Last updated: 07/05/2010
Very few artists can lay claim to being a natural-born talent. Mishon is one of those talented few. With confidence, presence and vocal dexterity that belie his age, this multi-talented 17-year-old phenomenon is the real deal.
Mishon has already made a name for himself as an actor. He recently wrapped the fourth and final season of the popular ABC Family drama, "Lincoln Heights," playing spunky kid brother Tay Sutton. But the one thing he never lost sight of was achieving his lifelong dream: to sing. Now that dream is coming true with the release of "The Yearbook," Mishon's debut album on Dynasty/Streamline/Interscope.
"He sings with meaning beyond his years," says Vincent Herbert, president of Streamline Records (Lady Gaga), who first met Mishon when he was 12 years old. "Between the universal appeal of his voice and his dancing ability, he's a special talent."
Setting the pace for the forthcoming album is lead single "Turn It Up" featuring fellow hot newcomer and labelmate Roscoe Dash. Available May 4 on iTunes, the percolating pop/R&B/hip-hop infused dance track provides the perfect backdrop for Mishon's fresh, engaging tenor—and fittingly delivers on the ear-arresting promise of his earlier singles, "Excuse Me Mama" and "Just a Kiss." The new single also showcases another aspect of Mishon's many talents: he co-wrote and co-produced "Turn It Up," on which he infectiously proclaims, "The party don't start 'til I walk in."
Partying isn't the only thing on Mishon's mind. "The Yearbook" also offers up a balanced mix of slow and mid-tempo R&B/pop tracks produced by such hitmakers as Sean Garrett, Polow da Don, Dre & Vidal and Roc City. With expressive vocals that effortlessly convey each song's mood, Mishon takes listeners on a relatable journey that covers everything from simply having fun to experiencing young love and first-time commitment.
One such example is "Diamond," a classically styled song reminiscent of Michael Jackson. It's a simple story about a guy trying to find the right girl. "It's a song that reflects me," says Mishon. "Trying to find the right person means so much especially because it's so hard to come by these days." His honey-sweet tenor subtly powers "Rock My Chain," featuring Soulja Boy, in which he pledges commitment to his special girl against a string-backed chorus. Mishon's heartfelt angst pierces through on the ballad "Heartbreaker," before he bounces back on the exuberant "Real Love."
"Recording this album felt like a school year," says Mishon, a high school senior. "And that's what this album is about: good and bad days; life's ups and down. I put all of that down in my 'The Yearbook.'"
A Southern California native who plays keyboards and guitar, Mishon has been singing for as long as he can remember. His career-defining moment occurred at the tender age of seven when the heretofore shy Mishon surprised his family—and himself—when he belted out a moving rendition of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me" at his great-grandfather's funeral. "I sang my heart out and broke out of my shell," recalls Mishon.
To help the youngster hone his natural talent, his cousin Doe Henderson and his business partner Lacey created Dynasty Records. Over the next several years, Mishon grew into a seasoned performer who recorded a couple of independent releases ("Still Mishon," "Youngsters") and appeared on several shows ("Showtime at the Apollo Kids Talent Search," "Steve Harvey's Apollo West," NBC's "America's Most Talented Kid"). He also logged his share of early professional gigs, including "The V Variety Show" at Las Vegas' Venetian Hotel and Atlanta's multi-cultural Sweet Auburn Festival, whose headliners included Akon, T-Pain, Rihanna and Sean Kingston.
"Performing is one of my favorite things," says Mishon. "Every time I get on- stage, my goal is to bring energy and that energy always comes right back from the audience. That's what I do this for."
During this period of recording and performing, another Mishon talent kicked in: acting. One of the first auditions his agent sent him on was for a television show about an African-American family. Several callbacks later, Mishon was cast as Tay Sutton in "Lincoln Heights." That was four years ago. Now Mishon the actor has come back full circle to where he originally started: singing. "I love music so much and now I'm realizing my dream," says Mishon. "I'm ready to give my fans something that will last."
There's no doubt about it. Mishon is getting ready to "Turn It Up.