Jose Miguel is here to prove that jazz standards still have their place in the Gen Z playlist.
In today’s pantheon of pop hits, rap bangers, rock anthems, and more that are dominating the airwaves and headphones of Gen Z, there’s a genre that has been having a resurgence of sorts: jazz. Whether it be the 1940s or the 2020s, jazz has been finding its way back on the mainstream radar of the new generation. Despite some having the stereotypical idea that jazz is just meant for elevators and hotel lounges, the genre has been seeing a new breed of young stars who are helping champion it for modern ears.
The rise of artists like Laufey has proven that jazz can find an audience amongst Gen Z. And one up-and-coming young Filipino musician is looking to make that same impact as he embarks on the start of a career combining his love for jazz with stories that speak to him told through a smooth, suave, and sophisticated energy. Step into the artistry of Jose Miguel.
An old soul living in the new, Jose Miguel’s journey to music began with his family, in particular his grandfather. His music, from greats such as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, pushed him to be the artist he is today. A performance at one of his dad’s birthday celebrations pushed the young musician to take a chance at singing, with performances at school and small gigs being some of his first tastes of the crooner life. And all while, he did these gigs decked out in suits and styles akin to what a classic jazz singer would at just 16, a fitting attire if anything else.
Soon enough, Jose Miguel settled on jazz, folk, and big band music as his forte as he looked to bring authenticity, soul, and the distinct slick sound and energy of that time to his music. And speaking of music, he’s coming out swinging with his first double release, Is This Love? consisting of two songs: Love Is You and Free. The former explores the complex and emotional journey of the possibility of falling in love while the latter invites listeners to take a chance and encourage spontaneity as you let go of self-judgment.
We recently got the chance to speak with Jose Miguel as he opened up about his music, love for jazz, and more. Read on below for the full interview.
How would you describe who Jose Miguel is as an artist?
Jose Miguel is a jazz singer-songwriter who speaks of the rollercoaster ride of life and love. He is one who expresses his emotions through music.
It is said that it was your grandfather’s music that inspired you the most. What was it about the songs and artists he listened to that attracted you to them?
My grandfather is one of my greatest influences. At a young age, he showed me the music that he loved which was reminiscent of his day. I was exposed to a number of crooners such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Nat King Cole. I immediately fell in love with the way the singers would show emotion through storytelling and how they would sing in a manner that touched your heart.
As I got older, I also saw the way that these idols of mine would carry themselves outside of their performances, similar to how I viewed my grandfather on a normal daily basis. So I guess you could say that I did not only fall in love with the music, but I also fell for the lifestyle of a crooner born in the “golden era”.
If you could describe what jazz is to a Gen Z audience, what would you say?
It would be difficult for me to describe jazz without singing. So I hope that the body of work that I put out would be able to paint a picture for the Gen Z audience. A few words.
What is it about jazz that you like so much about it?
Jazz about everything! Seriously though, the ups the downs, the storytelling, and the emotion behind the voice and song.
Where do you get the inspiration for your music?
From real-life experiences and the experiences of others. I write about places, people, and scenarios that I am exposed to on a very real basis, so whatever I write is always authentic.
How are you feeling with Is This Love? finally coming out and the world getting to hear who Jose Miguel is?
Honestly, it has been a dream of mine ever since to be able to write these songs and even more so, record and perform them in front of the world. I am very excited to showcase this as an introduction to what is to come. It’s a full-circle moment for me. I started with jazz, went through a whole lot of genres, and to no surprise, I am always led back home to jazz.
What do you have to say to young people who think that jazz is a genre just for adults?
I would say, give it a chance. Sit down, have some coffee or what have you, take some time to listen and maybe it might speak to you the way it does to me and to those who enjoy it. Or you could give this first release a listen. 😉 Jazz is for everyone and it might jazz be for you! 😉
With artists like Laufey, Samara Joy, and now you, jazz has been having a moment with Gen Z. Why do you think the genre still holds relevance to the new generation?
Just like how our grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers and mothers have enjoyed music at their time. It is timeless. It is one of the foundations of a lot of the music that you hear today. It appeals simply because it is simple yet complicated. Just like some of the stories, beautiful but tragic and oh so magic.
What impact are you hoping to make in the industry?
I just want to be able to share the music I write and make with the world. I hope that this finds a home in the hearts of the listeners. I would also like to represent my grandfather, my father, and all the idols that I have learned from.
Why do you think the sounds and melodies of yesteryears are ready for a revival in this day and age?
I believe in timing. There is a reason why all of the jazz artists of today are breaking the numbers. It just shows that the public is ready to embrace the sounds of yesterday with the clothes and smiles of today. Jazz has been asleep in pop culture for some time. Finally, jazz is home. It’s about time.
Photos by Ralph Mendo
Continue Reading: Laufey Brought Her Magical Jazz To An Enchanted Manila Crowd