After spending years behind the scenes, working the underground music world and writing for artists such as Jahiem and Asher Roth, Miguel—properly known as Miguel Jontel Pimentel—signed with Jive (now RCA) in 2007. Soon after releasing his hit debut single “All I Want Is You,” featuring Roc Nation artist, J. Cole, the mid-tempo ballad landed in the top ten of Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop charts. And just a short month after “All I Want Is You” made its way to the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Miguel’s follow-up track, “Sure Thing,” began to appear on charts, soon followed by his third single, “Quickie.”
While this San Pedro, CA native has only been in the eyes of the mainstream for two-and-a-half years, there was no question in Miguel’s mind that he was born to make it in this industry. “I don’t think I ever doubted [that I would make it],” says R&B’s eclectic soul singer. “I could never see anything else in myself. This was it for me.” But aware that singing may not have existed in another life, the half-Mexican, half-African-American musician admits that photography would be his career in a parallel universe. “I have a couple friends who are photographers; all of them shoot beautiful women all the time. It’s like you’re always shooting beautiful women, and it’s…art. What else could you ask for?” While explaining that photography would be the only other “medium” of art he would explore, the R&B sensation juxtaposes his life as a musician and would-be career as a photographer, and why one compliments the other. “When I write music, when I write songs, I’m staring at images.” He continues, “Images have inspired me, so I guess that’s the real reason I find photography and film, anything visual, really inspiring. But logically, what other medium are you gonna consistently meet women and still be creative?”
Not shy about his love for beautiful things, including women [and the women he keeps], Miguel says it’s imagery such as the sky that truly arouses his creative side. The California-bred soul singer has always been in love with music, but it was around the age of 13 that he decided to “seek the proper way to become a ‘professional recording artist’.” And now, a mere 13 years later, the R&B’s seemingly most fashionable artist has created a new wave of rhythm and blues that many can say they have not heard for years.
Recently releasing his sophomore album, Kaleidoscope Dream, Miguel is making his way to the top. Not only has his second project currently ranking No. 3 on the Billboard 200, but it’s taken over the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Fans worldwide have said that Miguel’s sound is taking R&B back to its roots, and helping the genre remember where it came from. When hearing such comments, the West Coast singer says all he wanted to was stay true to his soul. “The objective was to stay true to the soul that is always gonna be in my music,” he says. “In that, [I] create music that is an honest projection of who I am as an individual, and what I’m into. So when I hear that…I think what people are trying to say is that I’m staying true to the soulfulness and the creativity of what R&B music and soul music was—the R&B that inspired and created rock music and inspired and created hip-hop, which people forget…In that sense, I wave the flag for R&B because it’s a genre; it’s not a stereotype, you know.”
Looking beyond named genres and musical stereotypes; Miguel is excels far beyond the title of just another R&B singer. He’s funk; he’s pop; he’s soul; he’s style; and he’s timeless. There are not many male Rhythm & Blues artists that can say that these days—there aren’t many artists period. While the San Pedro vocalist may be creating new waves in music that go uncategorized, he’s helping fans remember what music was all about. Miguel is here for more than just a quick check, he’s a fan pleaser, a woman lover and a gentleman—and audiences worldwide are loving every second of it.