He's made a rep as a party boy rapper, but Mike Stud isn't just about getting girls and getting high.
In tonight's episode of his Esquire reality show, "This Is Mike Stud," we see a much softer side of the 27-year-old singer, as he connects with fans who have a special connection to his music.
Back in 2013, Stud released the song "Past Gone," which was inspired by his real life experiences talking a female fan out of attempting suicide. Since the release of the song and its emotional video, the track has touched the lives of those living with depression.
In the video above, we see Mike spending some downtime getting personal with some of his most devoted fans, as they share some extremely personal stories with him.
Check out the clip to see how he's been able to help some of them out ... and keep reading to see what Stud told toofab's Leah La Rosa about how they've helped him in return.
toofab: In the clip, we see you interact with a fan who was clearly affected by your music -- how often do you see that at meet-and-greets?
Mike: Yeah, it's weird. It think a lot of people kind of pigeonholed me into a party rap or party boy lifestyle-type rapper, but it's actually pretty different. My fans have been following very closely and this side of my career is a big part of how I acquired a following. I was straight out of college when I started doing music. I ended up meeting this girl and it was just a life changing moment because I hadn't really met someone who was so open and honest about their depression and what she was going through. At that phase in my career, I was very new. It really impacted me and shook me a little bit. I was really drawn to her and started this relationship and talking to her a bunch. You know, as much as I helped her, she kind of helped me see the bigger picture and the song was a way to share her message and what she was going through. As I realized I could impact young people in a positive way like that, I really thought it was a cool way of sharing her story and maybe help others too.
toofab: What has been the most rewarding fan experience you've had?
Mike: Her thing is probably the most rewarding, but I do encounter a lot, especially as a chain reaction from making that song and putting it out there publicly. Literally thousands of people have reached out to her on her Tumblr page and she still operates it. I kind of made her realize that she finds joy in that and you know she's studying to be a psychiatrist now, so she kind feels like it's her path. A lot of kids at meet-and-greets have certain lyrics tattooed on their arms that might touch a soft spot with them or what they've gone through. It really is kind of crazy when you realize how many young kids deal with this type of stuff. Starting the conversation publicly is not something to be ashamed of and a lot of people share those same feelings.
toofab: So this girl you met online was the inspiration behind "Past Gone"?
Mike: It's really a cool story now because I just saw her a week ago. She came to our show in Columbus a week ago and it's really cool to see her now. She's doing so well. She's actually studying to be a psychiatrist and she's almost a year clean of self-harm and she's doing amazing. She was the one who inspired that song. This was about four years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday because she really was having an awful time with it for a while. It was just a perfect storm of timing and reasoning and I was so drawn to her and I really felt a connection, like I could help her. I am really happy I did. I feel it changed me as a person and I've really matured a lot. Seeing her now, it really makes it feel like it all came full circle and it really was meant to be.
toofab: Did you ever expect fans to have such a strong connection to your music? Why do you think that is?
Mike: Honestly, I'd be lying if I said I expected for people to react like this. I didn't think anyone had heard of Mike Stud, the white rapper who made a song in his dorm room, and I never foresaw having an impact on people like this, but it really is the truth when I say it drives me to do what I do. Just being myself and talking about real feelings and relatable things. I might not be the best or most popular musician, but I think just that being an honest artist that kids our age or kids younger can relate to is awesome and to see how it has impacted people.
toofab: How else do you stay so connected with these fans? And just how important is it for you to foster these relationships?
Mike: It's incredibly important. The episode tonight that's airing, I'm excited about because it's starting to touch more on this type of stuff and this type of fan base being who they are. Again, I'm not a mainstream celebrity by any means. A lot of people are asking 'How did this kid get a show?' It really does speak volumes about my fans, but it speaks more about the importance of having real relationships with people and with fans. I think people online are looking for more of a connection. You know they are looking to connect. Deeper than just lyrics, but they are looking to connect and support a person. They want to support a person that they really can relate too and I think that's what I've been able to do. Kind of, blur the line between artists and fans and make it more of like a partnership and a connection.
See that connection in action when "This Is Mike Stud" airs tonight at 11 PM ET/PT on Esquire Network.