Mary J. Blige's Opening Act Opens Up!
Ever wonder what it's like to travel with royalty? Well, up-and-coming R&B singer Miguel got the chance to not only open for the Queen Of Hip Hop Soul on her recent Music Saved My Life tour but he was also joined by legend El Debarge and Grammy-nominee Jazmine Sullivan and he just departed on Usher’s OMG tour. Having heard much buzz about the ByStorm/Jive artist -- his debut album, All I Want Is You, drops November 30 -- I decided to catch him before he left and see where he's at. Want more? Visit officialmiguel.com
UsMagazine.com: So, I heard you completed your first US Tour opening for Mary J. Blige. What was the experience like for you?
Miguel: It was amazing. I went from playing for 300-500 people venues to a 5000+ venue every night, and on top of that, sharing a stage with people like Mary J. Blige. Jazmine Sullivan, and El Debarge. It was a great experience.
US: Wow! What was the crowd reaction?
M: Whether or not I am performing for one person or performing for thousands of people I have a gift that was given to me and it is my job to give everything every time. Every night I get to find 2 or 3 people that I connect with on a personal level, and I go out there every time with that being the intention --that I touched someone and their emotions are real to me. I want them to remember this moment for the rest of their life. That's the reaction I get and even if it is one person I know that I did my job.
US: Great! Did Mary J. Blige? Did she give you any advice?
M: She just said 'don't stop You know what you are doing and who you are. So just do it. Don't let people come and try to mold you into what they think. Don't conform to that.’
US: What was the most memorable moment from opening for her?
M: The first show we did in D.C. where all of us were actually there. It was really great having all of us on the same stage. We also did an end of the tour dinner where I was beatboxing and harmonizing with El Debarge.
US: So what should we expect from your first album?
M: You can expect that it will be different from most urban and R&B that has been out. It is not redundant the way R&B has become. There are a lot of elements from classic rock to indie rock -- a clash of hip hop, funk, and electronic music that I've deliberately infused to separate myself from what has become the status quo of R&B.
US: How would you describe your sound then?
M: This album will be the most R&B music that I'll make. I wouldn't describe it as R&B.
US: And how much of the material on the album did you write?
M: I wrote every lyric, but I didn't produce. I left the producing to the professional this time. I stuck to the writing side on this album.
US: Where do you draw your inspiration when you write?
M: My inspiration is just everyday life, especially when writing for other artists. I try to put myself in their position and see the world from their perspective. I think that's what makes it the fun challenge, to writing for other people. When it comes to writing for myself, it's more about getting myself into a vulnerable state and open to being vulnerable and writing that wave of emotions and capturing that. It is like capturing lightning in a bottle every time.
US: What do you enjoy the most: singing, writing, or producing?
M: I couldn't answer that question only because I like to describe myself as an artist that happens to be able to write and sing. If I couldn't do either one of those things I would be creative in other ways. Any other medium. I am just an artistic person. So because when it comes to my music singing and writing have so much to do with me being creative and being an artist. It is really hard to choose. They are one and the same when it comes to being an artist.
US: Is there something that you have had the luxury of doing now that you didn't expect?
M: Being able to get off one tour and getting on another tour back to back. it is such a luxury because I have spent so much time in the studio. It seems like now I have no time because I am always on stage or on the phone or talking about my music. It's good to be able to be on the other side of it and being able to connect with people on a more personal level. May not be unexpected, but I've actually been able to experience it in a real focused manner.
US: Your debut single, "All I want is You" is doing pretty well on the charts. What are you feelings on that?
M: It is pretty cool that the single is charting and getting some attention because it is such a personal record. It is really special to me and it's nice that it is resonating with people and their emotions are in the song to the point where they are requesting on the radio.
US: What do you anticipate will be different opening for Usher compared to Mary J. Blige?
M: Besides from the size of the crowd, I think the demographic would be just a little different. It might range a little more as far as age and ethnicity. Every night I get to open up the show and I am there to set the tone. I intend on going out there and setting the bar high. People paid to see Usher and Trey Songz and I intend for them to remember me and who I am.
US: In the past, you have worked with Usher on his album and now you are about to go on tour with him. Is he someone you look up to?
M: Usher is like my mentor. He has been in the business since he was fourteen and he has so much experience and knowledge of the ins and outs of this business. He is very intent on me knowing that if I ever need anything I can call him. He expects the most from me. He expects me to rise to the occasion
US: What else should we look forward to from you?
M: Look forward to being surprised. Look forward to a show. my band and I all come together and it is a lot of energy. I might pull out the guitar and sing to you by myself. So that you know the vocal is honest and there aren't any vocal effects. It is all honest and it is coming from a real place.