Miguel Ayesa is a multi talented recording artist who has explored many different avenues throughout his music career. MiG's commanding vocals have landed him leading roles in West End products, a record deal with Universal, a shot at fronting the legendary INXS , and even performing for Queen Elizabeth II
Can you tell us a bit about your experience working with music industry giant Universal Records to release your self titled album "MiG" last year?
It has been a real roller-coaster ride, to say the least. It started as my dream come true. All my life I wanted to be a recording artist with a major label. I almost gave up many years ago, thinking my time had passed. But then suddenly I was offered a deal by a major label in the most major market in the world, the US market. I couldnt believe it! However, it was a deal that was plagued with problems from the word go. The record was released too late to capitalize on the momentum created from ROCKSTAR:INXS (due to INXS taking over 6 months to sign off on the deal), and from there the problems just spiraled. I had my champions within my Decca label who worked very hard for me, but unfortunately the phantoms of the industry were against us. My greatest joy working with Universal was actually when I had the chance to release the record internationally. With the exception of the South African contingent, the Universal teams in every country were extremely enthusiastic and excited to work on the record and we saw fantastic success in several countries in Asia, in particular Hong Kong and Singapore, where the CD hit HMVs top 10 list. This is where working with a major label really pays off, as the network and power that they have between territories can really help you push your music to the best of its potential. The video for SHE LOVED is now playing on Channel V and MTV Asia and was added to many stations, as were other tracks from the album. It was a great comfort to know that these people in all these regions were all working to get my music heard.
You just finished an international tour playing Galileo in the popular West End musical production We Will Rock You. What is it like to do a West End show? How did you cope with the heavy tour schedule? What is the audition process like?
Im sure people have different experiences about being in musicals, but my experience with WE WILL ROCK YOU has been nothing less than incredible.
I first auditioned for the role when I was living in London in 2003. My first audition was terrible. I had not warmed up enough, and I sang WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS like a strangled cat. I had to beg them to let them see me again, so when I returned I made sure I had warmed up and as I stepped onto the stage, I saw that Brian May from Queen was sitting on the audition panel! I sang like my life depended on it and must have scored some points because they offered me the part and before long I was playing the lead in a major West End hit show.
I played the role for 2 years in London before I left to do ROCKSTAR:INXS in Los Angeles. When they asked me to join the International tour at the end of last year, I jumped at the chance to do so because it really was the best job I have ever had. Imagine singing some of the best rock anthems of all time to an 8 piece kick-ass band, a 30 voice backing choir and a stage and lighting rig that would put Spinal Tap to shame.
The heavy touring schedule was hectic but at the same time is what kept doing the show exciting and new. We had an opening night every couple of months or so, new theatre, new audiences, new changes, new culture to experience. It really was a win-win situation. The down sides were of course being away from home and having limited time with your loved ones, living out of a suitcase, the jet lag and stomach viruses but apart from that it is a very charmed life. To complain would really be wrong and ungrateful for the amazing opportunities presented to us on tour.
My association with the show has been priceless. To work with both Brian May and Roger Taylor from QUEEN, to lead a major show ion Londons West End, to tour the world, to perform for the likes of Anthony Kiedis, The Foo Fighters, Joss Stone, Demi Moore, The Darkness, Priscilla Presley, Joe Elliot along with many other high profile celebrities are just a few of the great things I have experienced performing in WE WILL ROCK YOU.
How was WWRY received in countries that were not predominantly English speaking?
Some jokes may have been lost in translation, but it became evident to me that we are all the same, as music truly is the universal language. Every audience in every country responded to the music exactly the same way, despite what language they spoke. Standing ovations every night! This show is a great formula for success, tried again and again.
You were a top three finalist in the hit show Rockstar: INXS. How were you scouted for the show? Do you have any tips on how to gain exposure and get noticed?
I actually heard about the show from a friend of mine while I was living in London, performing in WE WILL ROCK YOU. I had been a huge INXS fan all my life (being a Sydney boy myself), so was fascinated about the project.
I applied online for an audition and was given a time to visit them casting agents at the Shepherds Bush Empire. After a couple of call backs, I was told that I had made the world-wide final 50 and had to be flown to Los Angeles for the final 2 weeks of intense auditionings and screenings.
To make the final 15 was a huge deal and to make the final 3 was just unbelievable, to think they saw about 20,000 people world-wide. Normally I would have scorned at the idea of entering a reality talent competition like this, but the music industry has changed and indeed the world has changed. You do need a step-up these days to raise your profile to get noticed.
These type of shows are an excellent way to fast- lane yourself to exposure. Even though you may not take home the prize, the time you spend in front of the camera is priceless. Show them what you got, but be yourself. This is your chance to shine and so put your best foot forward.
I often think about how much better I could have done on the show, but I have been able to make the best of my time there and am so proud of the work I have done since. I have never been more busy! Things just dont happen for you. You have to be more proactive than ever. No-one can make it work for you other than you. You make it what it can be. No-one else will do it for you.
What's next for MiG?
I love every aspect of this business and the trick to longevity is versatility. I am focusing on a new CD which I hope to release early next year but have got some tentative dates for a couple of concert tours in Asia and the US, which one of them is scheduled to actually be televised. I guess I should be careful for what I wish for!
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