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on the front lines of cultural chaos since 1984.
With smooth, soul-tinged pipes, a croony single -- "All I WantIs You" featuring J. Cole -- making its way around the web, andsongwriting credits for current king of R&B, Usher, 23-year-old singer Miguelhas quite a burgeoning career in his hands. PAPERMAG recently caught upwith the rising star, who, with the likes of performers like JanelleMonae, is putting R&B music back on the map, as he was cruisingaround in LA. Below, we discuss his new album, All I Want Is You and his impressive ability to make dolphin sounds.

Can you sum up your sound in one sentence?


Mymusic sounds like fly, funkadelic, intergalactic-hip-hop-meets-sexy-orgasmic crazy, dope shit. I don't know man, how do yousum up a sound in a sentence?

You're readying your debut album, All I Want Is You. What's going to set you apart from everyone else?

Style-wise, across the board,I think individuality is what separates me. I'm not afraid to be who Iam. And I'm not trying to follow what everyone else is doing just to berelevant.  I'm in love with my music -- that's what separates me fromothers.

Tell me about your songwriting process. What do you think makes a great song?
 
Simplicity.There's something profound about simplicity. I think all of my favoritesongs where it's not so much how much is being said, but saying it withwith the least amount of words. And, obviously, simple melodies and greatguitar riffs make a great song. Simplicity and beingconcise. 

What's one song that describes Miguel?

"GoodThoughts, Bad Thoughts" by Funkadelic. There are so many lines that arejust amazing. I really wanna get the entire lyrics tattooed on myself.One of the lyrics is "free your mind and your ass will follow." It's sosimple, but it's so true. 

Youare blowing up thanks to working the underground scene through amix tape and word of mouth. Was this is a strugglefor you?
 
I think life has a way ofgoing through struggles just to make you more resilient so when you getto where you're trying to go you set bigger goals for yourself. That'swhat life is about -- progress and evolution I was rejected just likeevery other artist who's fought their way to be where they are and I'vegot a long way to go. That's just a part of life, not just music.

What keeps you going?

Passion, creativity and inspiration.

Tell me about the day you signed with JIVE.

Itwas very, very low key. I remember I signed my record deal contract ina very small room in a very small office in a small corner of thebuilding at Jive at the time. It was exactly how it was supposed tohappen. Somehow life was telling me, "Okay, you got here, but this isnothing. You'resupposed to be here, you're supposed to do this, but there's biggerthings. Don't think like, 'This it it, I've made it.'" It was a greatday though. We went out and partied that night. 

What do you think of today's music? Are we finally tired of the vapid pseudo R&B mush and ready for some raw talent?

It'skind of like when you're a kid, if all your friends are at McDonalds then you have no inclination for steak and potatoes or salmon. Whenall you're being fed is junk, sometimes it's hard to be aware of whatelse is out there. But I think when people do discover really great,honest music, regardless of whether it's R&B or hip-hop or indierock, people cling to substance -- to actual honesty. Honest music,honest art. Everyone is ready for it, it's just about them being opento finding it for themselves. And what I hope toaccomplish with my music is to open minds to what else is out there.I'd love to be a bridge for a mainstream audience to all the great indie music that is out there. Sometimes it just doesn't make it to the masses like itshould.

How is it working and writing songs for other artists?
 
It'sjust dope to get in. I only really got to write for Usher. He let meinto his creative space and we got to vibe and learn hiscreative process. But that experience alone is so valuable andreally dope because there's ways of creating that we just don't exploreon our own. And it takes stepping out of yourself a little bit toembrace other ways of creativity. It's just really dope, a greatopportunity. Hopefully other artists will wanna work with me later on.

Has Usher offered you any great advice?

To just keep doing what I'm doing. When you find something that you love to be able to have the courage to say "Fuck you, this is what I love and I'm gonna do it." And that'swhat Usher meant when he said it. "Yo, just keep doing what you'redoing. Just do it."

If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

JamesBrown. There's so much to learn from that man.He is the beginning for so many great artists. He was really the lastinnovator for me when it comes to soul. I would also love to sit down with Edison because he'sone of the last really original innovators at the very cutting edge ofthings. He opened our worlds and our minds to the possibilities of thethings we can take advantage of now. 

Who's your favorite famous person to follow on Twitter?

Russell Brand is pretty funny... and random. And thedude from Reading Rainbow. Reading Rainbow is the shit.

You sing, you dance, you play guitar. Any other secret talents? 
Ican click a dolphin. I can really click like a dolphin. (Hedemonstrates).

Is there anything you can't do?
I can't play the piano and the sing at the same time. Ihave to concentrate. 

Do you have any guilty pleasures? 
Gucci Mane is a guilty pleasure.


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