This is big for Miguel. R&B’s leading misfit can smile knowing that he’s ending 2012 with a solo Fader cover. The music mag that celebrates those who don’t care about “fitting in” gave him the coveted spot for their NOW issue. When labels were trying to present him as the just another Usher clone, Miguel awkwardly played along because his burning desire to create music was too strong. Fast forward to this year, and Miguel’s uniqueness and originality are why he has been one of music’s most intriguing crooner’s of the year, with a string of hits to go along. In his first Fader cover story, writer Duncan Cooper dissects the perfections and imperfections of his music and artistry.

My mother was really, really sheltering,” he says. “Very religious as well. She raised me to be god-fearing, upright. Barely even let us listen to the radio. Then I’d go to my dad’s house and I’m watching mad porn, trying to talk to girls, getting into trouble. It was really double-life shit, but that’s when I started to learn that I had to make decisions.

Continue to read Miguel’s cover story after the jump…

Miguel’s alcohol stash is low. He’s got a glass-worth of whiskey, which he says he prefers, and one bottle of beer. He offers me the whiskey. It’s 8PM on a Saturday in LA, and the plain, two-bedroom apartment he shares with his girlfriend of seven years, an aspiring actress named Nazanin Mandi, droops with the remnants of a recent party. A golden CONGRATULATIONS! banner dangles in a corner, tied up by one end, and deflated balloons wobble idly on the carpet. Taped to the wall, a plastic flag with stick-on letters reads: ADORN NO. 1. It’s a week before the release of Kaleidoscope Dream, Miguel’s second album, and its single, “Adorn,” a top contender for our generation’s “Sexual Healing,” holds the highest slot on Billboard’s R&B chart. He recorded the song last year in this very apartment, in the makeshift studio/second bedroom, where a microphone stand is now the sole piece of audio equipment visible beneath trash bags full of scarves, sweaters and black hats.

Out in the living room, Miguel talks sweetly to his two cats while loading a rough cut of his music video for “The Thrill,” shot in grainy black-and-white at a lavish birthday party he recently threw for Mandi. About a minute into the clip, he leaps forward to point out his dad, a light-skinned man with chubby cheeks and a panama hat, beaming with an arm around his son. Tonight the couple will be attending another party, hosted downtown by the actor/rapper Childish Gambino, and a sharp knock at the door announces two friends, ready to carpool. Mandi emerges from their bedroom in a change of clothes, keeping with the small entourage’s unofficial uniform of black leather jackets. Miguel maxes out his MacBook speakers with a playlist titled “Ratchet Music.” Everyone takes a B12 vitamin. In a last-minute inspection before heading out, he tugs the corners of his cheetah-print shirt and curls his ankle to examine a pair of zippered black shoes. “You guys would tell me if I look crazy, right?”

Read the full story at Fader

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