From NF to Eminem, TØP & More; Songwriter Mike Elizondo’s Next Chapter Involves Victims of Trafficking
Mike Elizondo is a producer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter who has written for the likes of Eminem, 50 Cent, the Jonas Brothers, Ed Sheeran, Nelly Furtado, Twenty One Pilots, NF, and way more. He is also a Christian and one of the panelists of a new competition with a cause, the Human Freedom Music Awards.
The Human Freedom Music Awards is a song competition that sees artists and bands go through several rounds of voting from industry-leading musicians. The panelists will pick the winners as they garner votes and also pen an anthemic song to raise awareness for victims of Human Trafficking. (More info on how to be involved at the bottom).
We had the chance to send out questions to Mike Elizondo about his work with the HFMA’s and his time in the industry.
You are a final round judge for the Human Freedom Music Awards (uniting artists and fans against Human Trafficking), what does this online movement mean to you?
I am excited to be a judge and help identify some up-and-coming new artists. In addition to providing a large platform for these artists, the HFMA’s will be able to draw attention to the horrific human trafficking crimes being committed every day. It’s a movement that can help a lot of people so I’m always for that.
You’ll be listening to the top artists from the HFMA platform, as a producer, what things do you listen for in an emerging artist?
I will be looking for artists that have a unique point of view lyrically as well as honesty in their music. I need to believe what they are saying and how it’s being presented.
How do you see the power music has to advocate, affect society, and help put a stop to Human Trafficking?
Music has always been an amazing way to unify people and spread a message. I feel that human trafficking is a crime that most feel people feel uncomfortable bringing up because it is so horrific. I am hopeful that this movement will encourage other people to help put an end to it.
Where do you see passion and breakthrough happening in the rap / hip hop genre and what encouragement would you share with these music makers of our time?
Rap and Hip Hop have a lot of power to reach a young population. There’s a lot of darkness in this world and a lot of music glorifies these things. I am starting to hear more music being made to uplift and empower which is so needed. I would encourage music makers to express what’s on their hearts and know that their message can impact people for good.
Is the experience of working with Christians in the studio and on a song different than working with other artists? With so many huge names on your discography, I’m wondering specifically about NF and Twenty One Pilots.
There have been many artists that I have worked with that are Christians even if the music they release isn’t part of the Christian music genre. In the studio, I am there to help an artist record their message and vision. NF and TØP were both very creative and passionate artists. I am excited that they have been able to reach a large mainstream audience and spread their message for good.
Speaking of those two acts, you got to write on albums of theirs that propelled them and catapulted their careers. Do you have a sense of when a particular song you work on will become a hit?
I can only tell when I like something. If I like something and the artist likes it as well then I know we are onto something. It’s impossible to predict if something will be a huge hit. But there are times when you can tell that a song feels special.
Are there a lot more Christians behind the scenes helping to build out and produce songs than one would think? On the flip side, are there non-Christians writing and creating music for Christians? Do you have any thoughts about the latter as far as authenticity?
I think there is always a need for Christians to be able to work in a variety of music environments. We can be a light in dark places. I personally haven’t worked on a ton of “Christian Artist” releases. I do feel there can be non-Christians involved in certain aspects like production and engineering a song.
As a Christian, how do you justify or workaround/through songs that go against what you believe? Is business just business?
I look to be a light in any situation I am in. I try to bring my talents and help whoever I am working with on any given day. An artist needs to believe what they are singing. Sometimes it’s not what I believe. We each need to decide what we will or will not work on based on our own beliefs. It has been an evolution for me on where I draw the line. I try to focus on bringing joy to the creative process and hope that the end result is something we can all be proud of.
The Human Freedom Music Awards is the gathering place for every artist or fan who cares about stopping Human Trafficking. We’ve collaborated with IJM to UNITE and EMPOWER Artists against Human Trafficking.
In this community, we UNITE our voices to expose this hidden abuse happening in the shadows. To shine light into dark places. In this community, we EMPOWER the artists that stand up and stand out. A diversity of Artists has culture-shaping opportunities…
We use advanced AI to measure it and spread it. The most influential artists will rise to the top in a final round where A-List judges will see their advocacy, hear their songs, and then award grant money to support them. Welcome to the HUMAN FREEDOM MUSIC AWARDS, a community to Unite and Empower Artists against Human Trafficking!
Tell bands you know… it’s a great opportunity to be recognized with grant money to fund your passionate career.
Sign Up > Submit a Song > Stand Up > Be Recognized
Watch this short explanation vid to see how the HFMA’s Unite and Empower Artists against human trafficking.
The Human Freedom Music Awards, This is YOUR Community. Uniting and Empowering Artists against Human Trafficking.