Raúl Midón is a musical powerhouse, having released seven albums since 1999 and performed and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment business such as Jason Mraz, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Spike Lee, Shakira, DJ Little Louie Vega and many more. And Adele even opened for Raúl during a performance at the St. James Church in London.
Raúl is currently on tour (see dates below) and we had a chance to catch up with him to talk about his music and touring. Here is what he had to say:
CB: Where do you get your inspiration for writing?
RM: I write as a discipline every day. Sometimes it comes from inspiration but it is a craft I work on like guitar playing. Of course, I’m inspired by the people I love, things I learn about that are disturbing as in the song Libertad, that I wrote after hearing the screams of a man being beaten by the border police.
CB: What is the creative process for writing and recording?
RM: I write a complete song, lyrics and music and then I have to learn it and then I start to record the rhythm section. Lastly I add the vocals.
CB: You’ve worked with Stevie Wonder, Jason Mraz and other notable recording artists and celebrities. How do those collaborations come about? And who would you like to collaborate with in the future and why?
RM: In the case of Jason, he saw a video I did for the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage and invited me on tour with him. At the same time I was working on my first major label album and Arif Mardin wanted Stevie to play harmonica but he suggested that I write him in braille so I did. My dream is to collaborate with guitarists who I consider idols, like John Scofield, John McLaughlin, Al Demiola. It’s what I’d like to do for my next project.
CB: What can fans expect when they see you perform live in concert?
RM: Having toured with people who are super entertaining like Jason Mraz – and wizards like Richard Bona I knew I had to do something interesting. So I started multi-tasking like playing bongoes and guitar and singing. I play a little bit on piano and other guitars too. Plus I’m told I’m pretty funny – so I try to tell my story in a way that’s humorous.
CB: Is fan interaction at concerts different between the US and rest of the world? If so, how?
RM: The only difference is how conversant the audience is with the language. That’s the only difference.
CB: On your current tour, you have stops at various locations in the US, but also in Europe. Out of any location in the world where you have performed, which venue and/or city was your favorite to perform in and why?
RM: This tour is U.S. and then in October I head to a few dates in Europe/UK, France, The Netherlands, & London. In France I recently played L’Olympia with Manu, Richard and Sting. That was pretty awesome – it’s an amazing venue. Also, in London St. James Church where Adele opened for me (haha). I just played the Moss Theater in Santa Monica and that’s a new favorite place to play.
CB: Which city [that you have visited] has been your favorite? And did it provide any inspiration to you in your music or life?
RM: Tokyo is a favorite. Montreux too. Amsterdam. These are places I’ve played to my largest audiences ever and they are the most amazing places so yes they inspired me as does France where I have been made to feel so welcome and have toured extensively. I have made great friends in many of these places as well.
CB: What projects do you have in the works?
RM: My latest project “Bad Ass & Blind” is due out in March 2017. I’d like my next project after that to be my guitar friends, family and icons. I’d like to do some work with my previous teachers, some up and coming guitarists, I have a cousin who is a great guitarist in Argentina and some of my idols, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, John Scofield & Al Demiola. Of course, I haven’t asked anyone yet – it’s basically a dream right now. I’d also like to work with Gerald Clayton whom I met while on tour for the Monterey Jazz Festival. His talent and music have inspired me a great deal and we connected on this recent tour musically… I plan to write, record and play and be open to other options that come my way.