Hanging with Quinn XCII
    • MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2019

    • Posted by: Haleigh Quigg

    The Detroit born and raised "melting pop" singer and songwriter, Mikael Temrowski aka Quinn XCII, which stands for "Quit Unless Instincts are Never Neglected" along with the roman numeral 92 for the year he was born, has been busier than ever. With the release of his sophomore album "From Michigan With Love" on February 15th, and a world tour starting in just a few days, Quinn still puts his fans before anything else. At the moment, he is traveling house to house throughout the country, starting in Boston and ending in Los Angeles, doing one on one listening sessions with some of his biggest supporters to see their reactions and talk through this new music of his. His fans opinions are important to him, and getting this feedback will only help him strive moving forward.

    Quinn xcii album cover

    Quinn XCII's message of this new album is personal and dives deep into different emotions as he addresses anxiety and depression, telling his personal stories through his unique sound. Doing this, Quinn hopes to bring awareness to many showing it is okay to talk about these hard situations. Quinn sits down with us and talks through his journey of music, explaining what his voice stands for and how he has been on the rise ever since he got his start by streaming his music online.

    H = Haleigh
    Q = Quinn XCII

    H: You grew up in Michigan, you went to Michigan State, studied advertising-and now here you are now. Can you tell us a little about your journey such as where did your love of music come from? What made you realize you wanted to pursue it?

    Q: I guess I'll start with my love of music. My parents- I didn't come from a family of musicians or anything which is kind of funny, but my parents were always playing music around the house when I was growing up. We lived in Detroit, so they were always playing Motown and stuff like that. Normally music that they listened to when they were growing up. I would see them dancing to this at parties, so I thought the sound was exciting and cool. I didn't know what music was, but I thought, oh this is interesting. As I got older and I got more into writing, I ended up taking a bunch of creative writing classes in high school and college. Then eventually- literally one day I just wrote a song- like a rap song. It infused my taste in music with writing. I'd always been a fan of music but never thought I'd make it. Then one day I was like, I'm just going give this a shot- whatever. This was around the time when the blogosphere was blowing up, and you saw all these white suburban kids wrapping. There was this craze going on, so I was like, oh this is interesting, I'm going take a stab at it.

    H: You just dove in and went for it then?

    Q: Yeah, I wasn't going to show anybody but just wanted to try it out. Granted, the song was terrible, but I just loved doing it. It felt so liberating and fresh, so I so stuck with it, and went to Michigan State and continued it on the side as I studied advertising. I did it as a hobby, but it turned into something more. I was on SoundCloud putting my music out for free, and I saw this platform of kids growing and growing that were following me. Long story short, continued it after college and went full force. It's really funny now actually reflecting on growing up and just who I was. I would put on plays and stuff for my family, like little skits. I just always loved being in front of people. So, it's funny thinking about the antics I would pull as a kid and how it relates to who I am now. It entirely goes hand in hand.

    H: Was the rap song for a class or just for fun? This is the one you put on SoundCloud first, correct? Do you feel like that platform pushed your career at the start?

    Q: Yes, entirely out of my hobby. So many people now get started on Soundcloud. It's taken over as like, strictly rap. You know they say SoundCloud rappers now? It's taken over as the dominant hip hop platform. I think mainly because it's someone who's rapping and doesn't have the opportunity to put their music on- because it's hard to get your music on Spotify. You need a license; you need to go through a process. Soundcloud you upload a file. It's a great opportunity and has helped myself and so many others. It's just easy.

    H: As you kept pushing to get your music out there, it seems like people were listening right away, granting you a strong following from the start. As more people followed you, the opportunity came to put on your first concert. Can you tell me about your first concert experience?

    Q: So, my first show was at the University of Michigan. I went there a lot because Alex O'Neill (ayokay) went there and he was my main producer. I would cut class and drive 45 minutes over there- not too far from my school, so it was easy to get to. I would end up going there like three times a week to work on music. Thank god it worked out because my parents would've killed me if I ended up jobless and spent all that time skipping class. My first show was at Michigan, at this charity event. It might still be around; it's called Walk the Runway. It's like a school fashion show for a charity. They needed a performer, and a mutual friend of ours was putting the event on. So, Alex said to the student body "oh I know someone who just started making music, is it cool if he performs," and they just let me do it.

    Quinn xcii press photo

    H: Easy as that?

    Q: Yeah, it was just me and my buddy – my best friend Jason was my hype man. The show was so bad. The stage was like ground level with the crowd so that you couldn't see- I had to jump to look over the first row of people. It was honestly so bad; the sound was horrible. I had to give the DJ a literal CD to play my music. I'm glad I did it, but I was so nervous and shit.

