Regarded as one of music’s most distinctive and searching voices—“a one-man band,” according to The New York Times—singer-songwriter and guitarist Raul Midón recently announced the release of his ninth studio album since he began his career in 1999. Fittingly, he entitled it Bad Ass and Blind.
Blind since birth, the New Mexico native has dedicated his life to fighting stereotypes and creating exceptional music that goes beyond all limits, striking a chord for listeners with open ears, open minds and open hearts. Over the years, Midón has worked with several musical legends, including Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Jason Mraz, Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg. His much-anticipated upcoming album features collaborations with Bill Withers, Lizz Wright, Richard Bona and Dianne Reeves.
Set to hit the stage at The Ridgefield Playhouse this on March 26, 2017, at 8 p.m., the talented musical sensation was kind enough to sit down with us for a little pre-show, pre-album chat.
Q: When did you discover your passion for music?
“When I was a child, I found myself hearing music in everything, like the windshield wipers sitting in the car while my Papa was driving, and in the noises children make. I was a mimic and often got into trouble for it in school.”
Q: What is your musical style?
“My musical style is eclectic to the industry, but to me it’s just an amalgam of everything I like—rhythm, harmony and languages.”
Q: And your musical influences?
“Paul Simon is one of the greatest influences. He’s always growing and changing. I was also influenced by John Coltrane, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía.”
Q: What should fans expect from the new album, Bad Ass and Blind?
“I continue to write songs, but I included some jazzier compositions in this album because of being on the road with Gerald Clayton and Nicholas Payton at the time. There’s an amazing solo by Nic on a track entitled ‘Wings of Mind.’”
Q: How has being blind influenced your music?
“How has it not? Being blind is my state of being. I’ve had to manage everything without sight. I’ve learned tricks and I have to work harder, I think, than a sighted person does to do just about everything.”
Q: How many instruments do you play?
“Guitar is my main instrument, but I can manage on the piano, percussion and drums. Drum set was my first instrument, but I learned pretty quickly that it was a bad idea for a blind guy to play and have to carry around.”
Q: Most notable career highlight?
“A highlight was working with the great producer, Arif Mardin. It was an honor and short-lived, as he passed by the time I had the chance to make my second album.”
Q: You collaborate with legends. How do you choose these artists?
“In the case of Herbie Hancock, they called me. Bill Withers’ daughter introduced my music to him so that’s how that came about, and I jumped at the chance. We wrote a great tune, which is on my last album, Don’t Hesitate. The song is ‘Mi Amigo Cubano.’”
Q: What should we expect for your upcoming show at Ridgefield Playhouse?
“I always give the best performance possible at that moment. And, of course, people can expect me to play many of the songs from the new album.”
Don’t miss Raul Midón’s show at the Ridgefield Playhouse, Sunday, March 26. Arrive at 7:15 p.m. for wine tasting and an art exhibit by award-winning local artist Cindi Mullins, as part of Moffly Media’s Evening of Art, Wine & Jazz Series. The Village Tavern, 378 Main Street, will also be offering a complimentary glass of house wine or draft beer with the purchase of an entrée for those with a ticket on the night of the show.
For more information: http://ridgefieldplayhouse.org/events/raul-midon.