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Miguel has made it painfully apparent in interviews this year that he doesn’t like to be placed in a box. But if anyone required further proof about his serious he is about that stance, there’s a new cover story with The Fader magazine that reiterates the point. The increasingly popular singer-songwriter-producer opined that not fitting a certain mold of male made him appear gay to skeptics. He also expressed a hint of frustration with how his label marketed him with his debut album.

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As far as confusion about his identity goes:

Whether the album’s confused identity is a case of outsized ambition or simply a conflict over what Jive would tolerate from a new artist, for listeners, All I Want Is You feels like a big house with too many rooms, and Miguel its puzzled inhabitant.

“It’s not like I speak like a fucking hood dude,” Miguel says, discussing the misconceptions that followed his debut over spinach salad and mint lemonade the next night at a small restaurant near his apartment. “My mother is a very eloquent woman, and my father is a teacher. Between the two, they raised me to speak a certain way. So the way I spoke, the way I dressed, all of that was like, ‘Wow, wait a second. This isn’t black… Oh, then he must be gay.’ Now, whether or not I’ve worn things that are questionable—oh my god—I look at pictures of shit I’ve worn, and you know what? I don’t really blame anyone. I get it. But I was learning. I was trying to hold on to some sense of individuality in the midst of being convinced that I had to appeal to a certain kind of crowd.”

And issues he had when his debut album dropped:

“I was exclusively marketed as an ‘urban artist,’” he says with air quotes, “and I mean that in the most generic way. But I have never been one to live within a stereotype. My lifestyle has always been alternative in comparison to what’s expected from an ethnic male from Los Angeles. With my first album, not only was I being misunderstood, I was misunderstood, and it was distracting people from the music. Now, I want to make sure that everything I do is the best, most rounded projection of who I really am.”

Plus, as it turns out, Miguel knows that other rising savior of R&B, Frank Ocean:

(Miguel says he and Frank Ocean, who moved to LA in 2005, were once close, but he would not discuss their relationship on the record.)

More at the Fader.

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Miguel Reflects On First Album Frustrations  was originally published on