One part singer, another part "contributor," Miguel is the total package when it comes to being an artist who cares as much about the issues as he does about his music. We sat down with the VMA nominee to discuss his song and video "Candles In The Sun" and what he loves most about awards shows.
MIGUEL: It’s much appreciated. Thank you very, very much.
ACT: What was your reaction when you found out “Candles In The Sun” was nominated for a VMA for Best Video With A Message?
MIGUEL: For someone who has never been nominated for any of his videos, it was definitely a pleasant surprise. I was definitely taken aback and very appreciative of the fact that it was nominated, especially because of what the video was for — you know, the message behind the song. And it’s definitely my favorite video that we've shot to date. ... And because it was also kind of done on my own, you know, on my own initiative without my label or anything like that, it was a very personal thing. It’s not like the song was a single or anything; we just kind of shot it because we just felt the need to, and it just meant the world.
ACT: You cover a lot of issues in the video: poverty, war, inequality --- is there one issue in particular that is really important to you personally?
MIGUEL: It’s just the overall premise of addressing the fact that there are things that need to be dealt with. And it’s not necessarily about pointing a finger. ... That was kind of the approach we wanted to take with the video — I didn't want it to be singling anyone out. It was just about acknowledging that at the end of the day we all live our lives at our own pace. And because of all of the distractions it’s easy to kind of get lost in these waters as we're treading or as we're swimming. Sometimes it does take that moment for the realities of the world to be right in our faces.
ACT: Is there anything you're particularly looking forward to at the VMAs this year?
MIGUEL: You know what, for any awards show I think it’s really cool that the artists and the creators are acknowledged, but it also gives us a chance to see the artists that we love onstage and to see them perform, so I think that’s one of my favorite parts about award shows and especially the VMAs.
ACT: What are your thoughts on the other nominees for Best Video With A Message?
MIGUEL: All the videos are incredible, and they're incredible statements. All of us are already winners in a sense, because the message has kind of taken the stage as opposed to us as artists. Obviously you have someone like Beyoncé, who has star power and her videos are always incredible, and Macklemore’s video is so relevant, especially right now. It’s cool to have a moment to take a step back behind a message that’s so important to each and every one of us respectively, and for the message to kind of take the stage and to possibly win the award. I think the award is a tremendous addition to the MTV Video Music Awards, and it’s a huge honor.
ACT: Do you think you’ll make another video with a message?
MIGUEL: Absolutely. I think it’s become important as contributors, and that’s what we as artists truly are supposed to be, is contributors to culture. And to be able to have the awareness or to take awareness, make awareness, create awareness --- I think is a tremendous opportunity that we all share. So I think that this experience has encouraged me to continue sharing my perspective, hopefully reminding people of some of the harsh realities and issues that we need to address. I truly think that being able to elevate the people around you is one of the greatest highlights of anyone’s life.