MiG ('Rockstar: INXS')
'Baby, You're Gonna Love HIS Way!'
Born in Manila, Philippines (where his parents are from), MiG's family moved to Sydney, Australia, when he was 2 years old. MiG was studying communications at Macquarie University in Sydney when he was offered the role of Ritchie Valens in the theater production of "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story." He decided to put his studies on hold and went on tour with the production all across Australia.
MiG has since performed in theater, commercials, television series and films. He has also been part of the bands Randy Badass & The Slickmaster Five, Lovetown, The Honkies and The Riva Band.
MiG moved from Sydney to London in 2002 so that he could look for a publishing company for his material. Brian May from the band Queen took an interest in his work and they are working on a collaboration with his band Mignition. MiG most recently starred as Galileo in London's West End production of 'We Will Rock You.'
MiG currently resides between London, England and Los Angeles, CA which is where we caught up with him this week for a quick chat.
Why did you enter 'Rockstar: INXS' in the first place? "It's funny because I was really having a great time in London. I had a wonderful job playing the lead in 'We Will Rock You' and I had just signed for a third year. So I had no intention of leaving the show. But, then I heard about this 'Rockstar: INXS' and it kinda freaked me out a little bit. INXS were one of my favorite bands growing up and so the whole notion of them finding a new lead singer really excited me. I was actually thinking that I would love to do that. And yet kinda also thinking I might have a chance at this."
"The crazy thing is I've always wanted to be a recording artist, but I actually gave that idea up a few years ago - because I thought I was too old. But then this notion of actually becoming the lead singer of this band - whose members were way older than me - made me think that I was young again," he laughs. "So the show gave me a new chance, a new birth of interest. It was perhaps my last chance of becoming a recording artist and that the exposure that I would get from the show would be a really great thing too. The fact that we were playing three nights a week on prime time US television was nothing that you could sneeze at."
So how did those auditions go in the early stages? "The thing about the auditions is that you just think nothing of them after you've done them. I did them and then let them go. I just forgot all about it. The next thing you know I get this call saying they want to see me again. 'You're coming to LA.' So, the whole thing just kept snowballing into me becoming one of the final fifteen and being on the show. It was just like a whirlwind ride from there on."
At what point during the show did you know that you weren't going to win? "I had a really strong feeling about four weeks before the end. It was the time when I choose to do a ballad for an original song which went down like a lead balloon! It was the same episode that JD gave birth to 'Pretty Vegas' and Marty Casey gave birth to 'Trees.' And so from that point on they were playing 'Pretty Vegas' every episode and every show. So, I was like, 'That's it. I've blown it.' So, basically at that point all I wanted to do was hang on until the end."
"There were three more elimination's before that and I actually thought that my time to go was the final elimination show when there was just four of us left. There was Suzie McNeil, JD, Marty and myself and I knew it wasn't gonna be JD or Marty because of their popularity. And so I thought that they gotta have a woman in the final so that left ... me! So, I felt for sure I as the one gone from the show. That was the first week that I was in the bottom three out of all the weeks. And what made it worse was that they said, 'And the top three people left in the contest will win a Honda Civic.' Every breath in me was screaming 'Don't send me home'! 'Please, I want the f**kin' car!' Also my wife was flying in from London to see the final and so I really wanted to be on stage. But I knew a few weeks before that final stage that it wasn't gonna be me."
Was JD your choice also, perhaps? "He was singing so strongly at the end that I can't criticize their decision. Because he really gave them everything at the end. He was really fantastic. I think they wanted exactly what they got."
It's now that the interview takes a break as MiG proceeds to inform me that his dog 'Powder' (a tiny Maltese terrier) - who it turns out he'd been walking whilst chatting with me - had just off-loaded a small country via its backside. Subsequently, it was poop scoop time for the rock star!
OK, back to business (if you'll pardon the pun!) ... did it ever cross your mind to re-enter and have a crack at 'Rockstar: Supernova'? "Actually, I was at the auditions for 'Supernova' because I was doing some work for Verizon as a reporter for their V-cast. So, I went in there and interviewed some of the contestants. I saw some amazing auditions which made me think that I wanted to go all over again. But that was just a momentary lapse into insanity!"
"I also tell people that it's the greatest thing that I'll never do again and I really believe that. I don't think that I'll ever do anything like that ever again. The tension. I've never been such a nervous wreck in all my life. I didn't get to sleep through the last five weeks of the show. It was just hideous and I don't think my heart could suffer much more of that!"
If 'Rockstar: INXS' was the greatest thing you'll never do again, doesn't that kinda mean that you'll never top that euphoric experience in life? Kinda sad, isn't it?! "Hardly! I didn't feel too much euphoria during 'ROCKSTAR: INXS.' As I say, I felt angst, pressure, nervousness, heart-palpitations, excitement, sleeplessness, disappointment, disgust, loneliness, horror, shame, abuse, betrayal and sadness. My time with 'WE WILL ROCK YOU' far surpassed any sense of euphoria with the show."
