Miguel's first album, 2010's All I Want Is You, was nowhere near the smash his sophomore LP, Kaleidoscope Dream, was. Probably not coincidentally, the debut mostly featured M working with other producers and songwriters. Kaleidoscope Dream, like Wildheart, ended up hosting a ton of Miguel-produced cuts—including the immortal "Adorn." Pop and R&B artists who get right in the mix with the actual songwriting and production? The best.
No one can deny Miguel is a rising sex symbol—just look at Wildheart's intergalatic-erotic album cover. But what's particularly cool about his hunk status is that he's becoming one without falling into man-whore or playa territory. Miguel has risen to fame with his longtime girlfriend by his side the entire time. He and singer/model Nazanin Mandi are about to celebrate 10 years together—a rare example in the music biz of true love being stronger than money, cars and clothes. (And he still gets thousands of woman screaming his name every night. How about that?)
Don't waste any more time not watching Miguel and Nazanin get suuuper hot and heavy in the video for Wildheart single "Coffee (Fucking)":
Miguel and Jimmy Kimmel conspired on an amazing concept this week: Send the "Coffee" singer to an L.A. coffee shop to sing "Coffee" to a young lady who just wanted to get her coffee. We're not even sure she knew who Miguel was, but she was swooning by the end nonetheless.
Both with his music—"Don't Look Back" samples the Zombies 1968 humdinger "Time of the Season," for eff's sake—and with his performances. This stage jump at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards went pretty badly—and landed him a lawsuit—but Miguel was really shooting for the moon, and recovered damned fast.
If Miguel is dedicated to anything, it's communication..and representing that being your best self involves knowing yourself. Step two is to realize that whatever societal pressures exist, you should do what feels right—because that's the most artistic thing you can do. He expounded to Idolator:
"Like really, what is normal anyway? What the fuck does that mean? Once you free yourself of this idea of normality, the less likely you are to sacrifice what you believe in. Because you don’t care anymore, and you realize that normality is subjective and based on people’s perceptions, which is based on people’s own experiences, circumstances, fear, blah blah blah. Shit that has nothing to do with you! So why try and live up to those ideas that are not your own, that you had nothing to do with creating? So that’s why that conversation 'what’s normal anyway' is so important. It’s pivotal to Wildheart."
While he's an underrated dude in his field, Miguel also works closely with another R&B heavyweight too often overlooked—none other than the lovely Jessie Ware. Mig worked on two of the best songs off British songbird's excellent Tough Love album: The breathtaking "You & I (Forever)" along with the clever and flirtatious "Kind Of... Maybe... Sometimes."
And they seem like they have a blast doing it together. Jessie told Rolling Stone this hilarious story about how "You & I" came together:
"We both really like whiskey. The first line of the song is, 'Do I get lonely at all?/No, 'cause Jamie and Johnny and Jack keep me warm.' So that night we were like, 'Fuck yeah, let's celebrate, let's have whiskeys!' I had the worst hangover. Literally, I had Gatorade in one hand and salty fries in the other. I couldn't even speak. Head was pounding. And I had to write a song...I'm speaking the vocal because I was so hung over, but I think it kind of worked."
In a recent interview with Idolator, Miguel explained that his music is more about depth, less about appearances. Check it out:
"The intention of this album is to have a conversation with my audience about transcending adversity. There’s that journey of transcending, one of hope and desperation. You deal with your adversity and literally figure out, reassure, assure and confirm who it is you are, what you stand for, what you’re willing to sacrifice. And that kinda gives you hope and a direction. And that new direction gives you more adversity, that you couldn’t foresee, that in turn becomes hope, that in turn becomes desperation, and so on and so forth. So if that’s the truth, then I have to show my vulnerable side."