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Mike Skinner (musician)

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Mike Skinner (musician)

Mike Skinner
Mike Skinner in concert
Background information
Birth name Michael Geoffrey Skinner
Born (1978-11-27) 27 November 1978
Origin Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Genres UK garage, electronica, hip hop
Instruments Vocals, keyboards, guitar
Years active 1983–present
Labels Locked On/679, Vice/Atlantic, Warner Music
Associated acts The Streets, The D.O.T
Website .uk.comikeskinner-ltd

Michael Geoffrey "Mike" Skinner (born 27 November 1978) is an English rapper, musician, record producer, and actor, best known for the music project The Streets.[1]

Early life

Skinner was born in Barnet, North London. He moved to West Heath, Birmingham [2] and started playing with keyboards at the tender age of five.[3] When he was seven years old he began experiencing symptoms of epilepsy, which worsened in his early teens.[4] He began writing hip-hop and garage music in his home in West Heath and later built a sound booth within his bedroom, using a cupboard and a mattress.[3] In the mid-1990s, following secondary education at Bournville School, Skinner became a student at Sutton Coldfield College, in Sutton Coldfield, and was working in fast-food jobs while trying to start his own independent record label and sending off demos.

He describes his background as "Barratt class: suburban estates, not poor but not much money about, really boring."[3] Skinner has however always identified himself with Birmingham and he is a keen supporter of Birmingham City. He has worn the club's replica shirt on stage. He also wore it in the music video for his remix of Bloc Party's single "Banquet".

Personal life

In 2008 Skinner took time off from The Streets to battle symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and later wrote the song "Trying to Kill M.E." to document his fight against the disorder. In addition, he has tried to raise awareness that "it's not just depression. That's what people tend to think". Another statement he has released on the topic: "I was incapacitated. It seems to have faded now. But at the time I think I was working too hard. It was important to just mention it really. It was such a big thing for me. It lasted about a year at its worst. I had to stop working."[5]

In 2010 Mike Skinner married Claire Le Marquand in Antibes after the birth of their daughter Amelia in 2009. Skinner attributes the turnaround of his lifestyle, in regards to his dabbling with drugs, to the birth of his daughter and the responsibility of being a father.[6]

Music career

The Streets: 1994–2011

In the albums Skinner made with The Streets he focused on vocals, arranging, composing, mixing, keyboards, and synthesizers.

The Beats Recordings

In 2005, Mike Skinner and Ted Mayhem launched the independent record label The Beats Recordings. A subsidiary of 679 Recordings, The Beats was home to British hip-hop acts such as The Mitchell Brothers, Example and Professor Green. The label closed in 2007, but reopened in 2012.[7]

The D.O.T.: 2011–present

After shelving The Streets, Mike Skinner launched a new project, called The D.O.T, along with Rob Harvey of The Music. Harvey does most of the vocals, allowing Skinner to "further develop his production approach".[8] Their first album, And That, was released on 22 October 2012.[9] Their second album titled Diary was released on 5 May 2013.


Musical Influence

Mike Skinner draws influences from a variety of musical genres including hip hop, UK garage, reggae, and country western music.[10] Some of the many hip hop artists that influenced him in the making of some of The Streets' albums are Premo and Erick Sermon.

Musical style

Skinner is best known for his lyricism matched with his blurring of musical styles of UK garage, hip hop, indie rock, reggae and ska. Guardian reviewer Dave Simpson particularly praised Skinner's "dazzling wordplay."[11] The article and Skinner's lyrics were discussed in an Oxford Professor of Poetry lecture by Sir Geoffrey Hill.[12]

Acting and movie work

The Inbetweeners

The soundtrack album for the British film The Inbetweeners Movie was released in 2011, featuring nine new compositions by Skinner.

Beat Stevie

An online channel currently presented by Mike and business partner Ted Mayhem, Beat Stevie, is an "anything goes" blog/music show also shown on Channel 4 in their 4Music late night strand. The episodes often include backstage footage and onstage hijinks. Events documented in the show have also been mentioned in the early songs of Example and Professor Green. The 'funeral' of Skinner's record label "The Beats" was shown on the channel, with the mixtapes of The Mitchell Brothers, Example and Professor Green being burnt in a fire of absinthe.


Skinner had a cameo role in the fifth series of Doctor Who as a security guard, featuring in the episode "The Time of Angels".[13]

In a recent interview Skinner also revealed that he would be starring in a film, a thriller set in a hospital.[14] Adding that it won't be a "blockbuster" and that it will take around two years to complete.

Promotional and campaign work

Skinner is an ardent fan of Reebok Classics shoes; he is often seen wearing a pair of white Workout Plus trainers, and has mentioned them in the lyrics for his song "Let's Push Things Forward", in which he raps, "Let's put on our Classics and have a little dance, shall we?" In 2005, he signed up to appear in a twelve-month ad campaign for Reebok's "I Am What I Am" campaign.[15][16][17]


With The Streets

With The D.O.T



Skinner's autobiography "The Story of The Streets" was released in March 2012. His book records his beginnings as a musician in the Birmingham suburbs in the garage scene, to his struggles as a commercial musician.[18]

  • Skinner, Mike (29 March 2012). The Story of The Streets. Bantam Press. pp. 304 pages.  


  1. ^ "The Streets bio at Yahoo! Music". Retrieved 18 July 2007. 
  2. ^ "The Observer profile: Mike Skinner". the Guardian. 8 April 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Mike Skinner: Voice of The Streets". BBC News website ( 
  4. ^ Thompson, Ben (25 April 2004). "Interview: The Streets". London: Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2007. 
  6. ^ "Mike Skinner Laid Bare in The Story of the Streets Autobiography". Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Mike Skinner Exclusive – [Live Meets...]". LiveMagUK. YouTube. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Andrew Martin (21 October 2011). "The Streets' Mike Skinner Starts New Band: The D.O.T | Prefix". Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "The Streets' Mike Skinner and The Music's Rob Harvey announce new album and tour – ticket details".  
  10. ^ "Interview with Mike Skinner from The Streets By Martin Worster" (Video Interview). YouTube. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Simpson, Dave (22 February 2011). "The Streets Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Hill, Geoffrey. "Eccentric to the Ends of his Master or State.". Professor of Poetry Lecture. Oxford University Podcasts. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  13. ^ |Showbiz|TV"The Sun"Mike Skinner of The Streets lands Dr Who role | . The Sun. 7 August 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Mike Skinner not sad at Streets demise". BBC. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "Softpedia article detailing relationship between Skinner and Reebok". Softpedia. 26 August 2005. Retrieved 18 July 2007. 
  16. ^ Farey-Jones, Daniel (25 August 2005). "Brand Republic article detailing relationship between Skinner and Reebok". Brand Republic. Retrieved 18 July 2007. 
  17. ^ "Evening Standard article detailing relationship between Skinner and Reebok". This Is London. 25 August 2005. Retrieved 18 July 2007. 
  18. ^ "Mike Skinner's The Story of The Streets". Retrieved 11 October 2012. 

External links

  • Official website
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