"The greatest single event that happened in 'RS: INXS' was when they surprised me with a visit from my wife. Seeing her again was the greatest euphoria I felt in the 3 months I was sequestered in the mansion. I accepted my predicament and appreciate all it had to offer, but it was far from euphoric. It was the hardest time of my life. I'm glad I did it, but so glad it's over. I will take all the good and bad that happened in there, made lots of amazing friends I will treasure forever, but so glad I made it out alive, and with a recording contract with Decca/Universal records. Now THAT"S euphoria!"
Please tell us more about your new record deal with Universal Classics and what we are to expect "Yeah, that was directly related to my appearances on 'Rockstar.' An A&R manager from New York saw the show - and it was the episode when I played 'Baby, I Love Your way' on the piano - and he just came at me with this idea for an album that he'd been toying with for quite some time. So, we sat down and talked about it and he signed me straight away. I am very excited to be working with him on this. The album is done, completed and finished and is out in January 2007. I'm very excited."
What's the title going to be? "Well, it's self-titled, being that it's my first album. So it's self-titled 'MiG'. I have to remind people that I'm still out there as it's been a while since they saw me."
Is MiG short for something, perhaps? "Yeah, it's short for Miguel. I was born in the Philippines, but I have Spanish, Filipino, Austrian heritage ... and grew up in Australia! So, I'm a bit of a mutt, really! I'm a citizen of the global nation and I'm very proud."
Stepping away from the whole 'Rockstar' thing for a moment, please tell us more about your role in the aforementioned Freddie Mercury/Queen inspired London show, 'We Will Rock You' "Well, 'WE WILL ROCK YOU' is set in the future. I played this kid who calls himself GALILEO FIGARO. He gets these psychic messages from rock songs from the past, the strongest messages are from the mighty QUEEN. So I didn't have to be Freddie, but I did have to sing his songs. That required a lot of discipline to do basically a rock concert up to 8 times a week. Vocal warm-up was essential. I did have to spike up my hair and physically look 18 years old, so I kept myself at peak physical condition. On stage I had to transform from a geeky teen to a rock god. It was all done with mirrors and CGI's. Wicked stuff!"
How much influence did you have to use to get Brian May to play on your 4-song EP? "Well, he didn't actually play on my tracks, but he did listen to them and he loved them. So much so, that he invited me to his studio and we re-worked the songs. He suggested some re-writes and was willing to bring the finished demos into EMI himself. Unfortunately, he shortly went on the road with QUEEN and Paul Rodgers and I auditioned for ROCKSTAR:INXS. The songs remained as demos but I hope to work with him again. He is my greatest hero, so to work with him in his private studio is an experience I will never forget."
You say that INXS were the soundtrack to your first kiss ... please explain this more! "I was 15 years old, at a dance at Santa Sabina in Strathfield, Sydney, Australia. I went to this dance with a girl, but was whisked away by another girl, and she planted this sloppy, wet, tonguey...amazing kiss on me...as the DJ played INXS's 'I SEND A MESSAGE' . It was my first kiss, but I ended up winning the 'Longest PAsh Of the Night' Award. Up to this day I feel bad for the original girl who took me to the dance. I was literally swept off my feet. The magical irony in all this, is that girl who took me to the dance, is now also signed to Decca records as an opera singer. We are label mates. Outrageous!"
Having worked with producer Matthew Wilder, did you ever chat with him about his singing career back in the day, and especially his hit song 'Break My Stride'?! Man, those were the days of pop chart innocence where anything - especially in England - could make it to #1! "Ha! We did talk about BREAK MY STRIDE. I actually bought the 12" remix of it when I was but a lad. I loved the song. He told me of those heady days of 80's decadence, but he was not immune to disappointment either. However, he had a great time and used all his success to move on in his amazing career. I don't think we have to look back at the 80's to be amazed at UK #1s. Ever heard of the Cheeky Girls?!"
What would be your favorite song on your upcoming debut album? Which one makes you the proudest to play for people you respect? "The crazy thing is (which is a magical thing) is that I have a new favourite every time I hear the album. At the moment my favourite is 'ANGIE'. The arrangement is flawless and brings the song to a whole new level. I was quite nervous about tackling 'WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER'. Having performed it so many times in 'WE WILL ROCK YOU' and knowing Brian May personally, I was so concerned about doing it justice. I love the way it turned out, and so I sent an MP3 to Brian May. His response was one of total admiration. He was literally blown away and so proud of me. It was a great moment."
And, if you could re-record any (cheesy) pop song from the '80s, which one would it be and why? "'Kyrie' by Mr. Mister. It was a song that encapsulated everything that was great about the 80's: Awesome melody, mega-melodrama, huge drums, huge harmonies, fat synth sounds, thumping bass and the occasional church bell."
Finally, we here at Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you? "I cried at 'MARCH OF THE PENGUINS.' I have seen it five times. Many of my friends are in the film 'HAPPY FEET.' Burgess Meredith and Danny Devito are two of my favourite actors. Need I say anymore?!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win a copy of Mig's new CD single, just answer this easy question: In early searches for a lead singer, INXS tried out several already-known artists, but which one took the frontman role for an abbreviated set at the opening of Sydney's Stadium Australia in 1999?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new CD singles! Just send us an e:mail here before December 1st with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: MiG CDs' to: email@example.com
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