Known for his hit song “Straightjacket,” Mikael Temrowski, better known as Quinn XCII, has recently introduced a new sound to the pop sphere. With elements of pop, electronic, hip-hop and hints of Motown, Temrowski has certainly redefined music structure and lyrical approach.
Temrowski released his new album From Michigan With Love in February and is in the middle of his second tour. While Temrowski has already performed in both Grand Rapids and his hometown of Detroit, Michigan, he plans on returning to his home state later this month to perform at Michigan State University. Graduating from the university in 2014 with a degree in advertising, Temrowski started recording and sharing his music to SoundCloud during his time in East Lansing and frequently skipped classes to drive out to the University of Michigan where he collaborated with his partner and producer, Ayokay.
Initially playing small shows in East Lansing, Temrowski performed under the name Mike T, but later opted for Quinn XCII. A learned acronym from a college professor, Quinn stands for “Quit Unless Your Instincts Are Never Neglected,” while XCII is the Roman Numeral for Temrowski’s birth year, 1992.
While Temrowski almost always introduces himself as Quinn XCII, he has dropped references to his real name in his songs, and oftentimes his most vulnerable ones. In his song “Panama,” a tune reflecting over the loss of his grandmother, Temrowski includes a voicemail message from his grandmother at the end of the song where she addresses him as Mike. Temrowski’s real name also makes an appearance in his song “Always Been You” when he describes the way his girlfriend takes him by surprise by calling him Mikael amidst the many fans who know him as Quinn XCII.
As Temrowski’s music continues to make waves in the pop music scene, his real name increasingly becomes a symbol for the person he was before his big break in music. The distinct separation he makes between his life in the spotlight and the one behind the scenes suggests he still views them as binaries and hopes to maintain a personal life out of the eyes of the public.