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Artist Feature

Raul Midón

Raul Midón’s pointedly titled new album Don’t Hesitate demonstrates why — a dozen years and eight albums into a recording career that’s won him massive critical acclaim and a passionately devoted international fan base — he remains one of his era’s most distinctive and beloved recording artists.

A smoothly expressive singer, an emotionally insightful songwriter and an exciting, innovative acoustic guitarist, Midón maintains an expansive musical vision that’s led People magazine to call him “an eclectic adventurist” and Huffington Post to dub him “a free man beyond category... he plays with such freedom and joy that his hands smile.” The New York Times described him as “a one-man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus.” Billboard called him, simply and aptly, “a virtuoso.”

Search for “Raul Midón” on YouTube and you’ll find a clip of him appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman in 2006. Performing “State of Mind,” the title track from his major-label debut, Midón unveils what would become his signature combination of silky tenor voice and percussive guitar style.

His guitar playing is a syncopated, flamenco- and jazz-infused wonder in which bass, harmony and melodic lines fly from the fret board in a way that seems to belie the fact that all the music is being produced by just two hands. If that weren’t enough, Midón busts out his improvisational mouth-horn technique, in which he creates a bebop “trumpet” solo entirely with his lips, earning himself a spontaneous burst of mid-song applause from the audience in the process.

While Midón’s eclectic talents have won the admiration of fans and critics, they’ve also led to him collaborating with such musical heroes as Herbie Hancock, Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder; appearing on recordings by Jason Mraz, Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg; and contributing to the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s She Hate Me.