seen Black queer male figures in the media that only look one way. We are not a monolith. Because I didn't see myself I spent a lot of time in denial of even being queer. I feel that it is important for us to see ourselves and for every version of myself I want to make them feel inspired and encouraged to love and be their most authentic selves within the world.

What excites you the most about being a New Voices Scholar?

Mentorship and community. I have been using audio as my main medium from the beginning of my creative journey. I know that I am skilled at what I do. But, I wanted to learn from someone who can both guide me and share experience as a seasoned audio professional. I have been able to create opportunities for myself but learning from someone who understands the business of audio felt like what I needed. Community also felt very important to me because I don't have many people around me that are audio professionals. Being in a community felt necessary because the journey can feel lonely at times and having people that can relate to my experiences as well as encouraging each other along the way felt vital on this journey.

What’s playing on your radio/audio streaming service right now?

Podcast wise, I am listening to Claima Stories with Bimma Williams, Decoding Success with Matt Lebris, and Tori Talks by Tori Howze. Since being on my journey musically Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, YawnyBlew, Curren$y, and Larry June have been in constant rotation. They help me reflect and keep me motivated.

What’s the most underrated tool (technical or not) that you use in your creative process?

The most underrated tool that I use in my creative process is rest. Taking some time to just be. As creative people, our minds are always going about ideas. We think and feel everything. I don't know when our minds turn off from our passions. But, for myself, I have to take time to turn it off. Go outside. Go to a museum. Find inspiration and shift energy so that you can come back to the creativity refreshed.

What is something you want to see more of in the industry?

Money. Lol. Halfway joking. But, I would like to see more creatives supported in their journeys, financially. I am not in the place of needing validation for my work anymore. I know that what I do is good. I know that I am valuable. I don't need a pat on the back. A Lot of people want our ideas but don't want to pay for them. If art reflects life, we should want more creatives to thrive so the energy can be felt in what we create. I also want to see more diverse stories for Black queer people. Let's broaden the spectrum and show us in our fullness and beauty.

Who/What are your radio/audio inspirations and why?

The first person that comes to mind is Anthony Valadez. He is a multi-hyphenated artist and a great story teller. He is on the radio in Los Angeles. He is actually the person who inspired my podcasting journey. He started a podcast called, Say No More Fame, and shared how easy it is to start a podcast just using his phone. I was blown away because he is on the radio. He has access to the best equipment. But, he put himself out there in the rawest form to give people, like myself, the confidence to do it. 

Oprah was a big inspiration for me in the beginning of my journey podcasting as well. Her Super Soul Conversations felt so “off the record”, yet had so much valuable information in the content. That's what I wanted to do with my podcast. Have very casual conversations with meaningful information.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I want to thank AIR for the opportunity to be a part of the New Voices Class of 2023. I want to let anyone that wants to work with me know that I am available to work! Also, to all of the creatives, all of the audio professionals, keep going! Regardless of where you are in your journey, you are valuable. There is a version of you that needs to hear your story. Don’t let anything get in the way of you sharing it.

Connect with Mike on Instagram and LinkedIn.