Connect with yourself: An interview with Miguel

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There's been a shift in mainstream radio. You don't hear much soul in the music anymore — it's very rare. But filling in that gap with a little bit of sultry rhythm and blues is Grammy-winning recording artist, singer, songwriter, and producer Miguel.

This summer he released his third studio album, Wildheart. His single, "Coffee," has caused a stir with lyrics that reference "bubble bath, truth or dare and would you rather, a cold flame, the thrill of no shame, drugs, sex, and polaroids."

How does he get in the mindset to create a record like that? "You just kinda' make yourself available, you know?" he tells Metro Times. "I think creativity is all about making yourself available to it and honoring it. However or whenever the inspiration comes you just have to be ready for it, use it, harness and project it." 

He says Wildheart is different from his other albums, Kaleidoscope Dream and All I Want is You, because the music was able to capture more of his creative freedom. "Wildheart, first and foremost, begins the mentality and certain freedoms that the last two albums had yet to capture," he says. "I think that there's an aggressive nature in the sonnet. I really do not think I made an 'R&B album' even though I'm not really one for categories. I think for my fans, it's starting to feel (like R&B). I am really happy to say that whatever freedoms I found when creating this album, I feel that it was captured."

And what record stands out to Miguel the most? "Oh man, it would be like throwing a piece of the puzzle out of the picture," he says. "Every piece contributes to the overall image and the overall picture. I guess it kind of depends on the day, some days is 'Waves,' other days its' Leaves, A Beautiful Exit,' sometimes it's 'The Valley.'" Speaking of "Waves," Miguel says "that record has been what really goes hard when I perform."

We also discuss how his tour is going so far. "The tour is incredible, it is so much fun, the most fun I've ever had on tour," he says. "It's the most connected that I've ever been to the fans, it's just a new level. I think everyone feels it ... everyone on my squad, on the stage and the fans. It's just beautiful."

Miguel speaks on what people can expect from his show and what draws in the audience. "I think the conversation behind the album is what really makes this tour uniquely special," he says. "I think people leave feeling a tremendous amount of spirituality. I think the conversation is more with yourself and to ignore negative influence from the outside. I think that's a very spiritual notion to be connected with yourself."

But does he think music and spirituality go hand-in-hand? "The route of expression is perception," he says. "Perception has everything to do with personality, knowing yourself and being one with yourself...it's spiritual. I suppose they are connected, you know? I think any expression, not just music."

He definitely hasn't been hiding much of himself in recent photos. We discuss why he's decided to show his sexy side now. "For me, it is rock'n' roll," he says. "I am not shy, we can see that. I do enjoy maintaining my mind and body. But on stage it's really to convey the energy, the freedom. It feels raw to have all of my imperfections right in front of you. Anything. Whatever it is. It's a very 'take me as I am' approach."

Miguel says when he is wearing clothes, he doesn't consider himself a metrosexual or any particular category. "Man, I just like what I like," he says. "I think my style is a visual representation of my attitude. I take my moment, in my style, to show my personality."

Lately, Miguel has had some very big shoes to fill with comparisons to legends such as Prince. "You know, it's an interesting thing because when you know yourself and you know someone else, you have met them and you know how you differentiate," he says. "On the one hand, it is a tremendous compliment — on the other hand, you just wait and hope that people see that with consistency and time that you can stand on your own, you know? It's a compliment but at the same time it's one I look forward to growing out of. There is a lot more dynamics to my artistry and my music ... a lot more ingredients that go into it."

VH1 Music has recently chosen Miguel as their August 2015 artist in their "You Oughta’ Know" music installment, celebrating artists on the rise. So in addition to comparisons to Prince, he joins an exclusive club of artists like Adele, Mute Math, and Bruno Mars who have been selected in the past.

After being nominated for a total of five Grammy Awards in 2013, two years later, Miguel has not disappointed with his new music and is grateful for all his success thus far. He knows he can't take all the credit. "I think it's a combination of so many variables," he says. "I think I really supportive parents who believed in me and told me that I could accomplish anything that I wanted as long as I focused and believed in myself. There are so many other people — my mentor, Mark Pitts who signed me, the label who keeps at a healthy distance, to allow me to do what the fuck I love and what I'm good at. No success comes at the hands of one single person. It may be a single persons' vision but it also takes passion, love and the believe of so many other people."

Miguel believes a lot of things have to align in order for things to work out, "until they do, it is our duty, if you are passionate about something to continue on, preparing and honing and fine-tuning the vision and the skills. All that stuff," he says. "That way you are giving energy to the idea. That in itself will inspire opportunity. When they come, be ready."

Does he think that all dreams can come true? "I think and believe there is enough out there for everyone," he says. "We do not all want the same thing. All we want is to have the same feelings. Once we can focus on how to achieve those feelings and what that really means to each and everyone of us, we will then realize its different for everyone. It's so much out there. I believe that everyone's dreams are achievable. I truly, truly, wholeheartedly do. That's what Wildheart is about."

You can catch Miguel tonight, Aug. 12 at 7pm at the Royal Oak Music Theatre in all his glory. For full tour dates, to check out music and more visit officialmiguel.com.


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