Mishon Jumps From Acting To R&B Hitmaking With 'Kiss'
R&B singer/actor Mishon has co-starred on ABC Family's "Lincoln Heights" for four seasons. But the 16-year-old was still thrown for a loop when the video for his first single, "Just a Kiss," premiered on BET's "106 & Park."
"It was amazing to see myself on the TV screen with my new joint," Mishon says. "I've been doing this music thing since I was 9; it's my first passion."
"Just a Kiss" has climbed to No. 53 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart since debuting nine weeks ago, while its video is No. 5 on the "106 & Park" top 10 countdown. The song connects with teens because its lyrics about young romance are age-appropriate without being patronizing.
"I'm impressed by Mishon," says Harvey Mason Jr. (Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks), who co-produced "Kiss" with Da Internz. "He is a very talented young guy."
Born Mishon Ratliff, the southern California native signed with the independent label Dynasty Records at age 10 and released his first two albums at 11 and 13, respectively. His third album, "The Yearbook," will be a joint October release among Dynasty, Streamline Records and Interscope.
Dennis Dennehy, executive VP of marketing and publicity at Interscope, says the label has a long-term vision for Mishon in which "he builds his fan base and his fan base grows and matures with him. He can be as big as he wants to be." Interscope has booked Mishon to perform at high schools and teen-centric events like Disney World Grad Night and Boys & Girls Club summer camps.
Additionally, SingersRoom.com launched a contest in which fans can submit their "first kiss" stories for the chance to win a date with Mishon. Similar promotions are in the works with TeenDiariesOnline.com and MyYearbook. Though Dennehy couldn't reveal specifics, he says Interscope is also discussing ways to leverage Mishon's role on "Lincoln Heights" to broaden his exposure.
Meanwhile, Mishon, who plays a singer on the show and has performed his own songs as his character, Tay, is still getting used to being famous for all of his talents. "It's funny," he says, "because I started off singing, but now people are like, 'Oh, it's that kid from "Lincoln Heights"!' "