With his breakthrough single “All I Want Is You,” singer Miguel has quickly become one of the industry’s new familiar voices. Featuring rapper J. Cole, the Salaam Remi–produced song established Miguel as a promising new artist and gave the singer-songwriter his first charting single. But the success didn’t happen overnight.
“I started when I was 13,” the Los Angeles native told BET.com behind the scenes at this year's Rip the Runway taping. “To those who may see [his success as] overnight, I say this more to people who are working towards a goal: Nothing happens overnight. It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, a lot of passion and a lot of failure.”
Born to a Mexican father and a Black mother, Miguel doesn’t like to put labels on himself or his music. “It’s really about the art, whatever appeals to you,” he says. With his own blend of R&B, classic rock, hip hop and funk, he normally performs with a band. For this year’s RTR performance, however, Miguel had to scale things down, bringing only his guitar and bass players, who perform dance moves in sync with him as he sings.
“What you can expect from Miguel, be it on the Rip the Runway stage or any stage in your town, is dynamic. I really hope to inspire, and to always convey the emotion that is embedded in the song,” he says. “I think that’s the most important part, and just connecting with the song. It’s the coolest feeling when people [in the audience] close their eyes and they’re repeating what you say."
And while Miguel is still relishing the success of his debut album, also titled All I Want Is You, he understands that the work has only just begun. “Me being on tour with Mary J. Blige and Usher, and watching how hard they worked—regardless of their stature in the music industry or in the public eye, they worked day in and day out,” he says. “The most valuable lesson I’ve learned getting to this point is that it never stops. Hard work got me here and hard work will keep me in a place where I don’t accept or get comfortable.”
See Miguel perform on BET’s Rip the Runway on Monday, March 21, at 10PM.
Photo: Walik Goshorn for BET Digital