Raul Midón is ‘Bad A– and Blind,’ shatters myths and misconceptions

Raul Midón (Photo Credit: Blair Allen)

Singer, songwriter and multi-Instrumentalist Raul Midón is having a whirlwind romance with his fans. On a global tour that takes him from Atlanta to Amsterdam, he continues to shatter creative boundaries in the music world. This decade-long affair with music lovers is reminiscent of the passion shown by other world class giants like the late Al Jarreau, Bill Withers, Sting and Ravi Coltrane who all attest to Midón’s talents after either collaborating or touring with him. Even Elton John raved about one of his earlier projects.

His new album hits sound waves today, titled Bad Ass and Blind, his acoustics are masterful and his mouth-horn technique is mind blowing. From guitar to trumpet, his talents are extremely unique and uber-entertaining to watch, listen and experience.

There are songs on Bad Ass and Blind sure to please fans of Midón’s earlier albums, beginning with the title track, which in fact was written and recorded after the album was almost completed. The tour de force piece finds Midón celebrating blindness with a ripping guitar solo, a fierce spoken word rhyme, slamming bass by Richard Hammond (Hamilton) and drumming by Lionel Cordew (Spyro Gyra). Celebrating blindness continues with the naturally funky “Gotta Gotta Give” featuring blind French musician Jean-Philippe Rykiel. The album also includes the philosophic, toe tapping “Pedal to the Metal,” as well as the ballads “You & I” and “Jack (Robert Lorick),” the latter dedicated to the titular voice actor who moved Midón with his portrayal of Jack in the ZBS audio adventures “Jack Flanders.” Another notable track on Bad Ass and Blind is Midón’s multi-layered cover of the Steve Miller Band’s FM staple “Fly Like an Eagle.” As a boy, he bought the original LP featuring the song at a Woolworth’s in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “The lyrics have some social consciousness, and there’s a groove and simplicity about the song that I think are beautiful. I changed the key, re-harmonized it a bit, changed the tempo – customized the song for the way I feel it now.”

Having just returned from Dubai after performing with Mariah Carey, Midón celebrates his birthday and his new project.

When did you know that being a musician was your calling?
As I grew up I realized I had two talents writing and music. I received a scholarship for writing but I chose to pursue music.

Describe three other occupations you’ve held.
As a blind person, I swept sidewalks at the blind school in New Mexico for a quarter. I also transcribed print to braille with the Optacon. I worked as a session vocalist on over 60 records before breaking out on my own.

What inspires you to perform?
I’d make a terrible waiter.

What instruments, if any, do you play?
Guitar and other stringed instruments, percussion, drums, piano,

How would you describe your brand of music?

When you are on stage what do you want to convey about your style?
I’m not thinking about conveying a style while on stage.

Name three musicians who have influenced your approach to being a musician?
Chick Corea, Paco De Lucia and Paul Simon

Describe your creative process from concept to complete song.
I work every day at writing as an exercise. So I could come up with a melody or a lyric and work from there. I have a studio so I record it and I have 1000s of songs no one will ever here.

How do you select your creative music partners to fashion your musical voice?
I think that music is more of a journey and when you encounter someone copacetic on your path you might get together and create something. It’s fairly organic for me.

What advice would you give anyone preparing to enter the music business about publishing and management?
Keep your publishing and take your time picking a manager. Be very careful.

If you were going to sing for any famous person as a celebration of what they have done for humanity who would it be?
Joni Mitchell

What are the effects to society that you would like the results of listening to your music to be?
We all need each other. We are interdependent. The sooner we realize that the better off we will be.

If you could go outside the USA to write and produce…
I have recorded in many countries actually. I don’t have a particular place that I want to do that but I would say Montreux might be fun.

What do you like the most about being musician?
I like the recording process a great deal.

What producers are you looking forward to working with soon?
I have worked with some of the best producers in history already. Arif Mardin, Larry Klein, Joe Mardin (Arif’s son) and many others as a session singer. I’ve enjoyed producing my last two albums myself. My wife and I recently talked about asking Keb Mo or Marcus Miller to produce.

Name three musician you would like to record with that are hit makers.
Paul Simon, Paul McCartney and James Taylor.

If you could make a duet with someone who would it be and why?
India.Arie because she sat in with me on stage in 2007 surprising me and everyone seems to want to see that happen in the studio.

What musical awards have you aspired to receive and it happened?
I like Woody Allen’s take on awards. It doesn’t occupy much space in my process.

What musical achievements have you yet to obtain?
I would have liked to have played for my president. President Obama.

Finish the sentence:
When I hit the stage I feel… very seriously focused.
When the crowd is responding to my music I know… I’m in front of the right
I appreciate my fans because… my fan base is passionate and devoted. I’ve been a part of their lives – through some hard times and some celebratory times. It’s very meaningful.
Music is my calling… because I’d make a terrible waiter.
My method of studying music is… very intense and disciplined.
When you find my music I want you to… listen and share it.

Name your favorite two books.
All The Light We Cannot See

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