Flytanium  as Mike Ellison
AfroFlow II , as MIKE-E
AfroFlow , as MIKE-E
“(Ethiopia) Everything Will Be Alright” [Single 2003] as MIKE-E
“Addis Ababe Bete” “[Remix/Video 2007]
“Turikumwe” [Single 2011]
With the release of his third studio album, “Flytanium”, Mike Ellison reintroduces himself with a markedly differently sound, drawing on myriad influences from a vantage point of artistic confidence earned through years of creative endeavor.
With musician and songwriter Mark Chu’s compositions, Ellison’s Flytanium reflects the influences of Detroit’s diverse musical landscape, ranging from hip-hop and soul to pop and electronica. Lyrically, Ellison veers inward toward love, relationships, and self-actualization, while continuing to explore the themes of social consciousness and defiance that characterized the artist’s earlier work.
As MIKE-E, Ellison released the 2004 single “Ethiopia (Everything Will Be Alright)” in the U.S. and his birth-country Ethiopia, where it became an anthemic hit.
His subsequent CD 2007’s “AfroFlow” (flowing from Africa), recognized the African roots of hip-hop and humanity. The CD and its 2010 “AfroFlow II” sequel featured nods to musical traditions that spanned the African Diaspora. Both CDs strive to create respect for Africa as the source of civilization, and for Ellison’s artistic base, Detroit, as a wellspring of music and culture.
AfroFlow I was marked by social and political commentary, supplemented with celebratory songs. AfroFlow II delivered a similar blend with deeper lyrical complexity and musicality. The project presented collaborations with a medley of artists including Senegalese bassist/singer Pathé Jassi, traditional Ethiopian kirar player Temesgen Hussein, Bluesman Paul Miles, versatile vocalist Kenny Watson, Americana/Folk singer Alison Lewis, multi-genre singer Monica Blaire and jazz musicians Rayse Biggs, Randy Scott and Ed Gooch.
“AfroFlow II” was highlighted by the video “Stamina,’” which merged East and West African traditions with elements of African-American ethos and hip-hop expression.
TOURS / Fighting Cancer and Big Tobacco
Mike Ellison extended the AfroFlow concept into the multi-year AfroFlow Tour (2007 – present). Ellison’s onstage criticism of the tobacco industry’s disproportionate advertising targeting children, teens and young adults in African-American, Latino, and economically challenged communities caught the attention of the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Ellison, in coordination with the ACS, garnered corporate sponsor support and created the AfroFlow Tour, an initiative utilizing live music and extensive community outreach as a platform to engage young audiences and families in fighting the cancer risks and health effects associated with tobacco abuse.
The tour has featured a rotating cast of musicians, B-Boys, traditional African drummers and dancers, delivering its message to K-12 schools, colleges and universities, performance venues, festivals and cultural celebrations across 25 states. The 2012 and 2013 tours were entitled “Music Saved My Life”, with a heavy concentration in the Midwest, particularly Illinois.