Photo: Blair Allen
Raul Midón Is Bad-A**, Blind & A 2018 GRAMMY Nominee
The greatest musicians are superlative because they are authentic. They do their own thing. They take the elements of music, art and culture that move them and spin it all into something new, along the way developing an artistic vision that is unique and unwavering.
Raul Midón certainly does things his own way.
Originally from the Land Of Enchantment — New Mexico — Midón began his remarkable career in the late '90s by cultivating his own recipe of jazz, rock, flamenco, and more into an experimental joy ride, which has seen him shred, pound, clap, and croon his way into a one-man-band.
His efforts landed him on "The Late Show With David Letterman" in 2006 in support of his major label debut album, State Of Mind. Eight studio albums later, Midón began work on the album that would earn him his first GRAMMY nomination, 2017's Bad A** And Blind, a project aptly named for its creator (and a title endorsed by soul singing legend Bill Withers) given the musically adept Midón has been blind since birth.
But Midón's inventiveness and tenacity have shaped his artistic vision that sees beyond the lines and notes of traditional music. And while his nod for Bad A** And Blind comes in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category, his music continues to resist the boundaries of classification and instead strives for something more simultaneously direct and universal.
"Like with all my records, this album is for those who are interested in going beyond notions of genre," Midón said. "It's for listeners with open ears, open minds, open hearts."
The drive to push beyond the notions of genre has led Midón down an experimental path, throwing harmony and melody into the blender and throwing the standard cookbook out the window, experimenting with various modes, psychedelic textures and adventurous techniques.
“As a listener, you don't need to know anything about the Phrygian or Dorian modes to get this music," Midón said. "It just sounds different, intriguing, exotic.”
The musical polymath shared with us that when he found out about his first career GRAMMY nomination, he was "in the basement working" when his wife called with the good news. Midón thought it was a mistake at first — but it was true. Nearly two decades into his career, his vision and dedication to his art have put him in the running for music's highest honor on Music's Biggest Night.