MANILA, Philippines – Without a doubt, WINNER’s MINO has blossomed into a full-fledged artist. A rapper, composer, and producer, he has also made a name for himself in variety shows, on fashion runways, and at international art exhibitions.
But despite his growing accolades, MINO insists that being a musician will always be at his core.
“I ain’t never gonna change that I’m a performer. No matter what fields I work in, or what I do, it has only changed the form and medium I show, but I’m still the same artist,” the 28-year-old artist told Rappler in an exclusive interview.
He added, though, that the experiences he had outside the music industry has greatly influenced his creative process for his third solo album, TO INFINITY.
TO INFINITY comes a year after the release of his second album TAKE. If the earlier album highlighted his identity as a singer, TO INFINITY goes beyond that – marking the beginning of MINO exploring his capabilities and growth as a musician.
“I wanted to express that I am ‘No Limit’ through this third solo full album. The infinite possibilities, the future expectations of MINO, and so on. It’s an experimental kind of album that is not bound by any kind of framework,” he told Rappler.
Calling it a “particularly lovely album,” MINO, who’s credited as a composer and producer on all 10 tracks, takes pride in how TO INFINITY spans different genres. “I used different sounds in this album. It was one of the most experimental [that I] attempted in an album, for me. I wanted to do a variety of different kinds of genres,” he shared.
And true to his vision, TO INFINITY successfully blends MINO’s trademark hip-hop swag with a sexy, experimental sound. It’s the kind of confident experimentation that can only come from an artist who has embraced his strength as a lyricist, but is still willing to explore different soundscapes in his career.
Leading the album is the title track “TANG!” – a song about his pursuit for love. “It talked about a man who fell in love but is unskilled and not good with love. But I don’t want the song to sound heavy and dark, so I melded a bright melody for it,” MINO said.
When asked which of the other songs in the album he is most excited to share with his fans, MINO said, “That’s so hard (laughs). The first track ‘LOVE IN DA CAR’ is quite good, ‘KILL’ is also the song with the good mood that my fans will like about, ‘LOSING U’ will be the favorite for the fans who love my singing charm. From exciting, sad, sexy, and so on, the album contains various moods that everyone can enjoy.”
“LOVE IN DA CAR” is a sleek and modern track that accentuates a melodic rap, “KILL” follows a slower-paced rap with a distinct bass pattern, while “LOSING U” is where MINO’s raw vocals takes centerstage, alongside a melancholic melody.
“I tend to write songs right away when I get inspired, so I don’t think there’s a specific song that I had a hard time with when writing the lyrics,” MINO added.
But more than his hard-hitting lyrics and versatile sound, TO INFINITY also highlights MINO’s capability to find the best artists to collaborate with. In “DRUNK TALK,” sogumm’s breathy voice perfectly contrasts with MINO’s dejected tone. In “PYRAMID,” MINO partnered with IIIBOI and Gaeko for a track with rap-rock and EDM elements.
This, he said, is a manifestation of his involvement in TO INFINITY: “I wrote and composed all the songs. I participated [in the] overall of this album, including the music video concept, styling, promotion exhibitions, and so on.”
With how TO INFINITY turned out, MINO sees the many other possibilities he could take as a musician. “I also have more desire to make music that is good to listen to,” he said.
Listen to TO INFINITY here: