By Julie Jacques
For this month’s As Seen on Zoom, I interviewed Antonio Sgro, a Dawson cinema student. Also known as M!Ni on Spotify, Antonio was very patient with me as I moved from room to room looking for internet connection on a Thursday night.
It’s nice to finally talk to you! I had the idea to interview you back in December, so I’m glad you agreed to this. My first question is pretty simple: Is music something you’re trying to pursue full time, or is it more of a side thing?
Actually, it’s funny. Music is more of a side thing for me– I just do it with my friend and we do it for fun. Especially now, during the pandemic, music is a lot easier to produce than, for example, movies. My recording studio is just in the corner of my room, but with films I’d have to get actors and stuff, so during a pandemic… but I guess both movies and music are very hard to do as a career, so they’re just hobbies for now.
Your stage name– M!Ni. I think it’s so cool! I love how the ‘!’ and lowercase ‘i’ are opposite of each other. How did you come up with it?
It’s a long, stupid story, but basically I have three older brothers. We are all involved with this youth center. So, when I started working there, I got called mini, since I’m like the younger version of my brother. Now, all my friends just call me that. At first, it was just ‘mini,’ but I was like, oh what if I change the I to ! like P!NK, that would be cool. And– I’m glad someone noticed!
I know it’s such a cliché question, but I have to ask it. What inspired you to start making music, how did you get started?
When I was younger, I always used to write songs. But then I ended up really getting into cinema and I always made little movies and stuff. But, again, they’re hard to make. But, when I listened to Jaden Smith’s album, SYRE, there was a whole story to it. It felt like a movie! I remembered thinking that being able to tell a story through an album was so cool… So, I had that idea, and just started making songs. I guess, I’ve always been into writing, and when I found a way to tell stories with music, I realized it was way easier, and a lot more fun.
Do you ever get halfway through making a song and end up never finishing it, or never putting it on Spotify?
All of the songs I write, I usually put them out. I might have one or two that I haven’t released. Actually, I have one done that I didn’t release, and one that I’m not sure if I’ll make. It does happen that I start writing and don’t continue because I don’t really feel it.
OK, last question. Are you one of those artists who will claim that their lyrics come to them in a dream? Like, you wake up and all of a sudden, a song wrote itself?
*Laughs* I saw Michael Jackson, who is one of my favourite artists, do an interview. And, someone asks him how he writes, and he just says “God.” I was like, what? *laughs* That doesn’t really help me as a writer, but thanks. So, no, I wouldn’t say I get it from the “universe” or whatever. Every time I write a song, I try to make sure there’s a point, or a purpose. I write about mental health, or love, different emotions. If I’m writing and it doesn’t feel like there’s anything coming out of it, I’ll just delete and restart. If it doesn’t mean anything to the person listening to it, what’s the point?
Thank you so much for agreeing to talk with me! Where can our readers find you, or listen to your music (which I highly recommend they do)?
I’m on Spotify and Apple Music as M!Ni, and they can follow me on instagram @n0budget. If they’re looking for recommendations, my favourite song I’ve released at the moment is Tulip V3!
Image: Provided by M!Ni