Pitts first came across Miguel two years ago, when he was working on Usher's album Here I Stand. "His manager at the time sent 'Sure Thing' to me for Usher," recalls Pitts. "When I heard it, I fell in love with the record, fell in love with his voice and I wanted to meet him. Before I met him, he sent in 'Quickie' and another record and I was like 'This is crazy!' I flew him, didn't let him leave and I signed him on the spot. The last time I had that immediate gut feeling was with Chris Brown and J. Cole and I was absolutely right about both."
What most sets Miguel apart, says Pitts, is "his style, his pen game [songwriting] and his sense of melody, there's no one else like that. Even more so, it's his style and daring to be different."
It was Pitts who insisted that "Adorn" be the first single off Miguel's sophomore album. "Miguel sent the short version to me one morning and I was listening to it while driving on the Westside Highway on my way to the office," recalls Pitts. "I was getting goose bumps, my eyes got watery and I was like, "This is it. I told him, 'I don't care what you bring in, what other songs you do, this is the jump off.' It's that type of slow song that make you want to dance."
The song took off on radio, making a splash on five different Billboard charts, and peaking at No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, where it's still No. 1. Wiz Khalifa jumped on the remix. It was just one of the many gems on the album.
As for his strategy in 2013 for Miguel, Pitts says it's all about focus and continuity. "You know how artists would just want to jump into another vibe, another world? They want to push the envelope and go somewhere else? It works for some and that's the beauty of what they do, being able to make all type of records, but I don't want to take that approach with Miguel," says Pitts. "His live performances will continue to get better and better, and he'll grow as an artist but musically, I want to keep focusing on where we are right now," says Pitts, "I want to find more clever ways of getting his music heard all over the world, by the masses. I don't want to try to make a completely different album or try to change things to help that process. I feel eventually, it's going to catch on all over."
Miguel sounds excited about going on tour with Alicia Keys starting in March. The two collaborated on the track "Where's the Fun in Forever" from Kaleidoscope Dream. "I've never toured with an artist with the kind of reach that she has," says Miguel, who has opened for Usher and toured with Trey Songz and Elle Varner. "The kind of artist that she is, the expectation of her artistry, I'm excited to be associated with that kind of musicianship."
Keys recently expressed her admiration for Miguel during a Google Hangout session while promoting her album last month. "The way you piece ideas and concepts and thoughts, you are really special," she said.
It takes one to know one.