Baby-faced Miguel bounces into the conference room at Jive seeming, hunger aside, carefree. Dressed in jeans, a high-necked, face framing hoodie and high-top sneakers, the singer is relaxed, unassuming and ready to explain himself. Despite the fact that, as a writer, Miguel has worked with artists like Usher, Musiq and Mary J. Blige, you can easily picture the Los Angeles, California native bobbing along to his iPod right next to you on the subway. But then Miguel opens his mouth to sing a few lines from his new single “All I Want is You” and it smacks you in the face. This is no regular guy. Vocals alone, Miguel is more artistically talented than most of us will ever be. As he begins to talk about his music and is later steered toward personal territory, something else becomes clear. Miguel is more walk than talk. His intention, above all else, is to let his music speak for him.
So far, the two main songs that have reached the masses, “Sure Thing” and “All I Want Is You” featuring Jay-Z endorsed rap newcomer J. Cole, have whispered sweet R&B-nothings in countless ears. Not one for boxes however, Miguel is hoping to stay away from that label. “I don’t consider myself a rhythm and blues artist,” the singer says. “I feel like at this point R&B is a little stagnant.”
Instead, Miguel describes his music as “eclectric,” a fitting term. To prove it, his MySpace music page showcases the singer’s diverse tastes and broad range. The neo-soulish, guitar driven “(Super)Natural” sounds like it would fit right in on Musiq’s next album. “Ooh Aah,” on the other hand, sounds like a track Prince would really get into, while “Pick Up The Pace” has Black Eyed Peas written all over it. Though none of these songs are guaranteed to be on Miguel’s debut album, which the singer says is titled after his new single, you can definitely expect variety. The album “tells the story of extremes…no song sounds the same,” Miguel says. “And I did that intentionally,” he adds.
Another conscious choice was to make J. Cole the only guest artist on the entire album. Confident in his work, Miguel is determined to show the world all that he is made of musically. Rather than setting out to gain public favor through high-profile features, “I feel very strongly that the music speaks for itself,” he says. “People will get that it’s real and honest.”
But Miguel’s hypnotizing eyes can’t hurt. So he turned up the sexy in early May while shooting the “All I Want is You” video. “I wanted to accomplish visually what I intend to accomplish in music,” he says, adding that the video has a “futuristic flair.”
Indeed, the future seems to be one main thing on this artist’s mind. The 23-year-old references “Outliers” author Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to cultivate greatness. Naturally talented, creative and aware, Miguel is well on his way.
Written by Shaira Brereton