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As a sight for sore eyes in the front row of celebrated designer houses between Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, the singer and songwriter Miguel has entered the arena of Superstars in the United States – even if he might be still a sleeper for Europe and Asia. A reason for that: he is no way getting converted into a product of the industries as he remains true to himself establishing his very own music and songwriting. With his third album Wildheart he confirmed what he has proven best, who he is: the new rockstar of RnB emerged from a modest soul singer to a wayward artist. 

As part of his Wildheart-Tour Miguel came to Germany, where he already is a household name as he has a huge diverse fan base here as well since his song „sure thing“. He knows how to entertain especially the women, when he performs on stage with his sexy and rocky attitude, simultaneously asking his fans to promise to not fit into the norm before performing „what’s normal anyway“. Dressed in white leather Miguel has become a star, who is able to fill the space. With a topless body he sings himself into the hearts of his audience. And he knows to dance with the Crotch-Grab. Like an angel from Los Angeles, who likes to sin. His album is a matter of sin and love anyway. And his whole album is a book of poems. Before the concert in Frankfurt, I met inside of the tourbus in contrast a too boyish to be 30, but too grounded to be not handsome down-to-earth but charismatic Miguel.You might inhale every word that comes from a “free spirit and a wild heart”. In our interview for AMY&PINK, answering like a poet, speaking like a singer, Miguel gave us the chance to join his thoughts on his album Wildheart, L.A. and his very own personal journey of life and love.

To start with your album…What’s a wildheart? Or who carries a Wildheart?

Everyone is a wildheart to me. I think everyone has it in them. I think it’s about knowing what you want enough to actually do it. One of the most challenging things especially in this point of time is to take timeout enough for yourself to figure out what you believe in and what you stand for and what you really want out of life. And kind of defining things that are universal like happiness, and love and success. For yourself. Than you have a direction to move into. Kind of a setting, a heading rather. And than you point your intention, and you point your heart and you point your mind on those directions. And than it takes action to move there and to accomplish it. It’s the same way like.. no bodybuilder decides ‚I wanna be a bodybuilder‘ and goes in this hundreds and hundreds pounds. They start with small weight and they work up to it. The kind of courage that really knowing who you are and being who you are requires, is something that is accomplished with repetition and consistency you know.
Wildheart is about just doing it and understanding that sometimes what you do may not be understood by the outside world. And to them it may seem wild, to them it may seem unworthy, it may not be pleasurable for them, but their opinion has no bearing on your life and the kind of memories that you are creating for yourself and how you are feeding your spirit. So Wildheart is everyone, it’s about each individuals journey to their own place of happiness and self-fulfillment.
And what did let reach you to the point to feel like this?

I suppose… I have always had a very strong idea what I wanted to do in my purpose in this life. I have always been in love with music and I was able to use it the best to express myself and to feel connected with other people. So for me I was fortunate in that, I kind of had a heading. I kind of new what I wanted in that way. We are sometimes pooled in life so far of our on course that we forget what we really want to do. I was fortunate enough, I didn’t let that happen to me.
But if you think along the way there were other adversities that I had to deal with. The understanding or acceptance of my individuality is one of them I think. It took a very long time for me to really accept for my own and as well as trying to figure out how to relate to people, how to get people relate to me. That’s something that I’m now discovering, which is beautiful to have a new point of communality with my fans. Because now I feel they understand a little bit more about what god means at this place and why I am and act and move and sing and create music the way I do.
And how much my surroundings and my circumstances and my ethnicity and my background really contributes to all those things. I feel very blessed in my Wildheart-journey.
You spoke about your surroundings, the circumstances. In the introduction of your song “what’s normal anyway‘ during your tour in the U.S. you have been talking about your Mexican and Afro-American background. The video to the gig shows that your fans welcomed the conversation about that topic. Do you still feel the need to talk about skin-color, racism, discrimination?

