Behind The Song: Miguel “Adorn”

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(Courtesy of RCA)

(Courtesy of RCA)

People underestimate the word adorn. Just ask Miguel.

“It is one of those powerful words that is barely used,” the GRAMMY nominated singer told Radio.com “But this idea of bestowing your love upon someone, kind of laying it on them, I don’t know, I just kind of like that.”

On a flight back to California last year Miguel started thinking about that word, which he had written down weeks before hoping to work it into a song. He liked this idea of wearing someone’s love like a medal. By the time he stepped off the plane he had come up with a melody, but was still struggling with the lyrics.

“I went right to the keyboard when I got home and laid down the chords that I had been hearing in my head for the 6-hour flight,” he said. “For some reason this particular night, this moment, playing the chords, these lines started coming.”

The lyrics were a sweet ode to his girlfriend of seven years, who he says has inspired every song he has ever written. But even though “Adorn” is about his own life, the singer says the sentiment is universal.

“I think that the best part of music is when it comes from a real place and has an ability to kind of connect on a much larger scale,” he said. “It no longer is a personal thing, it becomes everyone else’s thing as well.”

But Miguel didn’t want to make a song that was so sweet it would give you a toothache. He wanted to instead balance the purity of the lyrics with a sexier overall sound.

“The lyrical part is melodic, very basic, instinctive and that’s why it kind of appeals to that sincerity,” he said. “I think sonically though I like to juxtapose things that don’t necessarily go together and I wanted it to sound kind of grimey or dirty.”

After recording the track in his house that night Miguel ran out to his car to give it a listen. “That how I listen to all of my music,” he explained. “I have to go to my car to really hear it.” He sat for 40 minutes, just playing “Adorn” on repeat, imagining what it would be like to hear it on the radio.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t that be crazy? Nah, that will never happen,’” Miguel joked. “I guess I just got lucky that people liked it.”

The song has become Miguel’s biggest radio hit. It has tied Usher’s “Climax” for the most weeks at number one on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, but despite all his success Miguel wasn’t convinced he would be recognized by the Recording Academy after being snubbed in 2012 when his hit song “Sure Thing” off his debut, All I Want Is You, received zero nominations. That’s why on the night the GRAMMY nominations were announced he decided to take a seat at the bar instead of in front of the television.

“I was preparing myself for the worst, which would be no nominations at all,” he explained. “I was just having a Jack and ginger when I got a call from my girl. She said one word, ‘five.’”

Needless to say, Miguel had a few more Jack and gingers that night.

Miguel is up for five GRAMMY awards this year including Song Of The Year for “Adorn” and Best Urban Contemporary Album for Kaleidoscope Dream.

- Shannon Carlin, Radio.com

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