BWW Interviews: Migguel Anggelo Talks BETWEEN DREAMS/ENTRE SUEÑOS & Upcoming LA CASA AZUL Album
On September 24, 2014 Migguel Anggelo enchanted audiences with his concert BETWEEN DREAMS/ENTRE SUEÑOS. Luckily for those who missed it or for those who want to see it again, he and Joe's Pub are bringing the concert back on December 2, 2014. Recently, he and I sat down together to discuss the upcoming concert and why everyone, whether you saw it last time or not, should be excited to see its return.
You have a background in opera, and you also paint. How did you first get involved with singing and the arts in general?
Migguel Anggelo: My father was a chef and mechanic, and he was always listening to opera-Pavarotti or Placido Domingo-when he was cooking. And boleros by [Trío] Los Panchos. He was a big, big fan of opera and Mexican boleros. My mom was a ballet dancer. We always grew up with music in the house. So, my mom and father were all of the time listening to music and singing.
I remember when I was maybe eleven or twelve, I told my father and my mom, "You know, I want to be an actor." They asked, "Why?" I said, "Well, this is what I learned from you guys, so I just want to be doing things on the stage." Then my father-he was a very macho Latino-said, "Okay, tomorrow I'll take you to a place." And where he took me was a ballet company. I asked, "Dad, why did you take me to a ballet school?" He said, "Well if you want to be an actor, you need to know how to dance and how to sing. This is going to be the first step." That is how I became involved with the arts in my life.
This December you'll be returning to Joe's Pub. What is your favorite aspect of performing in this venue?
Migguel Anggelo: I think it's because Joe's Pub is very intimate. You can even feel how the people are breathing. When they are eating, I can hear everything. I feel like Joe's Pub is homey. I feel like I'm in my living room, and all of the people there are my friends. That is what is very magical about Joe's Pub.
What was the inspiration for your concert BETWEEN DREAMS/ENTRE SUEÑOS?
Migguel Anggelo: When I was young my mom gave me Michael Ende's The Neverending Story. So, I read that book, and I was crazy. I said, "You know what, I'm a dreamer, and I want a dreamer. I know that there are people out there like me." You know? I said, "With my music, I want to try talking about dreams, love, and everything like a composition together-like a mix of ideas. I also was looking at doing covers of other amazing singers' songs about dreams as well." I said, "You know what, I want to create something like that." So, when I was talking about the concept of the show, I thought, "What am I going to name it?" I said, "You know what, in my life, and people like me, live between dreams!" Click! That was the name for the show.
In addition to BETWEEN DREAMS/ENTRE SUEÑOS, you'll also be releasing your second album LA CASA AZUL on March 3, 2015. What was it like recording that album?
Migguel Anggelo: It was really great. First of all, for the last five years, I always came into New York City, even if I was living in Miami. I moved into New York only a year ago, but before that I always came to New York every two months to visit my friends. New York, the city, is so inspiring: the trash, the rats in the subway, and the people are so crazy. It's like everybody is in their own zone. You know? So, I always wrote songs in New York City.
There was a time when I was talking to my friend Mauricio-he's the musical director and pianist for my show, and he is a great musician from Costa Rica-he's became one of my best friends. I said, "You know what? We need to do this. We need to record a CD-a very magical one, with bass and a four string quartet but also with different sounds. I want to mix salsa, pop, and opera all together. Then Mau [Maurice] recorded the CD in the living room of his apartment in Coral Gables, Miami. It was a one and a half year process, and after we wrote all of the music and everything, we called musicians and said, "Okay, tomorrow is the violin. Next week is the piano. Next week..." And, it was like that. Then, after recording all the musicians, I recorded the vocals. Then we mixed, and it became the CD.
With songs like "Donde Estará Matisse?" and "La Casa Azul" (about Frida Kahlo), how does visual art inspire you to create music?
Migguel Anggelo: Well you know, I always liked art and creative people. Frida Kahlo and Matisse are some of my favorite artists. And, Picasso and Dali, of course. But, I remember my, in my school, Frida Kahlo all of the time was an element to talk about and an element to study. Of course, I knew Frida Kahlo and Matisse from their paintings and through books. Then we'd say, "Oh I love that woman that only painted herself," and "This guy Matisse is only painting colors and lines kind of like a baby." But when I tried to learn painting from books and YouTube, I discovered that their lives were more interesting than the paintings, and I said, "You know what? Maybe people don't know about them. I need to do something about this. I need to teach people a little about their life." And for that, I wrote those songs.
What is your favorite aspect of performing live?
Migguel Anggelo: The audience, definitely. I think every audience and every place is different. There can be twenty, fifty, 1,000, or 10,000 people in the audience, and every person is different. But, the best part is the applause. I don't care if there are only twenty people, when I hear the applause for me it's like my big payment. It is like they are accepting me, and they understand what I am trying to say. It's the best.
What is your favorite aspect of recording in the studio?
Migguel Anggelo: Well you know what, for me, the only difference is the audience. But, I'm an actor. So, when I'm in the studio with musicians or producers, I'm acting. I'm acting like maybe the chairs have people in them. (Laughs) I feel and believe that when a singer is acting in front of the microphone in the studio and acting what they're singing, then the people listening to the CD get it, and this is the big ingredient. In the studio, I am acting exactly the same as I in concert, but with nobody watching.
Can audiences who saw BETWEEN DREAMS/ENTRE SUEÑOS at Joe's Pub previously expect any new surprises in these upcoming performances?
Migguel Anggelo: Oh yeah! Absolutely. It is the same show. But, even as the same show, as an artist, I have a challenge, and I want all of the time to create something new. So, this one is going to be a little more theatrical. It's going to have more choreography, and we changed some tunes and some songs. But, you know, I always say if it's the same concert or the same music, it's going to be different. It's like when you go to the ocean. Yesterday you went to the ocean and you saw beautiful blue water with a beautiful blue sky. If you go today, it's blue, but it's different water. So, everyday it's something different. So, the show is going to be completely different as well. I am going to have more costumes. Just wait. It's going to be more cuckoo. (Laughs)
What advice would you offer to others hoping to make a career in the arts?
Migguel Anggelo: You know, I think the biggest advice that I can give to people is to never change. They need to be always their selves because there's going to people who want to say, "You don't know how to write or sing, so just change." No. If you believe in what you like to do, focus on yourself, and believe in yourself, then don't change. People need artists that believe in their selves. Never change; be yourself.
Migguel Anggelo hits the Joe's Pub stage again on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.joespub.com. Also, you can find out more about Migguel Anggelo by visiting http://www.migguelanggelo.com and following him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.