Although he did not do the cliché of kissing the ground at OR Tambo International Airport and yelling “I am home”, like some African Americans when they first come here, American R&B singer Miguel felt a tremendous homely welcome when he arrived in the country this week.
“Everyone has been exceedingly hospitable. The people here are really sweet and I appreciate it,” said the singer.
Miguel, who won his first Grammy Award for best R&B song just over a fortnight ago, is currently in the country to promote his second album, Kaleidoscope Dream.
“The highlight so far has been getting off the plane and seeing so many people at the airport knowing the music, and singing it to me, screaming out my name. I just said to myself, ‘oh wow’,” said the soft- spoken artist. “You come to a completely different continent for the first time and people know your music, it is pretty cool. It’s humbling,” he added.
Originally billed for two shows, he performed at Ellis Park’s Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Friday and concludes his short tour at Ostrich Ranch in Cape Town tonight. “We can’t wait to perform in Cape Town. The entire show will be full of surprises.
“There is a lot of rock ’n’ roll in my soul, so to the fans attending I say, expect the show to be dynamic, fun, intimate, passionate, thought-provoking and inspiring. If you have never seen us live, it will not be what you expect it to be,” he said.
Judging from the Friday night show, the man is a master performer who knows how to keep his fans on their feet, even with lesser known songs. His agility is reminiscent of a blend between the late legends James Brown and Michael Jackson while his vocal range can be equalled to that of neo-soul singer Maxwell.
Backed by a three-piece band, the man managed to captivate his fans in the sold-out arena for more than two hours.
For a musician who is only on his second album, and here for the first time, it was intriguing that he has a solid fan base in South Africa – given the turn out.
Singing a few songs from his first album, All I Want Is You, and a lot from Kaleidoscope Dream, which has the Grammy-winning hit, Adorn, Miguel enjoyed that the fans sang back to him all the way.
At some point he had to redo Adorn as the first attempt had been overwhelmed by fans singing on top of their voices.
Other performances on the night were from local household names who included Zakes Bantwini, Donald and Khaya Mthethwa, who all gave great shows.
Since Miguel and his team are in the country for a short period of time, they plan to make the best of the limited free spots that they may have.
“I haven’t done too much sightseeing, as normally some people would do when they visit the country for the first time, but I hope to.
“We were actually planning to go for a safari but it is highly unlikely, because we have a hectic schedule,” he said.
That said, he will be sampling a bit of the nightlife in the country in the hope of having the “ultimate South African experience”.
“I will end up in some bar or some club somewhere at some point,” he said, giggling.
“You have to savour the talent everywhere you go. And take the temperature,” he added, still in stitches.