When record executive Mark Pitts heard “Sure Thing,” a song Miguel wrote for possible inclusion on an album by Usher, Pitts felt there was something special about the young songwriter. Then he heard “Quickie,” another song from Miguel, and Pitts knew he had to meet the man behind these infectious R&B jams.
“He came and performed and just had no fear. I loved him,” said Pitts, president of urban music at RCA Records. “He was like Elvis. He was all over the place at the time, but it was just different. With a little tweaking, this could be special.”
Instead of giving the songs to Usher, Pitts gave Miguel a recording contract. The 25-year-old kept the songs for his 2010 debut album, “All I Want Is You,” and the tracks became R&B hits. “Sure Thing” was 2011’s top R&B song.
Now the singer who almost fell behind the scenes is nominated for the coveted song of the year Grammy with “Adorn,” his third No. 1 hit on the R&B charts. The song is Miguel’s crossover single to pop territory and is from his sophomore album, “Kaleidoscope Dream.”
The 55th annual Grammy Awards will air live on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 10.
“Interestingly, I’ve only more recently realized how big of a deal it is,” Miguel said of the top category nomination, which pits him against No. 1 pop smashes from Carly Rae Jepsen, fun. and Kelly Clarkson. “I think it’s nothing short of a blessing.”’
And that’s just one of his five nominations.
“Kaleidoscope Dream” is up for best urban contemporary album, a new category where Miguel will compete with Frank Ocean’s “channel ORANGE” and “Fortune” by Chris Brown. “Adorn” is also up for best R&B song and best R&B performance, while “Lotus Flower Bomb,” his collaboration with rapper Wale, is nominated for best rap song.
Like his debut, LA-based Miguel tackles various sounds on his latest album. He describes his music as “dangerous” and “quietly killing.” He combines R&B vocals with smooth beats at times and electro-flavored ones at others. He meshes funk, electric and rock sounds on his album, and he’s drawn comparisons to Prince, thanks to his futuristic vibe; shiny, fitted fashion ensembles; trendy hairstyle; and electrifying stage presence.