Raul Midón spent years building a reputation in the Magic City, performing at spots like the Van Dyke Café and singing backup for Latin pop stars like Jennifer Lopez and Alejandro Sanz. He even landed a contract with BMG US Latin, which issued his Gracias a la Vida.
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His journey ended in New York, where he found community in the city's future soul scene. He memorably appeared on Louie Vega's house-oriented Elements of Life project in 2004, and found a platform in Manhattan Records, which issued his extraordinary State of Mind last year. Bolstered by guests like Stevie Wonder, Jason Mraz, Sammy Figueroa, and many others, it is Midón's breakout disc. His fluidity in a variety of genres from acoustic soul to Latin and contemporary jazz yields fantastic songs like "Sunshine" and "Expressions of Love." Midón may have left Miami behind, but he occasionally visits his former home to perform for audiences, reminding them of what they once called their own. Mosi Reeves