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Mike Skinner (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mike Skinner
Skinner performing at a concert in 2011
Skinner performing at a concert in 2011
Background information
Birth nameMichael Geoffrey Skinner
Born (1979-11-27) 27 November 1979 (age 40)
Chipping Barnet, London, England
OriginBirmingham, West Midlands, England
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • synthesizer
  • keyboard
  • guitar
Years active1993–present
Associated acts

Michael Geoffrey Skinner (born 27 November 1979)[1] is an English rapper, singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. He is best known for the music project The Streets.[2]

Early life

Skinner was born in Barnet, but grew up in West Heath, Birmingham.[1] He started playing with keyboards at the age of five.[3] When he was seven years old he began experiencing symptoms of epilepsy, which worsened in his early teens.[4] He began writing hip hop and garage music in his home in West Heath and later built a sound booth in his bedroom, using a cupboard and a mattress.[3] He describes his background as "Barratt class: suburban estates, not poor but not much money about, really boring".[3]

At age 19, Skinner moved to Australia with his girlfriend; the relationship quickly ended, but Skinner stayed in Australia for a year.[1] Upon his return to England, Skinner moved to south London.[1] He sent a demo tape of an early version of what would become the song "Has It Come to This?" to a record shop run by A&R Nick Worthington.[1] The song was released as a single in 2001, through Locked On Records.[1]

Music career

The Streets (1994–2011, 2017–present)

In the albums Skinner made under the name The Streets, he focused on vocals, arranging, composing, mixing, keyboards, and synthesizers.

The Beats Recordings

In 2005, Skinner and Ted Mayhem launched the independent record label The Beats Recordings. A subsidiary of 679 Recordings, The Beats was home to British hip hop acts such as The Mitchell Brothers, Example and Professor Green. In a 2008 interview with NME, Skinner announced that the label had shut down.[5] In 2012, Skinner stated in an interview that the label was starting up again.[6]

The D.O.T. and Tonga Balloon Gang (2011–present)

After shelving The Streets, Skinner launched a new project, called The D.O.T, along with Rob Harvey of alternative rock band The Music. Harvey performs on vocals, allowing Skinner to "further develop his production approach".[7] Their first album, And That, was released on 22 October 2012.[8] Their second album titled Diary was released on 5 May 2013.

In 2013, Skinner remixed Norwich rapper Context's song "Small Town Lad Sentiments".[citation needed] The remix features on Context's second EP, Hindsight is the Purest Form of Romance (2014).[citation needed] In 2015, he remixed Slaves' breakthrough single "Cheer Up London" alongside Jammer.[citation needed] The remix featured on an extended play exclusive to HMV, released alongside the group's debut album Are You Satisfied?.[citation needed]

Skinner teamed up with UK rap group Murkage to form a supergroup named Tonga Balloon Gang, and they released an eponymous three-track EP on 14 November 2015.[9] The release features additional vocals from Jammer and Big Narstie.[10] In 2016, Skinner released a number of tracks on Soundcloud under the name The Darker the Shadow, The Brighter the Light. In April 2017, he released the song "Bad Decisions In The Night" on digital platforms.[11]


Musical style

Skinner is best known for his lyricism matched with his blurring of musical styles of UK garage, hip hop, indie rock, reggae and ska. The Guardian reviewer Dave Simpson particularly praised Skinner's "dazzling wordplay."[12]


Skinner is influenced by musical genres including hip hop, UK garage, reggae, and country and western music.[13] Some of the many hip hop artists that influenced him in the making of some of The Streets' albums are Wu-Tang Clan,[14] DJ Premier and Erick Sermon.[15][citation needed]

Acting and movie work

The soundtrack album for the film The Inbetweeners Movie was released in 2011, featuring ten new compositions by Skinner.[16]

On 19th October 2007, the first episode of Skinner's late-night television programme, Beat Stevie, aired on Channel 4.[17]

Skinner had a cameo role in the fifth series of Doctor Who as a security guard, featuring in the episode "The Time of Angels".[18]

In a 2011 interview, Skinner also revealed that he would be starring in a film, a thriller set in a hospital.[19]

Personal life

In 2008, Skinner took time off from The Streets to battle symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and later wrote the song "Trying to Kill M.E." to document his fight against the disorder.[20]

In 2010, Skinner married Claire Le Marquand after the birth of their daughter Amelia in 2009.[21]


The Streets

The D.O.T

The Darker the Shadow The Brighter the Light

  • Soundcloud Release (2017)


  • The Story of The Streets. London: Bantam Press, 2012. By Mike Skinner. 304 pages. ISBN 978-0593068076. Biography recording his beginnings as a musician in the Birmingham suburbs in the garage scene, to his struggles as a commercial musician.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bainbridge, Luke (2006), The voice of little Britain, The Guardian, retrieved 9 August 2019, But Skinner has never hidden the fact that he comes from the suburbs. He was born in Barnet, north London and moved to West Heath, Birmingham at the age of five. 'You think I'm ghetto? Stop dreaming,' he mocked on his debut album.
  2. ^ "The Streets bio at Yahoo! Music". Archived from the original on 10 January 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2007.
  3. ^ a b c "Mike Skinner: Voice of The Streets". BBC News website. British Broadcasting Corporation. 13 January 2003. Retrieved 30 September 2007. The Streets, who have been given four Brit Award nominations, is the one-man band better known as Birmingham musician Mike Skinner.
  4. ^ Thompson, Ben (25 April 2004). "Interview: The Streets". Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 September 2007.
  5. ^ "The Streets' Mike Skinner speaks about record label death". NME. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Mike Skinner Exclusive – [Live Meets...]". LiveMagUK. YouTube. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  7. ^ Andrew Martin (21 October 2011). "The Streets' Mike Skinner Starts New Band: The D.O.T | Prefix". Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  8. ^ "The Streets' Mike Skinner and The Music's Rob Harvey announce new album and tour – ticket details". NME. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Tonga Balloon Gang (Murkage Dave, Mike Skinner, Oscar #worldpeace, Gaika, Klepto, DJ Smith) to release EP, and here is lead single 'Make No Scene' | RWD". 14 November 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Tonga Balloon Gang - Single by Tonga Balloon Gang on Apple Music". 14 November 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  11. ^ Tanti, Omar (10 April 2017). "Mike Skinner is rapping again with his solo project The Darker the Shadow, The Brighter the Light". Loud And Quiet. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  12. ^ Simpson, Dave (22 February 2011). "The Streets Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Interview with Mike Skinner from The Streets By Martin Worster" (Video Interview). YouTube. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  14. ^ Kaufman, Gil. "Top U.K. Rapper Admits British Hip-Hop Invasion Unlikely". MTV News. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ "The Streets' Mike Skinner writes 10 new songs for 'The Inbetweeners Movie'". NME. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Mike Skinner is worried he'll get recognised in the – er – streets". NME. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  18. ^ "The Streets' Mike Skinner makes 'Doctor Who' cameo | NME". NME. 25 April 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  19. ^ "Mike Skinner not sad at Streets demise". BBC. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  20. ^ "Skinner Hopes to Raise Awareness of Fatigue Syndrome". Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Mike Skinner Laid Bare in The Story of the Streets Autobiography". Retrieved 11 October 2012.[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "Mike Skinner's The Story of The Streets". Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.

External links

This page was last edited on 16 September 2020, at 15:54
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