Raul Midón at TED2007 (2007)
|Born||March 14, 1966|
|Origin||New Mexico, United States|
|Genres||Soul, flamenco, latin, jazz|
Raul Midón (born March 14, 1966) is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from New Mexico, based in New York City. He combines his distinct voice, strumming, beats, and vocal mouth trumpet sounds to create a one-man performance. His unique style shows influence of virtually every musical genre which came before him, including jazz, blues, R&B, and folk. Midón is blind from infancy.
Midón was born prematurely in a rural hospital in Embudo, New Mexico, to parents of Argentine and African American descent. His father was a folkloric dancer from Argentina. Midón and his twin brother Marco (now a NASA engineer) were blinded as infants after spending time in an incubator without adequate eye protection. The sounds of music became integral to Midón's life around age 4, when his father introduced him to the drum. Midón became an avid music lover and learned how to play the guitar while performing in rigorous educational programs, first at a school for the blind and then at an elite Santa Fe academy while completing his last two years of high school. Midón then attended the University of Miami, which he selected for its prestigious jazz curriculum. He graduated from the University of Miami in 1990. In 2008 he purchased a home in Maryland and currently resides there.
Midón began his career as a session singer for numerous Latin recording artists including Shakira, Alejandro Sanz, Julio Iglesias and Jose Feliciano. After touring with Shakira, he set aside this career to pursue a solo career and moved to New York City. In New York City he focused completely on his solo career with the exception of working with producer and renowned DJ Little Louie Vega. He wrote and recorded several songs including "Cerca De Mi" with Louie and his production team under the band name "Elements of Life." Elements of Life, led by Louie Vega toured Europe, Japan and Australia in 2003/2004.
During this time Midón was shopped to record labels in a unique manner. His management at the time arranged meetings where Midon would perform live in front of whichever music executive the meeting was with. This led to Midón being signed by Grammy Award-winning producer Arif Mardin (Norah Jones, Aretha Franklin) to Manhattan Records, a subsidiary of Capitol Records owned by EMI. In Mardin's long career, Midón was his first signing of an artist. Mardin, along with his son, Joe, produced the critically acclaimed debut album of Midón entitled State of Mind.
Midón also did the song for the end credits Spike Lee's 2004 LGBT film, She Hate Me, titled "Adam n' Eve n' Eve". His song "Everybody" was featured in the soundtrack of the movie, "The Peaceful Warrior" starring Nick Nolte.
Midón's album State of Mind was released on May 10, 2005. The album features a guest performance with Stevie Wonder, one of his idols, another one with Jason Mraz, and a song written in tribute to Donny Hathaway entitled "Sittin' In The Middle." Midón is an avid amateur radio enthusiast, and in this song he also incorporates his call sign (KB5ZOT) by using Morse code. The title track was released on 12 September 2006 as the free single of the week on the UK version of the iTunes Store.
Midón's national television debut was on Late Show with David Letterman on June 28, 2005. He later went on to appear on other late night television shows in the U.S. and abroad. Herbie Hancock also featured Raul Midon on his compilation album "Possibilities", which was released in 2006, performing his rendition of Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You". On July 24, 2007, a single named "Pick Somebody Up" was released on the iTunes Store in the new iTunes Plus format. Midón released the album "A World Within A World" on September 25, 2007.
In 2008 he built a home studio with the help of Cakewalk, and a company called Dancing Dots who design technology specifically for use by the blind. This has enabled Raul to successfully produce tracks from his home without the aid of a sighted engineer. His song "Everyone Deserves A Second Chance" which appears on Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca's album was recorded at his home. He also recorded two songs for the "Generosity Water" project at his home studio which he calls "The Basement Studio."
He was featured in the 2009 film Still Bill. In March 2009, Midón began working with Grammy Award Winning Producer, Larry Klein on his latest album "Synthesis" for the Universal Decca Label. He temporarily relocated to Santa Monica and worked closely with Klein on the overall tenor of the album. The album features Midón together with music industry veterans Vinnie Colaiuta, Dean Parks, Jamie Muhoberac, Larry Goldings, and Paulihno Da Costa with Larry Klein on bass. It is currently slated to be released in Europe in the fall of 2009 and in the spring of 2010 in the U.S.[dated info]
In 2012 Raul recorded two nights at Joe's Pub of The Public Theater of his live performance which was edited down to the album and DVD entitled "Live From NYC Invisible Chains." The album was sold and licensed independently around the globe in Europe and Japan and sold live at shows.
Amid dissatisfaction with his agents, Raul contacted Maria Matias (Lila Downs, Avery Sunshine) an experienced U.S. Booking Agent about representation. She introduced him to Paul Ewing (Gregory Porter), a music industry veteran who agreed to co-manage with his wife Kathleen. Ewing's belief that Midón has worldwide appeal led them to unite with Mack Avenue/Artistry Records for the release Midón had spent the past two years writing and recording in his home based studio on Sonar/Cakewalk/Dancing Dots. The album, Don't Hesitate, is a 14 song compilation featuring guest appearances with Lizz Wright, Grammy Award Winner Dianne Reeves, worldwide bass legends, Marcus Miller and Richard Bona. Also, he completed the tune started in "Still Bill" a co-write with Bill Withers. The tune "Mi Amigo Cubano" was premiered in August 2014 online with USA Today. The album is due out internationally on September 15 and in the United States and Canada on September 30, 2014.
- Gracias a la vida (1999), BMG MUSIC
- Blind To Reality (2001), self-released album
- Raul Midon Live EP (2003), self-released album
- State of Mind (2005), Manhattan Records
- A World Within a World (2007), Manhattan Records EMI
- Synthesis (2009), Universal Decca
- Invisible chains, Live from NYC (2012), self-released album
- "Suddenly" appears on the compilation He Sings The Blues (2005)
- "State of Mind" appears on the compilation Blue Note Trip 5: Mashed (Jazzanova) (2006)
- "Pick Somebody Up" appears on the official album of 15th International Istanbul Jazz Festival (2008)
- http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/story/313620p-268277c.html (New York Daily News: Jazz soul gets happy)
- KB5ZOT in morse code (with sound)
- http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/artist/album/0,,379295,00.html (Discography on the Artist Direct website)
- Raul Midon: The Reason I Stand - interview
- Interview on BBC Radio 4, 2 January 2007
- TED Talks: Raul Midon plays "All the Answers" and "Tembererana" at TED in 2007
- TED Talks: Raul Midon plays "Everybody" and "Peace on Earth" at TED in 2007
- Still Bill Midón appears in 2009 Bill Withers bio documentary at the Internet Movie Database