A blend of soul, sex and style makes R&B powerhouse Miguel so damn irresistible. In 2017, the entertainer, whose father is Mexican-American and mother is African-American, has made an impressive transition to film in the 1920s gangster-infused thrill ride, "Live by Night," alongside Hollywood heavy-hitters Ben Affleck and Zoe Saldana.
Miguel spoke with us about his new blockbuster role, working with his onscreen sister Saldana and his exciting plans to record a Spanish-language album in 2017!
Landing your first role in a fim starring Ben Affleck and Zoe Saldana is major! Congrats. Zoe plays your sister in the film. Did that sibling bond transfer offscreen as well?
Zoe is such an amazing and warm woman. She's just real. When we first met, she said she discovered my music from a couple of albums ago, and after that it was over. It was like all right, I love you. I already love you, but I love you even more. She was really reassuring as well because this was my first job as an actor. She was very helpful and she was really supportive. I love her for that. She was incredible.
We are huge fans of her, too! It's great to hear that people you admire are great people behind the scenes. "Live by Night" definitely has a shot at awards season next year, especially with all that star power. It's set in the '20s and has a real gangster, speakeasy feel. As your style usually translates into your music, will we hear some of that prohibition-era influence in your music?
I think that the 1920s was an amazing time, especially when it comes to big band. And Cuban band music is also amazing. I do think that the direction of my music is a little bit different, but I will say that the experience in getting to know about Cuban culture and history made me want to explore more and more my connection with my Latin roots, especially with music. Writing songs in Spanish is one of the things I started exploring after working on this film. I look forward to working on more music in Spanish. It sounds ambitious, but I'm looking to release an album in Spanish later on this year. If nothing else, at least releasing a single or two in Spanish. Hopefully, you guys stay tuned to that.
We definitely will! You're a halfsie like myself; I'm half African-American, half Puerto Rican. What are some of your favorite Mexican traditions?
The family gets together the night before Christmas. We spend a lot of time together on Christmas Eve. I have vivid memories of Noche Buena, so that's what stands out in my mind.
"Live by Night" follows in the footsteps of so many classic Hollywood gangster films. What are some of your favorites?
There are a couple films I wastched [while preparing for the role], and "Scarface" is one of them, "The Godfather." Just in general, I love gangster movies. I still love "New Jack City." I just encourage everyone to watch the "Live by Night." It’s a romantic action-packed film, but it also comes in a time where we need this. We need art that reminds us that as far as we have come, we still have a long way to go. It says something about ambition and how far it can take us. That, coupled with the fact that it does touch on racism and classicism. This is the kind of art I want to be involved in, and people can appreciate that I'm creating it now.
"Live by Night" hits theaters Jan. 13.