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Miguel's Steamy Musical Inspirations

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"I've definitely stopped in the middle of sex and recorded things."

R&B singer and songwriter Miguel gets creative whenever the mood strikes him. He has been heating up the airwaves with his newest album Kaleidoscope Dream, which received five Grammy nominations including Song of The Year for the single Adorn.

Miguel talked with Tell Me More host Michel Martin about his life-changing year as an artist. "This album Kaleidoscope Dream is a really great statement for the kind of artist that I hope to become. It showcases my eccentricities, my sensibilities," he says. "Also that I'm a soulful person and that I love soulful music without sacrificing my creativity or my perspective."

Riding the wave of creation

For Miguel, writing new music means going with the flow. "I guess the best analogy or comparison would be to surfing. You never really know how the wave is going to set up," he says. "You just kind of ride out there with your board and you wait for it and as it comes you just kind of ride the wave."

He says the inspiration has struck at some interesting moments. "I've definitely stopped in the middle of sex and recorded things."

Breaking out of "the bedroom"

While Miguel's songs can be steamy, he doesn't want to be confined to a stereotype of an soul music seducer. "I feel like R&B as a genre has become a caricature of itself," he says. "I get it all the time you know? Crooner, or sexy, or 'for the bedroom', or 'this album is sure to make the ladies swoon'. And it's like alright man my life isn't lived in the bedroom."

His interest in issues beyond romance is on display in songs like "Candles in The Sun." In that song, he explores topics ranging from poverty to war to drug addiction. Miguel was worried that his fans wouldn't follow him when his songs took a more serious turn. But he has been pleasantly surprised. "It's been so refreshing and such a blessing to discover that there are a lot of people out there who love soul music and who really enjoy and appreciate the fact that I even said anything about what's going on this album," he says. "I miss that from R&B music and it's cool to find people who miss it just as much as I do."

On what's next

Miguel kicked off his tour this fall and he's looking forward to meeting more of the people who are drawn to his work. He says that touring "is the best way for people to really connect with the music and the musicians behind the music and I love to connect with my fans."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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