As human beings we have the tremendous need to identify ourselves with something. And that in itself is a beautiful thing. I think identity is important and wanting to feel a part of something greater than yourself is very human. But therein lies an interesting problem at times. Because when you start to identify with something it is very easy to ostracize yourself from other things. And than judge other things. That’s what’s happening. It’s a very timeless issue. Being judgmental of other peoples races and cultures is something that is happening throughout the history of humankind unfortunately. I think it is important to talk about those things still and it will be until some point of time. Human culture transcends micro cultures or cultures that are dictated by regions and ethnicities.
When our society is elevated to an awareness that there really is no separation based on skin tone, or location on this earth, or what have you, that we all generally want the same things. We all want things like happiness, success for ourselves. We want love for ourselves, we want empathy from each other. These are very universal things. When our consciousness has a society transcends the eye and we in a region than the conversation doesn’t need to happen anymore. There’s a unified consciousness. I don’t think we are very close to that yet. The great thing is that we live in a time where issues that are seen regional can be broadcasted on a world stage now. And we have to face them. When people like Donald Trump say very ignorant things about other races, the world sees it now. When refugees are not allowed to certain countries or they are kicked out, the world sees it now. We have address it. I do think it’s important and it will be for a long time.
You have been at the show of Kanye West in September in New York. He is also a musician with a wide audience discussing these kind of problems. Would you agree that there can be a change or influence as an artist regarding the black/white issue?
I think there is discrimination on all levels of society, on all levels of business, all levels of economics. There is discrimination against race, against sexual orientation, against being male or female. It happens on many different levels with discrimination. It happens.
Weather or not they are the real reason for certain decisions being made that’s hard to say, but I think we all see discrimination happening around us. So it is not hard to found them in all these places.
Do you think art can affect a change? Do you experience a change when you perform “what’s normal anyway?”
Even if you watch television now at least in the States. I can’t really speak for here. But television in the States has changed our perception in accepting things like transgender people or transvestites – “Trans”, that word alone. Our perception and our knowledge as Americans has changed so much by the media coverage of it. Even prior to that, the broadcasting of homosexual relationships and it being showed on television and commercials.
There is a broader acceptance now. So do I believe media and art can affect a change? I absolutely agree. Once it is brought to a broader stage, it becomes the status quo, or that what is okay by the media, than people will just accept.
I would like to talk with you about the video of your song simple things. Gigi Hadid is your video girl. Why did you chose her?
At the time Gigi was still emerging and my creative partner, someone I work really really close with, Jasmine Benjamin, actually put me on to Gigi and was like: she is amazing. She is going to be really big. And I was like “she is beautiful, she’d be perfect for the part”. So it happened that she heard the music before, and was into my music. And she was available. It just kind of worked out.
On your album there are songs like “The Valley” (editor’s note: Hub of Porn-Industry) , where you talk really freely about sexuality, your emotions. Does is happen that you feel frightened sometimes or are just you comfortable with it?
No, I’m very comfortable with it. laughing It’s very much a part of my personality. It’s one part of my personality. I think sexuality is very human, and I think creative people somehow happen to be very sexual. laughing All the artists that I know seem to be very sexual. Their way of expressing is unique to them obviously. It is a very human thing and very normal think to discuss. I often wonder, if people understand the depth of which sometimes I speak of intimacy or if they understand it’s not just… searching for the right word…superficial. “The Valley” is all about the energy. It’s all about the aggressiveness and I think it’s a part of my personality that I haven’t got to show yet in that context. It’s cool to show your personality in the way in which you create. Obviously because I am a very sexual being, sexuality is going to be always a part of the things that I create. I just want that people understand that it’s not just about, what I am saying, It’s about, how I’m saying it and the music around it and how it makes you feel.
Lot’s of RnB music is digital, do you avoid to get influenced by certain music trends. Of course it’s for-profit.
