Last night, as part of KCRW’s intimate Apogee Sessions series, soulful Miguel put on a show that was a celebration of many things, but most importantly, identity.
The minute the band hit the stage the energy was evident, as Miguel – channeling a young Michael Jackson with the head bops and fancy footwork – glided from point a, to point b with ease. Songs performed were off his current release Wildheart, in addition to some of his classics including “Sure Thing” and “Adorn”.
Miguel kicked things off with his band in high gear with his 2012 hit “The Thrill”. The sometimes double time/half time beat set off the vibe with Miguel’s signature vocal style and harmonies. “Hollywood Dreams” was an homage to Los Angeles with certain music breaks that included Miguel’s soft cadence of city streets that make up his home city.
Following the first set, Garth Trinidad pressed Miguel to discuss his incorporation of sexuality in the artist’s music. Miguel replied on how the yin and yang of ego and selflessness are constantly battling it out during the act of… however that’s what makes it all so special to him, causing women in the crowd to sigh in joy.
But it was the song “What’s Normal Anyway?” that led Miguel to to preface with his own experiences of having to face the dreaded ethnicity checklist as a kid. He was never happy with checking the “other” box which inspired him to pen this cut, and addresses the duality of a young African American/Latino who liberates himself of appeasing his different groups of friends, and finds truth in being true to himself.
One of the joys of watching Miguel is his constant utilization of the stage. There is no doubt we see the channeling of Prince or the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, when Miguel is able to maneuver around and over the mic, as well as, step away from the mic and still commit to vocals that are still audible to the audience.
In closing, Miguel concluded the show with his 2012 release “Adorn” off of Kaleidoscope Dream causing the audience to two step from left to right. It was great to see the bridging of cultures and observations from this young artist, but to also connect the spirit of the past with these new sounds of soul. Miguel’s R&B is separate from the rest, it comes from an authentic space as heard on his current single “Coffee”. It’s not your typical club hit, but rather a playful usage of metaphors that explores lust, passion and being wild at heart.
All photos by Dustin Downing
*Going to Hell
INTERVIEW WITH GARTH TRINIDAD
*What’s Normal Anyway
*Face the Sun
*off the new album Wildheart
Miguel – Vocals
Dru DeCaro – Keys
Kevin Hastings – Keys
Jayme Silverstein – Bass
RJ Kelly – Drums
Laura Escunde – Playback/DJ