Ai Ming Oei: From High School Singer to Mingue and 7-Million Downloads on Spotify

This podcast episode is designed for independent singers, song-writers and music creators. Ai Ming Oei from Mingue discusses how she financed and made her first album, working with a distribution network such as Spotify, and  the success "formula" for a singer songwriter.

Formerly known as Ming's Pretty Heroes, Mingue is the new deal. Ai Ming Oei (aka Ming) writes, records and sings for Mingue, a pop band based in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  She has released music with Bolier, EDX, Mike Candys and Mathieu Koss.

Ming and I met at Fryeburg Academy in 2000. She was a sophomore and I was a senior.  At the tender age of 15 and the only student from the Netherlands, Ming began singing with a school band in front of 600 American students regularly. She was fearless.

The rest was history. Ming walked us through her journey as a music student in Netherlands to becoming a Spotify sensation with over 7-million downloads.

If you can't see the player above, click here to listen directly.

It was NOT an overnight success. 

To learn more about Ming, visit her band, Minge's Facebook page, Spotify, SoundCloud.

Show Notes

  • [07:30] You were brave and courageous when you were a teenager, as a foreigner living in the US, with the ability to sing in front of a huge audience, fearlessly. What was it like?
  • [12:00] What did you do to pursue music after leaving the US?
  • [16:00] What was it like to perform in Beijing, China in front of thousands of audience? How were you invited?
  • [18:00] How do you feel about writing songs in English compared to your native language (Dutch)? Is that common in Holland?
  • [22:00] Why did you change your artistic name to Mingue (from Ming's Pretty Heroes), and how was that transition?
  • [26:00] How did you record your first record, and how did you finance that project?
  • [31:00] What do you know and think about helping artists financing their projects?
  • [33:00] Looking back, what are some of the shocking (wow) moments of your career?
  • [35:00] Can you tell us how it works with distribution through streaming services such as Spotify?
  • [41:00] Where you surprised by how some of your songs performed after releasing them?
  • [42:00] Is there a formula to be successful as a singer?
  • [44:00] Where do you seek inspiration these days, and how do you define your brand?
  • [45:00] How do you filter feedback and understand them constructively?
  • [47:00] What instruments do you play? Did you take any lessons?
  • [49:00] What was it like to grow up in Holland? Can you also share a bit about your family?
  • [50:00] How do you balance your activities? What does your schedule looks like (every week)?
  • [52:00] What about your next releases? Can you tell us about your new tracks?
  • [53:00] What are the requirements from labels you work with?
  • [54:00] Where did you learn more about the business of music?

Favorite Quotes

  • [32:00] It would be amazing if we could take care of our artists. But the truth is that you have to be an entrepreneur, and you have to pay with passion and you just have to love what you do, otherwise you’d be doing something else.
  • [34:00] It’s still my creativity, but with the right partners it gets to the right playlists. It’s a difference of millions of plays on Spotify.
  • [40:00] It’s quite hard to get everything in place. To have it perfect, to have a big success, it can’t be arranged.
  • [43:00] For me it’s creating a lot of output. Try to make the best product every time. Now I also write, taking into account the label, the DJs, the audience, but still not losing my own authenticity. I need to be myself, but I also can’t just be myself.
  • [44:00] You can find your way, you just have to be open, for a lot of things and think in solution

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