New “Heights”: Miguel Plays DJ for MTV Series

R&B artist brings LA flavor to NYC neighborhood

A continent may separate them, but R&B artist Miguel knows something about the kids populating MTV’s new docu-series Washington Heights. Like them, he dreamed big. The San Pedro native grew up adjacent to the projects, the son of a Mexican father and African-American mother. At 14, he announced he wanted to become a singer. Then he did.

Now Miguel debuts as guest music supervisor on the reality series, which follows the romances, ambitions, and catfights among nine young people in New York City’s Dominican-American neighborhood, à la a classed-up version of Jersey Shore. The Feb. 6 episode will feature a curated soundtrack with songs from LA musicians Thundercat and Dom Kennedy, as well as Miguel’s own Billboard 100 hit “Adorn.”

“What I really wanted to accomplish with this opportunity was somehow bridging the gap,” says Miguel. “I thought it would be a really good juxtaposition to take young, hungry kids from New York and help tell their stories with music from young, up-and-coming and hungry kids from L.A.”

MTV’s guest curator program has offered stints to several well-known artists (though mostly for the channel’s West Coast shows). Previous hosts include Pete Wentz for The Hills, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker for Laguna Beach, and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino for Awkward.

A mere four days after his MTV gig, Miguel is up for five awards at the Feb. 10 Grammys including Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best Urban Contemporary Album—alongside Frank Ocean and Chris Brown, who recently made headlines with their Anchorman-style brawl over a parking space at a West Hollywood recording studio.

As far as pre-awards PR campaigns go, we’re giving this one to Miguel.