During the past decade R&B has had its fair share of critics. The once illustrious genre, birthed from the wonderful sounds of Jazz, Blues and Gospel has been scorned for its more recent commercial dance-infused direction.
Cue Miguel, a singer/songwriter of Mexican/American decent, is currently making some of most credible R&B music to be heard in years. Perhaps boxing Miguel in the R&B category is unfair, his music is a mix of different sounds birthed from his love of Rock, Soul and Hip-Hop and clearly not constrained by genre nor convention.
Kaleidoscope Dream is Miguel's second and most polished project to date which features one of the records of the year, Adorn. If you are expecting 11 tracks themed heavily on love and romance then prepare to be disappointed as Kaleidoscope Dream is so much more than that.
One dimensional Miguel is certainly not, so expect to hear songs representing all aspects of the artist's personality; songs addressing social circumstance, songs focussing on self-analysis, songs celebrating the feeling before a great night out as well as songs based around love.
Yo! Raps recently caught up with Miguel at 1xtra Live.
You have just released your second album, can you explain to our readers what you mean by Kaleidoscope Dream?
Kaleidoscope Dream is a metaphor for life. I think everyone has their own Kaleidoscope Dream made up of their experiences, their choices, their sensibilities and so on. This album is the quintessential sound of my life. The purpose was to describe the pace, the drive and the emotion of my life. I want people to get in tune with who I am.
One thing that stood out for me in the album was the range of different sounds used. A few of the tracks almost had a psychedelic Rock sound to them. Would you say this something to do with your musical influences?
Absolutely. Even now I still listen to Queen, The Beatles and the Police and I Think you can hear all those influences on the album in juxtaposition with all my other influences from Soul and Hip-Hop.
That was evident from your show tonight. Most R&B artists will simply stand behind the microphone but you were jumping around the stage and even into the crowd. Is that something you try and bring to every show?
That is just what I feel. That's what makes live performance my favourite part of music, I get to be in the moment and let the music guide me, there’s no smoke and mirrors or hiding places on the stage.
Your first album was All I want Is You, which was released after some problems with your label. How would you say your music has grown since that project?
I think more than anything I've grown. Even when I signed the music was three years old and then I had to wait another three years to put the music out! You can imagine how much growing a human being does over even one year, so extrapolate that over six years and imagine how your perspective and decisions change. This album is a direct reflection of the growing I did between putting the first album out to the new one.
You released your new album in three parts. What was the thinking behind that?
What I did was present the album in courses like a master chef would. The reason I did that was because a lot of us do not have enough time to enjoy albums all the way through. Were always being bombarded with so much music from so many different artists sometimes it’s hard to sit down and just listen. I wanted to make it more accessible and appealing to people who live a fast-paced life so we did it like this.
Songs like Adorn and Sure Thing must have women falling at your feet. Describe Miguel's perfect woman.
First, I want to say this album especially is not so much about women. As much as romance is a huge part of my life I don’t live my life in the bedroom. There are songs on the album like Candles In The Sun, which is about social commentary and what is going on in the world. The Thrill is about that indescribable feeing that the night is going to be amazing. Where's The Fun In Forever' is addressing the face that at some point you realise you are not invincible, and still feeling good about that and not letting it get you down. This album isn’t that stereotypical R&B album, it’s time to transcend the stereotype of what R&B is.
Back to my woman! [Laughs] I'm really as meticulous and as picky as I am when it comes to women. It’s more about confidence, oh and an amazing sense of humour.
I recently heard the Adorn (Remix) with Diddy and French Montana. How did that collaboration materialise?
They did that on their own! Shout out to Ted Smooth who did that. I remember French Montana hitting me like, “We did a crazy remix to your joint”.' He sent it to me a couple of days later and I was blown away man. It was genius to put the song over the Get Money beat, it’s definitely hands down my favourite remix of any of my songs to date.
Finally, when you look back on your career what would you like to have achieved?
- By J David