by Leslie Krouse
Mishka’s upbringing is what every child dreams. Sailing the seas, learning from the school of life. Mishka explains “Learning how to read maps and chart a course was my math and geography class, going ashore in different countries and talking to people about their culture was my history class, reading books on board was my literary education, picking up French and Portuguese in the ports we visited was my language school.” Mishka’s passion for music was created through his exploration of different cultures.
Signing with Matthew McConaughey’s J. K. Livin label and winning the 2009’s Best New Artist in the singer/songwriter category by digital music leader iTunes, Mishka is well on his way to becoming a household name. Mishka is now on tour for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic. I really wanted to find out more about the man behind the music, so I called him up, and this is what I found out.
RIS: You had an amazing childhood. How much of an influence did sailing around the Caribbean have on your music?
Mishka: It had a lot. Everything I’ve ever heard blends together in what I do.
RIS: You have that true roots reggae sound that one can only achieve growing up around it. At what age did you discover your talent for music?
Mishka: As long as I can remember, I’ve known I wanted to be a singer/musician, but I really didn’t get into it until the age of 19 or 20.
RIS: Now lets talk about J. K. Livin and Matt Mconaughey-
Mishka: No let’s not talk about it, everyone always want to talk about it.
RIS: Oh no, I didn’t want to talk about him. I wanted to know if being on his label has helped or hurt you as an artist.
Mishka: Well, there is a plus and a minus to it. In some ways there is a lot of exposure being connected to Matthew, but I think there are a lot of people who look at Hollywood creating music labels with a lot of skepticism. We’ve put out two albums so far. It took quite a while to put out the first album. I started working on it in 2006 and it didn’t get put out until 2009. So there has been a big learning curve as far as J. K. Livin trying to become a record label. We did manage to get the second album out pretty quickly once they figured it out. I don’t want to say it’s all-good, or it’s all-bad. But, there are definitely pros and cons to it.
RIS: Do you still have the freedom to do what you want with your music?
Mishka: For the most part. They have an interest like all record labels, telling you what they think is right, or what they think it should be. Which is always difficult with a label. But, for the most part, I’ve had quite a bit of freedom.
RIS: You’ve teamed up with O’Neill promoting the Cold Water Classic and their Eco-Friendly clothing line. What do you think about what they are doing with the clothing line?
Mishka: It’s great. I’m wearing clothes I’ve never worn before. They are very supportive of what I’m doing, and perceptive to the ideas I have on the Eco line. I’ve had some ideas of what I think people would like, and what I like. It’s fitting for my lifestyle. There is a natural synergy there.
RIS: How conscious are you in your personal life about the environment?
Mishka: I’m very conscious in my personal life. I try to put out as minimal of a carbon footprint, reuse and recycle as much as possible. We all have become victims of the consumerism that surrounds us. Everyone’s buying bottled water now, because they put chemicals in the tap water so it’s not safe to drink. We need to take a stand for change. Things can be cleaned up, but we need to keep and eye on the planet. It doesn’t have to be a battle.
RIS: Yeah, you’d think it would be easier than it is. It’s just common sense, but when there is money involved, that just seems to go out the window.
Mishka: Yeah, but the thing is, and this is what I mentioned to the marketing team at O’Neill about their Eco-Friendly line of clothes. There actually is a lot of money to be made from products that are in harmony with the planet, than adversity to it. I believe all those people who are making money from oil, could just as easily be making as much from wind and solar energy. It doesn’t have to be all destructive.
RIS: There seems to be a lot of love, unity, and spirituality in your music. Is that how you live your life?
Mishka: It’s what I strive to want. A lot of it is reflective on the opposite of what you’d like to see, and not necessarily what is going on. Aside from that, I’m just trying to focus on the positive, but yeah that’s pretty much how I live my life.
RIS: Your song with Willie Nelson “Home Grown”, is great, no need to ask what inspired it. But since California has this issue coming up. Do you think Marijuana should be legalized?
Mishka: Yeah, absolutely! It should have never been made illegal to begin with. It’s one of gods creations, just like growing an apple or peach tree, it’s natural. Legalizing is such a funny word, it implicates that there is legality to it. To me it’s beyond even being legal, it has a divine right to exist, and nobody has the right to take that away. You shouldn’t have to buy it, if you want it, just grow it. It’s a plant!
RIS: Are you working on any new projects?
Mishka: I’m always song writing, but nothing in the studio.
RIS: Any shout outs?
Mishka: Thanks to the Belly Up for putting on the show, thanks to the fans, and a special thanks to Taylor Guitars in San Diego.