Guitarist and singer Raul Midon blends flamenco, jazz and R&B to create a category-defying sound. His life story is as inspiring as his musical vision.

Why you should listen

Raul Midon is into beating the odds, shattering stereotypes, and making category-defying music. "I was told as a child, 'You're blind; you can't do this,'" Midon told an interviewer in 2005. "I was told when I moved to New York, 'You can't do that, you're not going to make it.'" At 40, however, Midon has clearly made it.

After singing backup vocals for stars like Shakira, Julio Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera, Midon released his major-label solo debut, State of Mind, with help from guest artist Jason Mraz. Midon's innovative songwriting incorporates his lyrics, guitar handiwork (jazz, classical, flamenco, R&B) and "vocal trumpet" improvisation. Though he draws comparisons to Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Richie Havens, Midon is the rare original in an industry of few.

His latest album is A World Within a World.

What others say

"There are times when you’re reminded of a sweet-voiced Ray Charles, or Nat 'King' Cole, but everything about Midon reveals a strong, individual and totally musical mind at work." — The Guardian UK

Raul Midon’s TED talks

Raul Midon on the TED Blog

Music

"Everybody" and "Peace on Earth": Raul Midon on TED.com

July 3, 2008

Guitarist and singer Raul Midon plays “Everybody” and “Peace on Earth” during his 2007 set at TED. See both sides of Midon’s lyrical personality in the hopeful “Everybody” and the wry “Peace on Earth” — sweetened with his glorious guitar playing and soaring voice. (Recorded March 2008 in Monterey, California. Duration: 09:25.) Watch Raul Midon’s […]

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