Miguel
2.10.2010

Unrapped: R&B Singer-Songwriter Miguel

When Usher seeks a songwriter to pen tracks for his upcoming album, Raymond v. Raymond, the final product better be amazing. According to Los Angeles crooner Miguel, it is. While he’s cementing his name in the music industry as a solo artist, Miguel also finds time to craft hits for the star.

The 22-year-old singer has been writing songs for Usher’s sixth studio album with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and the Avila Brothers, and was excited about a “dope concept” he wrote for the Grammy winner. “It’s been amazing seeing the album evolve,” Miguel tells Rap-Up.com. “It’s really valuable to see how something can flourish from beginning to end. Usher’s given me a lot of advice. I think the most resounding advice he’s given me is to stay true to myself.”

In an industry where male R&B singers are a dime a dozen, Miguel is blazing his own trail with a unique sound. The half-black, half-Mexican singer is making waves on the Internet with his track “Sure Thing,” which has over 7 million plays on his MySpace page. “MySpace has created a platform for my fans to know who I am,” he reveals. “Without it, I don’t know if my music would be able to reach such a broad audience.”

Miguel, whose sound is a mixture of smooth R&B, hip-hop, and rock, rounded out by distinctive production, got his start in music at eight years old after being inspired by his parents’ divorce. Today the R&B dream is readying his debut album, State of the Art, and collaborating with rap newcomers like Asher Roth. Miguel sang the hook on “His Dream,” a song featured on Roth’s debut, Asleep in the Bread Aisle. “A friend of his happened to produce some of the records on the album, and he was a mutual friend who thought it would be a really good look,” Miguel says. “I was honored to be a part of that, because it was a personal record for him.”

Working with such acclaimed artists as Usher and Asher Roth makes sense, considering Miguel is set on bringing a distinct approach to his brand, just as they have before him. “I’m all about individuality, so at the end of the day, I hope that people take that from my music.” Follow his lead.

–Arianna Davis