By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Though it spawned a handful of solid R&B hits, including "Sure Thing" and the J. Cole–featuring title track, All I Want Is You didn't quite capture the distinctive wrinkles in Miguel's sound. There's one track, "Pay Me," that feels like a flimsy attempt to reproduce the Euro-house thump of Ne-Yo's "Closer."
"Being new to the industry, I think I let people who had experience guide me," Miguel now says of his debut. "And after that learning experience, I came to the conclusion that you always have to go with your gut."
That's why, he notes, he did the Art Dealer Chic EPs, which take more sonic chances, and which contain some of the songs that ended up on Kaleidoscope Dream. "That was me wanting to reconnect with my peers — the people I hang out with, who go to the same shows and read the same blogs and drink the same liquor as me," he says.
It's probably safe to infer what kind of people he's talking about from the rave reviews he's received in hipster reads such as Spin and Pitchfork.
Now that Miguel has reconnected with his core, he has set his sights on folks who might not go to those shows or drink that liquor. "I get to use this [major-label] machine that's not necessarily used to promoting gray-area shit to reach people who only know black-and-white shit," he says. "It's a great opportunity to educate people, not ... only about myself, but lemme somehow broaden your palate and reprogram your perspective so that you might check out a different kind of artist."
Back inside the climate-controlled studio on Sunset, the members of Miguel's band have arrived and are beginning to tune up for rehearsal. There's some exhaustion in the singer's face from the seemingly endless promotion required of him. But there's excitement, too.
"That's what's cool about being an artist," he says. "You have this opportunity to take your audience somewhere they may not have taken themselves."
You get to take yourself somewhere, too.
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