Bringing Latin music and dance to the Southampton Arts Center on August 20, singer and songwriter Migguel Anggelo—who has performed on some of the world’s greatest stages in Venezuela, Mexico City, Columbia, Argentina and Germany, as well as renowned Joe’s Pub in Manhattan—took time out of his busy schedule to speak with us about his creative background, where he finds the inspiration for his songs, his band The Immigrants and what he’s most looking forward to about performing at the Southampton Arts Center.
How did you get started singing and songwriting?
I have that influence in my family. My mother was a ballet dancer, and I grew up watching classic movies with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. The moment I saw Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, I said, “Uh oh, this is what I want to do. I want to be one of the members of the Von Trapp Family.” The Sound of Music is so beautiful.
Where do you find inspiration for your songs?
Basically every day there is something. I find inspiration in what happens to be around. I can work on the subway. I can work in Central Park. It’s like, if I meet someone for a coffee and a conversation, afterwards I’d maybe write a song about it. I write a song whenever I find something interesting.
What are you hoping your music brings to people?
When I’m on stage I want to make people happy. I want to bring people happiness, but at the same time I want people to think, too. I think the one bad thing about humans is we forget things. For an example, what happened in Orlando—the big thing is we were all upset, and now a month later nobody’s talking about it, and I ask, why? People were killed there! It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight. People were having fun at a disco, and one psychopath comes along and kills them. It can happen to you. It can happen to me. It can happen even when we go to buy bread in a bakery. And then people forget about it, and are on to the next thing, and I say, no! We need to do something to make this world better, because we’re all the same. If you cut the skin of the homeless man next to the Queen of England, the color of the blood is exactly the same—it’s red. We’re all human beings.
What do you believe is so important about art, and having access to art at a young age?
The government should never cut art education. If you cut art education the future is going to be so bad. If you teach art to young children, and they grow up going to museums, seeing art, opera, reading books—believe me, the world would be so different now. When you educate young people, they’re going to feel something beautiful in their minds. When I went home to see my nephew, he asked me if I wanted to see his video game, and then I saw the game where this guy decides which gun he wants to kill everybody with, and I told him no, that he cannot play this in my house. You need to educate people. If you don’t, it’s going to be a disaster. If you educate people with art the new generation will be amazing.
What was the inspiration for your most recent album, La Casa Azul?
I was living in Mexico, and one day I went to see La Casa Azul, the house of Frida Kahlo. I love Frida Kahlo, and I think she’s a big example of how you enjoy your life even if you have struggles. She said, “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly.” So I wrote this song about Frida, and how she grew up. The inspiration for this album was a tribute to Frida Kahlo and her house, the blue house in Mexico City.
You’ll be performing at the Southampton Arts Center on August 20. What are you most looking forward to?
I’ve been to the Hamptons a couple of times. I have friends who have a house there, and I love it! It’s so peaceful. And I’m excited to go there because I’m going to bring my songs, plus songs from Latin America. People need to be ready to dance because it’s going to be a huge party! We’re so happy. And right now I’m working on writing a new show. My concerts are very theatrical. All the songs I put together tell a story. We’re just very excited!
Migguel Anggelo and The Immigrants will be performing at the Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton, on Saturday, August 20 at 6 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets visit southamptonartscenter.org or call 631-283-0967.