Tue, 26 Jan 2010 09:17:17
"I'm always writing," says Miguel. "I like to drive and write at the same time. I get to write without thinking [Laughs]."
His system is definitely working. With a little bit of hip and a whole lot of soul, Miguel pops out one catchy chorus after another on tracks like "Sure Thing" and "Strawberry Amazing." He's got an incendiary live presence that could set stages ablaze and enough swagger to get any club bumpin'. 21st century pop has a new name, and it's Miguel.
On the eve of a big Los Angeles show, Miguel sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino to discuss tracks from his forthcoming debut, how to write a hit and finding inspiration in fruit…
You definitely blend hip hop and R&B very smoothly. However, it sounds like there's a hint of jazz underneath everything. Is that a fair statement?
I appreciate that, man! Good look! I'm glad you took the time out to listen to it, man. Thank you so much. I always start with a touch of honesty [Laughs]. I pull from a fairly broad palette of styles. I'm consistently listening to a lot of classic rock, indie rock, electronic music and funk. I'm always listening to soul—not too much R&B, but a lot of soul. I always start with the melody for the most part. I'm always, always writing. It might be a street that I pass by that will strike a tangent and go off into the wildest place. The cool thing about people in general is where a word or color might take you in your mind if you just let it wander. So I might start at "purple" and end up at "flowers." That's kind of an easy one. I'm always looking, watching and listening.
That's why it sounds ready for the stage.
I love playing live! I write with the crowd in mind more so now than I have in the past because I love playing so much. Before I was thinking, "What would I want to hear in my car?" Now, I write thinking, "What would I want to see live?"
That's the best place for your music to connect with people.
Absolutely! I'm learning [Laughs].
What's the story behind "Ooh Ah?"
I'm glad that you said that, that's dope [Laughs]. I write every song based on some truth of my life. That song rings completely true with my lifestyle. I don't know how else to say it. At the end of the day, it's effective to set yourself apart. If more artists were cognizant of being themselves and being individuals as opposed to trying to mimic or sound like something they've familiarized themselves, then they'd stand out more. There's a lot of independent music that stands alone. When it comes to the mainstream, I feel like it's lacking that individuality. My mantra is to promote individuality and not sound like everybody else.
What speaks to you about the single, "Sure Thing?"
Aside from the fact that it captured a moment in time for me and a real honest feeling, that song speaks to that emotion of love that is never failing. It's kind of like the hopeless romantic that's in each and every one of us. We all want to be connected to someone to the point where we feel like we belong together. It's that feeling that we go hand-in-hand, we were meant for each other and there's nothing in the world that could come between us. Deep down, we all have a place in our hearts for that, so that song speaks to that portion of our wanting.
Why "Strawberry Amazing" and not "Apple Amazing?"
Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits [Laughs]. I love fruit, period, but strawberries are definitely top three.
"Pomegranate Amazing" could've been cool…
[Laughs] That sounds like a great taste, but I don't know if it sings so well.
Maybe it's a remix?
We might have to try something different for the remix.
Actually, that fits. I'm Mexican so it kind of goes with the culture. It might work [Laughs]. I might go "Guava Amazing!"
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…