NEW YORK CITY — This Filipino-American has come a long way from his vinyl scratching days in his family home’s basement.
New Jersey-born Ramon Ibanga Junior – more popularly known as “Illmind” — first dabbled with a popular game console, Mario Paint for Super Nintendo, to compose and create his own music as a young boy.
In the early days of creating his own beats and sounds, he competed in an underground beat society showcase in Philadelphia in 2003 – where he met and even beat his future collaborator Kanye West.
Today, this Grammy-nominated music multi-platinum producer, artist, and entrepreneur has collaborated with some of the music industry’s biggest artists such as Kanye, Drake, Dr. Dre, and 50 cent, among many others.
But it was Twitter that brought Illmind and Hamilton’s Lin Manuel-Miranda together for a collaboration that propelled the Fil-Am’s music career even further.
“That was the time when Hamilton was transitioning to Broadway, I looked at my Twitter account and saw that Lin Manuel started following me, and I followed him back,” he said.
The rest is history, as they say. Illmind produced 4 tracks for “The Hamilton Mixtape,” and even DJ-ed for the one of the “Ham4Ham” live celebrations.
“Lin is an amazing human being, amazing creative force, his knowledge of hip hop is so deep — collaborating with him is always a pleasure,” he shared. “We come from the same world. He’s in theater, but he’s also a child of hip-hop. Every time we collaborate it’s always an honor, always a pleasure. He’s inspiring.”
Illmind is also the producer behind the song “You’re Welcome” in Disney’s hit animated movie “Moana.”
Come December, his music-producing magic will be heard in a new movie called “The Greatest Showman,” starring Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron.
All these successes did not happen overnight. It took Illmind 15 years to get to this point in his career, but he never stopped believing.
“When you find something you love, it’s impossible to stop,” he said.
Illmind, who was recently featured by PhilDev and the Filipino Googlers Network in an event called Words and Beat, shared that when he first started making beats, he was doing it to impress people.
Today, this sought-after Filipino-American music producer creates music that connects and touches the soul.