We were just talking about it. I don’t know. I feel like I’m on No man’s land. As far as like where my music is and where it’s going and what is happening around, sometimes I’m like ‚Do people even get (the music)?‘ Because I’m also realizing it’s kids, kids with no point of reference. They’re hearing what’s on the radio now, and the music now. Are they really understanding where this stuff is coming from? To answer your question: I don’t think it’s intentional, it just feels right to me and what I want to hear. Songs like “The Valley” are completely digital. There is not a single instrument on the record. I pretty much do, what feels real to me.
So you have an inner voice that you listen to…
…Absolutely…
…to be who you are. How come you developed this kind of thinking, and being yourself?
Here is the thing: the conscious mind is tricky. Our mind is constantly computing and ingesting information that we see, hear, so all our senses are feeding this information. At times the conscious mind gets in the way of the instincts. I think the best music always comes from the instinct, what’s real to you. The conscious mind can get in the way. For me, for a long time, it was a battle between god instinct and the conscious mind trying to rationalize that they are not going to understand that. “Is that too this, or is that too this, or is it not enough that?” And that was the conscious mind questioning as supposed to me trusting my instinct. That’s an eternal thing that everyone deals with in their own way.
When you grow up, the mind gets more clearly… so you grew up in California.
Los Angeles.
In many of the videos we see Los Angeles. How did Los Angeles influence your music and your vision?
Los Angeles is a very interesting place, where you find so much hope and beauty and brilliant inspiration. And yet it’s somehow always in contrast with desperation and failure and broken dreams. It’s just like.. It’s a weird combination of those two things. People come from all over the world to Los Angeles to become… ss..stars you know. And for a handful of people it does happen. It does. And it is a place, where it can very much happen, but for the most part it doesn’t. Because of the dynamic of this tremendous opportunity and the tremendous sense of failure, that you could fail, if you didn’t really make it there, it creates an interesting dynamic of personalities and energy that you give off. For me growing up there I’ve doubt with a lot of people.
It’s a lot of interesting energy. People wanting to be a part of an industry and pretending to be something that they are not. And people who actually do things, who don’t have to pretend it at all and are very calm and very just normal. That really prepared me for a lot of unforeseen circumstances and situations and problems and what have you, that come with pursuing something you believe in against the odds. It’s very much contributed in my ability to believe and it also contributed in my temperament, and the way that I am with people. And it shows in my music.
Do you still live there?
I do, yeah.
How do you feel when you come back from Paris or New York? Is it still home or do you feel the energy?
The thing is: I really (need to) get enough time to spend in a place to really, really get the full energy. When I realize by walking around, bike riding in the city, it really kind of gives you a sense, what it feels like and then I realize that there is so much more to really understand a city. I think you have to spend time in a space to really get the vibe, and how it moves. Even the culture and how the people are. I would say I spend more time in Paris and more time in London than any other European city. I can feel, where it is similar to my hometown and I can feel, where it’s very different, which is nice. Variety is awesome. That’s what life is about.
And when you sing face the sun, do you have someone in mind?
No.. face the Sun was written with something in mind. And it will always be, what I am seeing in my head, when I’m performing, but it’s different every night because of the energy and the room. The message of the show is about being wildheart and about following and being, who you are. Face the Sun really is a song about being true to your journey and realizing that sometimes you will be carried off your wander, but in the end of the day you always know, where you belong. When whatever it is, that takes you away from that, wears off, you will realign yourself of that in the right direction. The general message of the show is about that.
You seem to have defined to yourself, what love and being yourself is about. What do you think is the essence of love?
Aah…the essence of love…
What holds it together?
I think it is a number of things. Love is patience. It is not selfish. Love will work at it. I don’t know what the word would be for that, but it requires maintenance. It requires upkeep. Love is patience and it is.. what is it, when you respect someone? It is that. I think the essence of real love is patience and respect. That kind of informs the decisions in the relationship. Whatever the dynamic is; if it is a romantic or if it is friendship, if it is family, whatever kind of love it is. Patience and respect both are the essence.
How comes that you think about these things a lot? Or is it just you?
No, no, no. I think it is a bit of a lot of things. How you are raised, it’s experience, it’s taking the time to figure it out for yourself and I think it is a combination of all those things.
Thank you, Miguel, so much for your exceptional words.
First published on www.amypink.de in German on 18th of January 2016

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