Miguel has reached new highs coming off of winning his first Grammy. He covers the latest issue of Billboard magazine where he talks a lot about his big night and working on his latest album, Kaleidoscope Dream. Check out a few excerpts from the interview below!
Congrats on winning your first Grammy. Since the award wasn’t televised, where were you when you found out?
I found out in the car as we were pulling up to the red carpet. It was an “Oh, shit” moment. I had my girl with me and it was like, “How crazy is that? And I get to perform?” It was just a great feeling.
When did you know that the performance was happening, and how did you arrange to start singing the song from the crowd?
A week-and-a-half out we knew that we could perform. I wanted to make an intimate thing but I had a bigger vision about the crowd. I got to tip my hat to [telecast producer] Ken Ehrlich-he really had the vision. I did want it to be a stripped-down performance, and it really was genius of him to put us in the aisle.
So you win the award, have a great performance, Kelly Clarkson shouts you out in her speech. How did you celebrate?
I stopped by the Sony party-had to do that to say thanks. I’ve been to these parties for years, but this seemed like the special night. I actually own something. I wasn’t just a part of it. So then I stopped by Chris [Brown]’s party to see Mark Pitts-he signed both of us; he’s like my mentor. Then I went to my room. I had a suite, and I had all my friends over and family and we just partied. I didn’t sleep until the next day, which was awesome.
You had written the song “Kaleidoscope Dream” with Salaam Remi almost two years before the full album came together. How did that ultimately determine the direction of the album?
I wanted it to be as edgy and alternative as my lifestyle. I don’t think I live the lifestyle that’s expected of a quote unquote R&B artist. I’m just not that dude. I don’t go to the club and pop bottles. I have my smooth moments, I suppose, but my life isn’t like that. Honestly, I don’t really listen to R&B music. I’m much more into lots of rock’n’roll. That juxtaposition was really important to highlight. Overall I wanted people to feel the way we would if we had a drink for the first time and we actually have a conversation. I wanted them to walk away knowing I wasn’t going to give them my deepest, darkest fucking secrets, but that there was some character to my personality. So that when you do have drinks with someone for the first time you can go, “You know what, this guy is kind of cool. I like where his head is at.”
Some of the songs are romantic, others are more overtly sexual. How much were inspired by your own seven-year relationship, and what does your girlfriend think of some of those songs?
“Pussy Is Mine” was not her favorite song. That whole song was freestyle. What makes it interesting is the juxtaposition of ego and vulnerability. It’s kind of rolled in this vulnerability, wanting to claim it — “Tell me that it’s mine” — but it’s also out of this vulnerable need: “I want to feel I’m the only one in this moment.” I’ve really been there. It felt like such an honest moment.
So, since you’re about to tour with Keys, you may know that her secret for voice lubrication is melted gummy bears. Do you have any rituals of your own for keeping that falsetto intact?
Nothing as good as that, but all-natural honey is my favorite. And then an apple before I go on. What are those pink and yellow ones? Honeycrisp. You know what else I like as an alternative? Nectarines. It’s a similar texture, especially when you get a good nectarine.
An artist you may have worked with is Beyonce. What’s the story behind that photo of you two in the studio last fall?
Have I worked with Beyonce? [laughs] I was really nervous to ask her, that was all, I just asked her to take a photo with me and she was really sweet about it. That’s all I can say. I’ve honestly never worked with Beyonce. It would be awesome, though, I would love that.
Hmm…he’s never worked with Beyoncé? That’s interesting…maybe he forgot about this?
“I just got word that I’ll be in [the studio] with Beyoncé tomorrow which is amazing,” Miguel said after performing Friday night (October 26). “I heard it from my team, and I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Are we talking about the Beyoncé? And after taking a second to confirm and double confirm and triple confirm, I’m excited to hear the direction of her new material, and hopefully come up with something that’s really special and really showcases her perspective.”