Hip Hop Artist MikeyyAustin Brings ‘Soulful, Politically Charged’ Sounds to ELAF Main Stage

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 9:11 am
By: 
Christopher A. Wardell

For the first time in the East Lansing Art Festival’s history of live performances, Hip hop will be featured on the Main Stage, courtesy of Lansing based musician, MikeyyAustin (AKA Michael Austin). Austin will play, along with his live band, The Happy Medium, at 1:00 p.m. May 20.

Austin’s music taps into a blend of Stevie Wonder and The Roots, while helping to bring to mind the consciousness-minded rap and Hip hop of 90s acts like Common and A Tribe Called Quest. The 21-year-old was born and bred in Lansing, and has been performing ever since he was a kid with the encouragement of his mother.

“I began performing around the age of five years old.” Austin said. “My mother would write raps for my brother and me, and we would perform under the name ‘Dem Austin Boyz.’ My brother Jacob is two years older than me, and we would perform at churches and talent shows. That’s when I was first introduced to the stage. Later, I picked up guitar and keys and began teaching myself, which allowed me to begin incorporating sounds I heard into my music.”

With one full-length album under his belt, 2017’s “Lifted,” Austin has performed shows in Chicago, Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. Austin recently performed a show at the Avenue Café with local legend DJ Ruckus.

Austin is looking forward to performing as many shows as possible this summer, while also working on new music.

“I am continuing to travel and perform in different cities while I am finishing up my new album that will be released late summer.” Austin said. “This project is the best piece of music I’ve worked on to date and I am extremely excited to share it with those willing to listen.”

In addition to the time he puts in as a musician, Austin is also actively involved in the community, especially with the Lansing School District where he helps raise money for the District’s arts programs.

“I am gearing up to surprise more Lansing School District Seniors with art scholarships.” Austin said. “This is something we started last year. From May of 2017 to now, we have raised $7,000 in art scholarships for Lansing students continuing their education in art programs. This year, we’ll be giving out $3,000 in art scholarships.”

Up first, however, is his appearance at the East Lansing Art Festival where the artist is excited to share his music with attendees. People have reported watching Austin move people to both smiles and tears. Often at the same time.

“People can expect a very fun and high energy musical performance.” Austin said. “It will be very engaging and amazing live instrumentation. There will be chances to sing along and dance, while letting your hair down and having a great afternoon during the festival.”

East Lansing Art Festival Music Coordinator Benjamin Hall is also looking forward to the historic moment, and to watching Austin perform live.

“I'm anxious to see how Hip hop will go over on the Main Stage,” Hall said.

 

More information on the artist is available here.

To learn more about the 2018 East Lansing Art Festival, look here.