Who Inspires R&B Sensation Miguel?

Miguel released his sizzling and sensual album, Kaleidescope Dream, in 2012 to high praise from fans and critics. For Tell Me More's series "In Your Ear," he talks being inspired by artists Kendrick Lamar, Glasser and Grizzly Bear.

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CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

We turn now to a regular segment we call In Your Ear. That's when we invite previous guests to tell us some of the songs that inspire them. This time, we hear from R&B sensation, Miguel. He stopped by to tell us about his new album, "Kaleidoscope Dream," and we also found out what tracks he's been listening to.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "M.A.A.D. CITY")

KENDRICK LAMAR: (Singing) They'd probably gun me down by the end of the song. Seem like the whole city go against me. Every time I'm in the street, I hear, yock, yock, yock, yock. Man down.

MIGUEL: Greetings. My name is Miguel and this is what's in my ear. Right about now, one of my favorite songs to listen to while I'm driving is "M.A.A.d. City" by Kendrick Lamar. He's also a Los Angeles native, a good friend of mine. He just put out a brand new album called "Good Kid, Mad City." I think I love the driving force of the song, the storytelling perspective because it's interesting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "M.A.A.D. CITY")

LAMAR: (Singing) ...and major pain, not the drill sergeant, but the stress that weighing on your brain. It was me, (unintelligible) watching Lucky ride down Rosencrantz. It got ugly, waving your hand out the window. Check yourself. Oh, warriors and Conans, hope euphoria can slow dance with society. The driver's seat, the first one to get killed. Seen a light...

MIGUEL: Another song playing in my ear - it's a song by Glasser. The song is called "Apply." It's got something tribal about the song, but still electronic.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "APPLY")

GLASSER: (Singing) If the walls were too thin, you would break in. If the walls were too thin, you would break right in.

MIGUEL: The lead singer's voice is just soaring over it and there's something really primal about it that I love to listen to while I'm working out.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "APPLY")

GLASSER: (Singing) Out in the thunder opens my eyes wide. There is something in my mind keeps me up all night. Oh, when the window...

MIGUEL: The last song playing in my ear is called "Speak in Rounds" by Grizzly Bear.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPEAK IN ROUNDS")

GRIZZLY BEAR: (Singing) If I draw you upside down, I can let go.

MIGUEL: They just put a new album out called "Shield," which is an amazing album, which is kind of expected of Grizzly Bear at this point, an amazing band. I don't know. This entire album is really ethereal to me for some reason and this is the first song I heard from it. A friend recommended it and - I don't know - I'll let you listen to it and let you figure out what you love about it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPEAK IN ROUNDS")

BEAR: (Singing) Step down just once. Learn how to be alone. Step down just once. Learn how to be alone. Come get what's lost, what's left before it's gone.

HEADLEE: That was R&B singer Miguel telling us what's playing in his ear. To listen to our previous conversation with him, head over to NPR.org, click on the Programs tab and go to TELL ME MORE.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPEAK IN ROUNDS")

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