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Star Advertiser-interviewed by Mike Gordon May10,2011
On any given day in Honolulu, you may see a Classic White Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance bearing a "MIC3" custom license plate, turning onto Salt Lake Boulevard adjacent to Radford High School. For those unfamiliar with the school, it was once home to such famous alumni world-class actress Bette Midler and world-class dancer Andres Fernandez. Radford is also home to alumni (and owner of the Cadillac), Michael Illano Rosales, a world-class pirate (well, at least he plays one) in the upcoming Disney installment of the Pirates of the Carribean 4: On Stranger Tides, premiering in theaters on May 20, 2011. It's hard to deny his presence among other kababayan with a towering 6-foot frame, long hair and chinese eyes (imagine a Filipino version of Fabio)! However, it's all a part of his unique overall packaging as an entertainer in music and movies. Whether it's in front of the camera making facial expressions and speaking in accents or on-stage in front of a microphone working the crowd with passionate combinations of rhymes, he's driven not only to entertain, but to inspire an upcoming generation of young Filipinos to dream big and work towards making those goals come to life.
Q: You often talk about your Cadillac as an extension of your persona as "Mic Tre". Who exactly is Mic Tre for the readers out there and how did you come about developing your entertainment personality?
Mic3 (Mike “Three”) how its pronounced, is my stage name. I am Hawaii’s Hip-Hop Ambassador representing the Philippines. My friends and family know me as Michael Ilano Rosales from Salt Lake/Aliamanu! Growning up, I used to always become the center of attention. Many of my peers would shy away from the attention, but I embraced it! My outgoing approach to life has grown to a point to where now I can channel that towards anything I set my mind to from my music to movies and everything in between. It’s like when you drive a Cadillac, you can’t help but notice its presence.
Q: It's obvious that an important part of your persona as an actor/musician is your tie into the Filipino culture. Describe to us how your experience growing-up "Filipino" in Hawaii, the mainland and abroad.
Growing up Filipino in Hawaii felt easy for me being that everyone I grew up with was most of the time Filipino. However, in the mainland it was a little more tough because Filipinos, at that time, weren’t as many as Hawaii. But one thing that was nice to see was though being in the military and seeing the world, I found out there are Filipinos everywhere! We’re a people known all over the world to be trusted to get the job done because we Filipinos value hard work and doing a good job.
Q: Now, focusing on the upcoming Disney Film, "Pirates of the Carribean 4: On Stranger Tides", how did you take "Mic Tre" and interweave it playing a Filipino pirate in the upcoming film?
As a musician, your time to shine is behind the microphone, or in front of the camera if your making a music video. As an actor I had to stretch myself and get myself into the zone, and truly live part as a Core Pirate on Jack Sparrow’s ship! It was easy for me because I really got to become a Pirate of all things like being on a boat, doing hard labor and not taking a shower for days (joke lang). But I did become one with being a Pirate and it started with the face I made throughout the movie.
Q: How did you hear about the opportunity to be a part of the mega blockbuster movie series of "Pirates" and what was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
I learned of the opportunity from a friend of mine, Brandon Dela Cruz. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t even have known. I had to overcome the fear of improvisation because it’s something that I’ve never done before, and with big movies such as this, you’ve always got to be alert. Before the audition time, I got coached by close friend and fellow Hip-Hop emcee Jonah Moananu (Big Mox) who teaches drama to kids in the Farrington High School Complex to give me pointers in acting.
Q: You were in the presence of some big name actors such as Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp. How was it working with A-list actors and what did you learn from the experience? And what was it like to work under the world's most recognizable entertainment brand with Disney?
While it was a huge experience being that this is my first time on a Disney movie, being in the presence of Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz got me star struck! But after the first location we filmed at I knew that working with not only them, but all the others on cast would be one of the greatest experiences in my life! What I learn from this whole experience is that what you put into life itself shows when your doing what you love to do. I admit it was hard work and long shifts, but everyone worked hard and made it fun. It was truly an unforgettable experience working with an amazing cast and crew and I would work with them in a heartbeat!
Q: Now the Pirates opportunity came at a time where you were focused largely on your music, what type of adjustments did you have to make from being a musician to an actor?
At that time when I was casted, I had to put the music on hold, but only for a little bit until I figured out that I can do both at the same time. My group, the “Angry Locals” (Big Mox, Krystilez, Osna, & myself) were supportive of the transition. They provided the encouragement I needed and assured me that we would be able to do music together after filming. But even on set, during my down-time, I was thinking about my music.
Q: Your first release "Respect My Pride" showcases your talent and ties in your love for the Filipino culture and Filipinos. Lead us through the thought process of creating the album and what can one expect from listening to it?
I had a vision of how America saw Filipinos as a minority. And being who I am from my personality to my experience growing up Filipino, I came up with the title “Respect My Pride”. I touched up on the history of Filipinos in Hawaii, and common Filipino values through the Hip-Hop music like the title track “Respect My Pride” and “Balikbayan,” which are both great examples of my music motivating in a positive way and not not taking in the negativity that people may give at times.
Q: You shot a music video for your lead single, "Balikbayan" was done in the Philippines as opposed to the United States. What was the significance for you in filming there and how were you anticipating viewers to react to the final product?
I’ve always wanted to take the message I had for Hawaii, bring it back to the motherland of the Philippines, and make an educational-type video. With the help of Ace Villena and MTV Philippines, this came to life in a matter of days. What I want to happen from this video is for the viewer to see and feel proud and become interested in learning about their Filipino roots. My goal is to impart, especially to young Filipinos that if I can do it, so can you.
Q: Now you've faced and overcome obstacles in your journey of making it in the entertainment industry and you've persevered to a point to where you're now at the doorstep of some major opportunities in Hollywood and abroad in the Philippines. Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years with your entertainment career in music and movies and what words of wisdom can you impart on those who aspiring to follow a similar career path?
My goal is to take Mic3 International. I want and will travel worldwide and take my acting/music to the highest level. I’ve been dong this on my own with the the support of friends who understand where I want to take this. The wisdom that I can share with you is to you have to make it clear in your heart that desire you have for your life. The moment you make a move with your heart to do what it is you do best, that will be the beginning of the greatness you have to offer the world. So become what you think you are and the rest will follow. Believe in yourself and have faith in God for your dream.
Q: Finally, without giving too much of the movie away, what can people expect from the Pirates Film and what can they expect from the Pinoy Pirate?
The new Pirates of the Caribbean 4 movie has a lot of action and you will definitely be satisfied! For those that have been keeping up with the Pirates trilogy, this one is the best yet coming from Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer!
What to expect next from this Pinoy Pirate, catch me all over the world representing the Filipino culture and heritage, making more great music and hopefully starring in my own feature film!
I want to give a special thanks to my Las Vegas Family, family in the Philippines, the island chain of Hawai’i, & lastly not to forget the Filipino community in London, Australia, and Canada. Blessings to All!