Andy Mineo, a Christian hip hop artist from Syracuse, NY, is coming to Columbia this Friday and will be introducing a titillating funky rap style of ministry that will leave locals wondering “what just happened” and wanting another dose of it. Mineo’s rhythmic beats are paired with inspirational rhymes that come from a long road of soul searching and finding peace with Jesus Christ as Mineo’s personal savior. His story is one of overcoming a bleak childhood. Raised in a single parent home without much of a religious support system, Mineo found solace in a youth camp he attended where his sister was a counselor. As what happens with many of us, he strayed from his faith for several years until wandering back into the path of righteousness when he became involved with a nonprofit in New York City.
Speaking with Andy, we asked about his journey and how he found his voice. Here is Andy Mineo’s story in his own words.
AM – “I started with T.R.U.C.E. in 2007. The ministry was started by Nicky Cruz, a local gang member who had been in and out of trouble for a while. Jesus radically changed his life. So, he started a ministry to help others begin their spiritual journey, get out of gangs, and potential save them from a life in jail. (Read Nicky’s story here: http://nickycruz.org/nickys-story/) They do performance art with rap and singing. It created a great friendship between us. I’m no longer a part of it, but that’s where I started.”
SCMG – We truly enjoy your version of the song, Saints. Can you tell us about it? It’s got a great hook.
AM – “It was kind of like a tongue in cheek LOL moment, you know? Take something people know and make it part of hip hop culture. It’s a cool little anthem. Everybody is familiar with the classic song, When the Saints Come Marching in. We had fun making this our own.”
SCMG – Your style has evolved with your faith and has seemed to get stronger as you go. How do you view your current status in the industry and in your faith?
AM – “I think my goal in music is to create things that have style and substance. My faith incorporates all of that. I just want to create great art that everybody can enjoy and is true to who I am. People appreciate that authenticity. I am transparent in that this is who I truly am.”
SCMG – Living in a single family home without a strong religious support system had to be rough. How did you manage to find your voice, if you will, and focus it in music?
AM – “Man, God has just been really good, and like, always bringing me around people strong in their faith. They have been inspirations that motivate me towards my faith as well. My authentic relationship with God keeps growing, and I am constantly figuring out how to merge art and music seamlessly. My artwork isn’t obnoxious or cowardly. I aspire to be true to who I am and who I am becoming.”
SCMG – Can you tell us more about your missionary work?
AM – “I do mission work regularly, with everyone who identifies as a Christian. We focus on God’s goodness and peace. We are working on doing it in music. But, I am also traveling the world to visit impoverished areas. I’m going to Bangladesh in May with World Vision where we will be visiting kids and serving in any way we can.”
SCMG – You have a large fan base for a Christian who does rap. How do you view your ever-growing popularity?
AM – “Yeah, man. I am just seeing people at the shows from all kinds of walks of life. There is just so much negativity in music and the arts that people feel refreshed by our music. People like being around aesthetically meaningful conversation. It’s great to see many so people appreciate our craft.”
If you would like to experience this unique and highly energetic performance, plan to attend his show at the Columbia Music Farm on April 8th. Doors open at 7, and the concert will begin at approximately 8pm. Tickets are just $23 in advance, $25 at the door, or you may have a VIP journey of your own for only $37.