Miguel the Singer

With 2015 firmly in the rearview mirror, now it’s time to look back at what happened last year in the Latino music scene. A most notable experience during this period was Miguel’s debut 28-city American headlining tour. For those not familiar with the faces of the new wave of rhythm and blues, Miguel is the mononym of Miguel Jontel Pimentel, a Chicano singer born in 1985 in Los Angeles.

Since starting his career, Miguel has released three albums: “All I Want Is You” (2010), “Kaleidoscope Dream” (2012) and “Wild heart” (2015). Miguel said that his tour to promote “Wild heart” was “wild and fun” but it appears that it wasn’t as wild as his infamous antic popularly known as the “Miguel Leg Drop.”

The “Miguel Leg Drop” occurred during the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas in May 2013. In the middle of his performance, Miguel took an clumsy and awkward jump between the stage and a platform located amid of the crowd, partly landing over a couple of female fans, one of whom claimed to have suffered traumatic brain damage and the other sued him seeking compensation for her medical bills to treat her pain and suffering resulting from  the incident.

Three months later the artist continued his wild ways when he was arrested in the wee hours of the morning for speeding his luxurious BMW X6 while heavily intoxicated with alcohol. He was set free on a $5,000 bail. 

This past year Miguel told USA Today reporter Patrick Ryan that while in his tour rider he prefers to drink an explosive combination of “tequila and vodka and whiskey.” The booze gives him the buzz to achieve his “creative moments,” he said. As an aside to his legal drug use and abuse problems, Miguel advocates a healthy lifestyle based on practicing transcendental meditation and eating nutritionally dense foods such as almonds, seeds, quinoa, salsa, pineapples, mangoes and apples. But for the musician, timing is everything. “I don’t normally like to drink or smoke or anything before a show. I want to be completely present and in the moment with the fans and share it,” he added. “My intention is to be 100 percent present.”

The question arises as to whether or not Miguel suffers from split personality, playing Mr. Edward Hyde offstage and Dr. Henry Jekyll onstage, criterion based on Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel about the division between the public and private spheres of an individual. Thus, some consideration must be given to what does he sings about in his albums. According to Latina music-critic Melissa Leon, sex oozes off almost every track on “Wildheart.” Its songs “Coffee,” “The Valley” and others contain lyrics that aren’t totally family-oriented, with lines such as “Drugs, sex, and polaroids” being one of the milder ones. 

Miguel brags about his sexual aggressiveness and his shows are proof positive of his sex appeal. “Miguel, I don’t know who the hell you are but…  that was the sexiest damn thing I’ve ever seen,” said “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson after listening the singer perform “Adorn.” Then, Mariah Carey latched on to Miguel for their single “#Beautiful.” Not to be outdone, Beyonce also hooked up with Miguel in their collaboration “Rocket,”  aimed at showcasing her sexuality. 

Besides dealing with uninhibited sex and drugs, Miguel finds time to delve into religion and politics, to form a potent quadrilateral, citing John Lennon as his influence. Indeed, Miguel’s music video “Candles in the Sun” questions the existence of God and its usually attributed male gender. It goes on to address societal ills such as homelessness, unemployment and violence. “Business and governments just watch as the innocent fade. / Mindless bureaucracy fails, hindering government aid” are one of the most powerful words in his video. It seems unlikely that Miguel will be allowed to sing at a Super Bowl anytime soon.

About the author: Miguel Balbuena is a writer in the academic, scientific, journalistic and literary fields (in the fiction and non-fiction genres).

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