We're celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with Future Hispanic History Month, which will highlight rising stars who are creating history before our very eyes. Today we are honoring Miguel, who has been successfully shifting the sound of modern R&B.
The singer, who is Mexican and Black, made his debut into the genre with 2010's All I Want Is You. The album didn't do much to set Miguel apart from the Trey Songz, Jeremihs and The-Dreams of that era, but he took incredible strides to prove that he was more than your standard R&B crooner with his stunning follow-ups, 2012's Kaleidoscope Dream and last summer's Wildheart.
Miguel's artistry is a fusion of Prince, D'Angelo, Jimi Hendrix and Lenny Kravitz (who he's previously collaborated with), but he displays his inspiration in a way that isn't a blatant ripoff. The singer cannot be placed in a single category; he transcends the R&B genre by incorporating funk, neo-soul, blues, psychedelic rock, electronic, rock and pop to create a uniquely modern sound that cannot be touched.
Throughout his career, Miguel has become the frontrunner of the new wave of R&B artists. He is unapologetically raw, isn't afraid to get explicitly sexual and oozes passion in every single song he records. His 2012 double-platinum single "Adorn" is a modern take on Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing," with its blips and coos warming your soul. Kaleidoscope Dream's "Pussy Is Mine" is a stripped-down ode to his girl's lady parts, 2015's "Coffee" is beautifully intimate and Wildheart's "NWA" is a rugged gangsta anthem.
Miguel's known for creating tunes with unrestrained sexuality, but there is a different side to him that he's decided to share recently. "What's Normal Anyway," a deep cut on Wildheart, is an autobiographical look at his biracial struggles growing up. He sings:
"Too proper for the black kids, too black for the Mexicans / Too square to be a hood n---a, what's normal anyway? / Too opinionated for the pacifist, too out of touch to be in style / Too broke for the rich kids, I don't know what normal is"
Miguel is now using his platform to spark important conversations, especially with the ongoing police brutality affecting black Americans. Earlier this summer, he shared a demo titled "How Many," which is inspired by Black Lives Matter. A day later, the artist placed his emotions on his sleeve during London's Wireless Festival. “We can’t let shit just blow over and not take action anymore," he told the audience. "Look, our children will inherit this Earth when we’re gone. What are we leaving for them?”
Miguel already mastered the music world, and he will be making his Hollywood debut next year in Ben Affleck's crime film Live By Night. It will be exciting to find out what world he plans to conquer next.
Below, watch a throwback Fuse chat where Miguel talks being biracial and challenging R&B: