Every few years an artist hits the Soul Music world with advance buzz strong enough to land him a major recording contract and out-of-the-box media interest. In 200t, that story was Raul Midon.
Born in Embudo, New Mexico to an Argentinean professional dancer father and a New York-born mother (who died when Raul was very young), Midon was exposed to music his entire childhood. Despite being born blind, Midon took on multiple instruments early -- first drums, then guitar -- and his fascination with Argentinean percussion and American jazz and blues led to an interesting amalgamation of styles that later crept into his own music as an adult.
Midon attended college in Miami and then began a career as a studio musician and vocalist in the Latin music scene. After self-releasing the album Blind To Reality in 2001, Midon moved to New York and began playing the club circuit. He soon gained a significant following among fans of multiple genres attracted to his powerful live performances that mixed elements of Latin music, R&B and folk, all fronted by his strong, soulful voice. A fantastic video of an August 2003 concert at the Kennedy Center (available for viewing at the Kennedy Center Website) brought music media attention and Midon gained the reputation as the next great unsigned artist. After releasing a live EP in 2004 he was signed by Manhattan Records and spent the next year working on his first major label studio album, State of Mind.
While highly anticipated, State of Mind presented a minor dilemma for an artist who has gained a sterling reputation as a live performer and who has been singing many of the disc's cuts in concert for several months. Fortunately, working with legendary producer Arif Mardin, Midon created a studio album that has the feel of a small club acoustic performance. The disc was a moderate hit, especially following a series of high profile television appearances. It also led to even more extensive touring by Midon.
In 2007, Midon released his follow-up album, World Within a World. While it certainly had its moments, including the great first track "Pick Somebody Up," it came and went from the charts relatively quickly and ended his time with Blue Note Records. Midon then focused on touring around the world for the next couple of years before signing with classical label Decca Records and beginning work on his third disc, Synthesis, an April 2010 release. Synthesis includes more tempo than Midon's first couple of albums and boasted some of his strongest, most melodic songwriting. Midon continued to record and perform internationally in the years following, and issued the excellent Don't Hesitate in 2014.
by Chris Rizik