Kelly Clarkson was a testament to the power of Grammy music discovery when she said during her acceptance speech for best pop vocal album at last week’s Grammys, “Miguel, I don’t know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together. I mean, good God. That was the sexiest damn thing I’ve ever seen.”
The impact of Miguel’s Grammy moment was still taking shape when Billboard reached the 25-year-old singer at home in Los Angeles on Feb. 13. In the past 72 hours, Miguel had been approached by “a few artists I’m truly a fan of,” but no one he could confirm. “The cool part is you want people to discover you. It’s such an awesome opportunity and awesome time for that to happen,” he says. “I’m on like cloud 12, man.” Clarkson was talking about Miguel’s performance of Adorn, and clearly a lot of music fans felt the same way, as Miguel’s single achieved its best sales week ever on the strength of Sunday-night sales alone, rising to 44,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan, a surge of 229%. The single also won for best R&B song. His album, Kaleidoscope Dream, was a breakout hit when it was released last fall, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and also one of three nominees in the inaugural best urban contemporary album category at this year’s Grammys.
Congrats on winning your first Grammy. Since the award wasn’t televised, where were you when you found out?
I found out in the car as we were pulling up to the red carpet. It was an “Oh, shit” moment. I had my girl with me and it was like, “How crazy is that? And I get to perform?” It was just a great feeling.
When did you know that the performance was happening, and how did you arrange to start singing the song from the crowd?
A week-and-a-half out we knew that we could perform. I wanted to make an intimate thing but I had a bigger vision about the crowd. I got to tip my hat to [telecast producer] Ken Ehrlich — he really had the vision. I did want it to be a stripped-down performance, and it really was genius of him to put us in the aisle.
So you win the award, have a great performance, Kelly Clarkson shouts you out in her speech. How did you celebrate?
I stopped by the Sony party — had to do that to say thanks. I’ve been to these parties for years, but this seemed like the special night. I actually own something. I wasn’t just a part of it. So then I stopped by Chris (Brown’s) party to see Mark Pitts — he signed both of us; he’s like my mentor. Then I went to my room. I had a suite, and I had all my friends over and family and we just partied. I didn’t sleep until the next day, which was awesome.
Read more: Billboard