Michael Kenji Shinoda.
(Shinoda Kenji; born February 11, 1977) is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, and record producer. He co-founded Linkin Park in 1996 and is the band’s lead vocalist, as well as rhythm guitarist, keyboardist, primary songwriter and producer.
Shinoda later created a hip-hop-driven side project, Fort Minor, in 2004. He has also served as a producer for tracks and albums by Lupe Fiasco, Styles of Beyond and the X-Ecutioners.
Born in Panorama City, Los Angeles, California and raised in Agoura Hills, Shinoda formed Xero, which later became Linkin Park, with two of his high school friends: Brad Delson and Rob Bourdon in 1996, later joined by Joe Hahn, Dave Farrell and Mark Wakefield. Chester Bennington replaced Wakefield as the lead vocalist in 1999. The band later signed a record deal with Warner Bros Records.
Shinoda is also the co-founder of Machine Shop Records, a California-based record label. Outside of music, Shinoda is an artist and graphic designer. He has painted several pieces of artwork, some of which have been featured in the Japanese American National Museum.
On June 15, 2018, Shinoda released Post Traumatic, which contained 18 songs about his feelings following the death of colleague and longtime friend Chester Bennington, who died by suicide on July 20, 2017.
Shinoda was born on February 11, 1977, in Panorama City, California and raised in Agoura Hills, California. His father is Japanese-American. He has a younger brother named Jason. He was raised as a liberal Protestant. Shinoda’s mother encouraged him to take classical piano lessons when he was six. By 13, he expressed the desire to move toward playing jazz, blues, and hip hop. He later added the guitar and rap-style vocals to his repertoire during his middle school and high school years.
Shinoda attended Agoura High School with Linkin Park bandmates Brad Delson and Rob Bourdon. The three formed the band Xero, and began to make a more serious attempt to pursue a career in the music industry. After graduating high school, Shinoda enrolled in the Art Center College of Design of Pasadena to study graphic design and illustration. He attended classes with DJ and turntablist Joseph Hahn. While studying at the Art Center College of Design, he experienced a form of identity crisis.