Miguel has long expressed the desire to deeper connect to his Latin roots—he was born to a Mexican father and Black mother—and subsequently use his music as a means of its exploration.
Back in 2012, he first revealed to Power 106 FM his desire to implement a second language into his creative process, saying, “I want to be able to write an entire song in Spanish but I’m practicing my Spanish now just so I can get it….I’m really nervous to do it, I don’t want it to be bad, but I’m really excited to do it.”
Then, last year, in a conversation with Latina, fresh off playing the role of a Cuban club owner in the Prohibition-era gangster film Live By Night, Miguel cited the experience as a source of inspiration, saying, “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.”
This week, the singer finally confirmed his manifested dream, speaking to Power 106 again and promising an upcoming Spanish version of his 2017 LP War & Leisure.
But this shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have been following Miguel’s trajectory. Since his 2010 debut, he’s been working towards expanding his expression, argot, and audience. Here, we revisit a few of those nods.
On his debut album All I Want Is You, Miguel humble-brags for his new listeners, revealing that he can speak both Spanish and Portuguese (and delivering the phrase “I want to run away” in the latter), all while shooting his shot for some fast fornication.
“Mami, I realize that I’m mannish / I speak a language of love like Spanish / “Quero fugir” / I’m so obscene, know what I mean? / Yeah, sorry that was Portuguese / That I speak with ease.”
“#Hermosa” with Mariah Carey (2013)
Just two months after dropping “#Beautiful,” Miguel and Mariah reworked their collaboration into a Spanglish version that kept the track’s original sunny structure but peppered it with in-the-pocket translations that segued seamlessly into its breeze.
“Los dos sobre mi moto / Let the good wind blow through your hair / Con un culo así (cómo?) / And a smile so bright / Oh, me matas / You know it ain’t fair.”
“‘Both of us on my bike’ / Let the good wind blow through your hair / ‘With an ass like that (what?)’/ And a smile so bright / ‘Oh, you’re killing me’ / You know it ain’t fair”
“destinado a morir” (2015)
A short interlude (or “enter.lewd,” per the singer) off his third studio effort, Wildheart, Miguel repeated the titular phrase (meaning “destined to die”) in the brief track’s chorus, and punctuated its carefree, caution-to-the-wind feel with an unconditional ask: “Dejame amarte,” or “let me love you.”
“Destinado a morir baby, but we’re all right, yeah / The night is young and the moon is calling, so we’re all right, yeah / All right / We’re destined to die baby, but we’re all right, yeah / Dejame amarte, baby it’s all right, yeah / Hit the lights.”
“Caramelo Duro” (2017)
Nestled near the end of his most recent LP, War & Leisure, is Miguel’s first predominately Spanish song. On it, the singer recruits Colombian songstress Kali Uchis to join him in waxing poetic about—per the title (meaning “hard candy”)—everything from Jawbreakers and Starbursts to Now & Laters and Sour Patch. On the chorus, he asks for more sweets, from his Sweet:
“Caramelo duro, deja que te vuelva loca / Muy limpio, que puro, no te dejaré sola / Regálame un poco de azúcar / Regálame un poco de azúcar.”
“Hard candy, let me drive you crazy / Very clean, how pure, I will not leave you alone / Give me some sugar / Give me some sugar.”
“Sky Walker (Spanish Version)” (2018)
As the first hint of his newly-promised War & Leisure rework, Miguel released a Spanish version of its Travis Scott-assisted lead single, “Sky Walker,” earlier this year. For fans loyal to the original though, don’t fret; the catchiest, most hashtag-worthy lines (“Quick to dead the bull like a matador!,” “Luke Skywalkin’ on these haters,” and—of course—”splish!”) are all still in tact. What’s new, however, are spurts of Spanglish that sound right at home.
“Left off, we in the clouds now / Laughin’ in the moments / Hoy los dioses estan de tu lado / Bienvenidos a la fiesta.”
“Left off, we in the clouds now / Laughin’ in the moments / Today the gods are on your side / Welcome to the party.”
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