You seem to have the perfect level of fame. Your true fans recognize you, but you can walk down the street without commotion.
I want more fame. I really do. I’m not going to run away from that. A lot of people are like, "You want to be famous?” I’m like, “Yeah!” That’s one of the things I want. But I also want privacy. I don’t think that that’s something that can’t happen. I don’t think that’s impossible.


I want more fame. I really do. I’m not going to run away from that.


So you want Bieber-level mob scenes in your honor?
I’m enjoying getting there. Every once in a while I’m really tired, but I fucking love my fans. As a creative individual, all you ever really want is an audience for whatever medium. You want someone that’s going to pay some fucking attention and appreciate it. I appreciate when I walk down the street and someone is like, “Hey, you’re Miguel, right? Can I take a picture with you?” I’m always down.

What about the other side, the rumors and negative attention? That’s a part of the package, too.
It’s a double-edged sword. I’m not here to please or impress. I’m not looking for approval from anyone. Is positive attention welcome? Fuck yeah. But either way, I don’t take personal. Good or bad. The moment you let that stuff become important, that’s when you start to write music that doesn’t resonate with yourself.

I make music because I have to, whether I make a dollar from it or not. I have to do it. It’s just me. When I put it into perspective like that, the hierarchy of what’s important to my personal brand as a human being, what’s important is being creative. When I do that, I feel good. Do that and everything will be put into perspective. You can’t please everybody!

I heard you’re pretty intense in band rehearsals for shows.
Yeah. The process is, “Let’s get it right. And as many times as possible, so when we run into some bullshit on stage it doesn’t even phase us." I’m a lot more comfortable on stage now. At my bad shows, I’d just fixate on mistakes for hours. Now I’m a little cooler. And my band is thorough. It’s really easy to work with them. We kind of have a rhythm now. I arrange and let them embellish and pull stuff if we need to. It’s all about the overall sound.

I saw you backstage last year when you were opening for Marsha Ambrosius, about to step on stage. You ate an apple just seconds before stepping into the lights. Why?
At my better shows, I’ve had an apple or a nectarine right before. An apple clears the palette. Next time you eat an apple, you’ll notice that your voice just feels more clear. I learned that from someone.


I make music because I have to, whether I make a dollar from it or not.


What’s a bad show for you?
A bad show for me is one where I don’t feel connected in. Normally it happens when the sound is wrong. I can’t figure out why I’m not hearing certain things. I’m trudging through the show. I’m not connected with the people because I’m stuck on trying to figure out what’s wrong. And then it affects my vocal performance, then my overall performance. It’s a domino effect. Thank God it hasn’t been too bad.

Are there any featured guests on this album?
“Candles in the Sun” has Alicia [Keys] on it.

I didn’t hear her.
She’s just doing backgrounds.

How’d you get one of the biggest stars out to only do background vocals?
I wrote the song when I was in Jamaica opening for her. I played her the record and she loved it and wanted to cut it. It didn’t really work for her album. I was like, “Yes.” I’ve never written a song with the purpose of giving it to anyone else that I really wanted for me. Sorry, Alicia. I’m so glad she passed.

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