    H: When performing in front of a crowd, big or small, you have a stage name. So, your real name is Mikael, but you go by Quinn XCII. When you go onstage as Quinn, do you feel like a new person? Do you put on a new identity?

    Q: It's just me. I think that's kind of why it's been clicking for people because it is just- I feel like fans are really smart, I'll say that. Nothing goes unnoticed so if something is genuine and authentic I think they grab onto it and I think that's why you see people take off because you see they're just trying to be- they're not trying to be anything that they're not. How I am talking to you right now is the same way I'm going to be onstage. Obviously, I jump around more and am more charismatic, but I'm still saying the same things, I still believe in what I'm saying. I'm not like a character. This something that was important for me always to stick by and also too to keep my sanity. Not to feel like you have to play a part, you can be who you are offstage and walk on, and there's a transformation of like, "I'm this new person." Which I know does exist you know, and that's fine that's just people's choices, but for me, I'd rather be myself.

    H: When you're off the stage, what is you're writing process like? What goes through your mind?

    Q: I'll give you a general idea of it. I never, for example, say to myself, "I want to make a love story today." I think the minute you start to force the creative process; it ruins the experience- you should never force making something in my opinion. It's got to come naturally and genuinely. I know that sounds hard, or easier said than done, but sometimes I'll go to a studio without an idea of what I want to make, I'll mess around with stuff and run with something that comes up in my head. For this album, in particular, I wanted to do a cohesive project about something that was important to me, and I thought mental health was a significant issue to talk about, with stuff that I've gone through with anxiety. From Michigan With Love is my new albums title. It talks about what I went through in Michigan and how it's always followed me living in LA now. I want to get the point across to people that I'm no different than they are and I'm feeling the same thing that everyone else feels. I am raising awareness about it because it's such a prominent issue today. This generation is finally talking about it, anxiety, so I just wanted to strengthen that discussion a bit. That was my mindset going into this one. Usually, I'm not so critical on the subject matter of what I talk about, it comes out like I said- very naturally and that ends up leading me to make some of my most genuine music. Here, I force myself to talk about stuff I didn't want to- like some of my best songs I didn't even think I would make. It's like something inside like pulled. It's like therapeutic almost in a sense, you know? It kind of naturally comes out of you, and your emotions get thrown at the wall. You become more vulnerable and all of a sudden you realize you're talking about shit you never thought you'd have the courage to speak on. It's cool. That's what's so compelling about music I guess.

    H: I know myself, and many others are very excited to hear this side of you through your album. You have such a unique sound. So unique that many people have trouble placing you into a specific music genre. What do you think it is?

    Q: I would say it's so hard to classify it as one thing. I call it pop music because it's easier to kind of sum it up like that, obviously if you've heard it, it's such a blend of different genres. There's like hip hop, electronic music, reggae inspirations, soul inspirations, alternative rock, it's such a mish-mosh of so much stuff, and I guess that is why the only thing you could call it is pop. I call it melting pop, like a melting pot of stuff. I honestly say listen to it, and you'll form your own opinion and let people do it on their own.

    H: With so many different sounds I know this question may be a little difficult, but do you have a favorite song on your new album?

    Q: It's funny, it's always such a tough question to answer because I'm so biased about everything. I have a connection to every song, so it's hard to pick my favorite. There is this one song called Holding Hands that I made. Do you know who Elohim is? She's a great singer and producer. She's a little more electronic, but it's a duet I did with her, and it's very vibey. It's one of my favorites on there, and there's also one called "You and Us" which is more acoustic, singer-songwriter folk sound. With this album, I'm trying to push my boundaries a bit more. Honestly all of it I'm really into. I think I'm taking the next step forward with the stuff I want to make. I feel like I am progressing as an artist with this entire album.

    H: Do you have other collaborations on the album?

    Q: Yeah, so Elohim is one. Jon Bellion is the next single. Noah Kahn is on the current single called "Tough." Ashe who is coming on my tour with me. I know I'm missing someone, but there are some great collaborations on this album. Whenever I do work with different artists, it's always enjoyable diving into their world a bit.

    H: With a new album about to come out as well as your very popular songs in the past, when did you feeling like you finally "made it"?

    Q: That's a great question. Probably "Kings of Summer" was the song that helped me get myself out there. That's the song that started to make sense to me like this could be my career based on the amount of steams it was getting. That was the tipping point you could say. But there have been so many different milestones that have happened, and I am just blessed to be able to do this for my job.

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