Artist of the week: Miguel
As an early bloomer, Miguel was 14 when he started writing songs and developing ideas with a four-track recorder, 15 when he signed a production deal with Drop Squad, 19 when he was recruited by independent label Black Ice and 21 when he finally closed a recording contract deal with Jive Records (though he would release his debut album only three years later due to breach of contract allegations). Meanwhile, he was writing songs for the likes of Jahelm and Usher, scoring his Grammy nomination for best R&B song and first Top 10 hit on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart.
But it was with 2012’s Kaleidoscope Dream that Miguel truly became a well-known and respected artist. The record featured an eclectic approach to R&B, incorporating pop, rock, funk and soul plus an array of electronic touches and psychedelic textures. It was also a very personal record, not only for its autobiographical lyrics, but also because he featured as a writer or co-wroting in all of its songs, being involved with much of the production.
Following a rather long array of guest spots on albums by Mariah Carey, J. Cole, Big Sean, Santana, Jessie Ware, Ludacris and A$AP Rocky, Miguel is finally back with his much-anticipated third album. Though it is true that Wildheart accentuates his obsession towards sex-related subjects, it is an album that expands his musical palette in such a way that it starts to make less sense to compare him with R&B icons such as R. Kelly or Chris Brown than to articulate his body of work with the one from Afro-American visionary creators such as d’Angelo and Kendrick Lamar.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.