2013 looks set to be a non-stop year for R&B singer and songwriter, Miguel. As well as continuing his tour of the world, bringing hits like “Adorn” and “All I Want Is You” to legions of adoring fans, he has recently released his first fashion collaboration with Deer Dana – a t-shirt line featuring the faces of Sade and Grace Jones. February brings the Grammy Awards, where Miguel is up for several awards, including Best R&B Song, Best R&B Performance and the coveted Song Of The Year accolade.
Before hopping on the red eye to return to his native LA, Miguel spoke to Fiasco about his obsession with wealth, how his girlfriend is a “G” and how Jack White would be his ultimate collaborator.
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FIVE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS. HOW DID IT FEEL WHEN YOU FOUND OUT?
Thank you very much. I think the overall feeling is that it is overwhelming and very surreal.
HAVE YOU ATTENDED THE CEREMONY BEFORE?
I did, a few years ago when I was nominated as a writer. I was given very, very bad seats! Way in the nose bleeds! So hopefully I’ll get some better seats this year, which would be kind of nice.
ARE YOU EXCITED TO BE SAT ALONGSIDE NAMES LIKE KANYE WEST AND JAY Z?
It’s kind of an odd feeling. It’s really crazy to be mentioned in the same breath. It’s really cool man. It goes to show that hard work and diligence, persistence and consistency pay off. Not sacrificing your vision in yourself, and trusting yourself can go a long way. I think every one of the nominees are their own testament to that sentiment.
IN GENERAL, HOW HAVE YOU FELT ABOUT THE RESPONSE TO YOUR ALBUM “KALEIDOSCOPE DREAM”?
It’s a really special feeling to hear fans or just people say that they’ll be listening to your music for years to come. As an artist, you hope to be timeless and you hope your art transcends your lifespan, and hopefully affects lives and cultures for time on-end. That may sound a bit cliché but that’s kind of the ultimate purpose . The reception of this album has been really a blessing, and I don’t take it lightly. I’m very aware. I try not to take anything personal, be that good or bad criticism, but it does feel good. It’s an encouragement to continue.
WHAT WERE YOUR MAIN INSPIRATIONS WHEN WRITING IT?
I think the album is a projection of my lifestyle, more than anything. I feel like this album is like my Lower East side life, but with a little bit of soul. When I’m in New York I’m on the Lower East side, when I’m in Los Angeles I’m on the east side in Downtown LA, when I’m in London I’m on the east side. I’ve always been an east side kid. The eclectic nature of that grit, edge, fuzzy nature, mystery, angst and danger is something that you can find in the sonic presentation of the album. That is juxtaposed with my choices lyrically.
WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR SONG “ADORN” RESONATED WITH SO MANY PEOPLE AND RECEIVED THAT COVETED SONG OF THE YEAR GRAMMY NOMINATION?
I don’t know. Sometimes it’s best to leave it that way. There’s an intrinsic emotion, something deeper beyond the words in that song. That’s really where the weight is held. There’s an honesty there that is felt but not necessarily heard. It’s really cool that other people found it and it resonated with them. That could be one of the reasons why it has connected with so many people and different audiences. It has been really awesome to watch.
YOUR NEXT SINGLE IS “HOW MANY DRINKS” – WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT TRACK?
I’ll be honest with you – if it was up to me I’d go with a different song, just because I would rather do things that are unexpected and see them fail, as opposed to doing something expected and know it will work. I feel like “Drinks” is kinda obvious. It will really work on radio. It’s fun. I put it on the album because it’s a part of my life. I fought really hard to release “Do You” as the second single.
YOU’RE GOING TO BE TOURING THE UK EARLY NEXT YEAR – WHAT CAN THE READERS EXPECT FROM A MIGUEL SHOW?
They can expect it to be un-fucking-forgettable. Don’t expect an R&B show. It is sexy at moments, but not in the traditional sense. It’s scandalously sexy, it’s extremely energetic, it’s very, very dangerous, dynamic and unforgettable. That’s the standard that I hold myself to and I hold my band to. We go out and we kill every show. That’s part of why any misstep I’ve made in the past I’ve been able to overcome. It’s been because the music in the live show really says it all. There are moments where it’s very introspective. Expect to know me when you leave – to feel like you’re taking a piece of me. I go out there and give everything I have, every night.
TELL US SOMETHING YOU’RE OBSESSED WITH?
I’m obsessed with wealth. I want to be clear what I mean by that. I’ve always believed deep down that our lives were meant to be lived in abundance. I don’t entirely mean that in a monetary way. I believe that our lives are supposed to flourish and thrive with amazing relationships, love, experience, culture, success and fulfillment. I truly believe that everybody is supposed to experience that. It’s just that somehow along the way we’re distracted and pulled from our own purpose. And with that we start sacrificing ourselves, and our way to wealth, and our belief in wealth.
YOU HAVE A LOT OF ADORING FEMALE FANS WHO ARE OBSESSED WITH YOU! HOW DOES YOUR PARTNER DEAL WITH THAT ASPECT OF YOUR JOB?
(Laughs) First of all she’s such a G. She’s a confident woman – I think that’s why our relationship has always been easy. With things like that anyway, a woman with confidence knows her value and knows her worth – another cliché (laughs). I think also making her feel like she has my attention and no one else can have it that way goes a long way. It’s maintenance, man! I think with relationships you’re constantly working at it and working for it, because you love what it does for you. To her credit, she knows who she is so she’s not worried about these other women.
YOU’RE ALSO A FANTASTIC SONGWRITER WORKING FOR OTHER ARTISTS – IF YOU COULD WRITE A SONG FOR SOMEBODY WHO WOULD IT BE?
Ah man, Jack White. It would be really ill if I wrote a song and he digged that shit! That motherfucker is ill. I think he’s really special.
AND FINALLY, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT FEW MONTHS?
I’ll be on tour for the next year. And I’ll also be working on and recording the next album. The UK leg of my tour will be for about a week and a half.
Interviewed by Holly Rubenstein for www.fiascoplus.com
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