Check In to Miguel's Wildheart Motel in L.A. With Music, Art & Rihanna: See the Pics
UPDATE 2/3: Miguel's team has released a video recap of the Wildheart Motel. Watch below.
When you're heading up a dark street called Overhill Drive on your way to an undisclosed motel, it's hard not to think of The Shining. But this mysterious trip was all in the name of music and art, thanks to Miguel and his creative mind -- and even Rihanna wouldn't miss it.
For a one-weekend-only art installation, Miguel teamed up with creative director and designer Willo Perron to turn a seedy Baldwin Hills, Calif., motel into a living, breathing peep show. Guests were invited to move in and out of the 21 rooms as they wished, traveling from an active sex therapy session to a dance-party cave dripping with stalactites to stacks of minifridges filled with tiny bottles of liquor to a room with a flowing waterfall wall.
But there were a couple of spaces that hogged the all-star action on Friday night. The first was the jam room, where Miguel's actual guitarist, bassist and drummer played all night with an open mic in front of them, inviting motel guests to join in. Well, the mic was open most of the night, except a little after 11:30 p.m. PT, when the band took a break and this Billboard reporter was one of about 10 people luckily sitting inside as Miguel strolled in and grabbed the stand. His guitarist wasn't far behind and played the opening strains of early jam "Supernatural." "Oh shit, I was only 14 when I wrote that!" Miguel smiled, but still did a pretty impressive job with the deep cut. (You can watch the nearly half-hour performance on Periscope.) Next up was "Vixen" from his 2010 debut album, All I Want Is You.
But the highlight of the set was Miguel telling his story of trying to become a star, as his band vamped in the background. He wiped tears from his eyes as he recalled getting rejection after rejection as a teenage hopeful and being told there was no place for him in the music industry when he finally did get a deal. What followed was a freestyled song that climaxed with the directive to the small group in the room to "Follow yourself." (Find Miguel's other jam sessions, which took place at 2 a.m. and beyond, here and here, including a group sing-along of The Temptations' "My Girl.")
The other golden-ticket space was the karaoke room, where Rihanna showed up after 1 a.m. dressed down in a green sweatsuit and yellow ball cap to sing the Mary J. Blige classic "Not Gon' Cry," even instructing her fellow singer to "read the lyrics" in this Instagram video:
A handful of Instagram photographers were the only ones allowed in the motel with cameras, thanks to a partnership between Miguel and @music. One of those photographers captured Miguel and Rihanna in the karaoke room:
What an amazing night and once in a lifetime experience... @badgalriri came in to the #wildheartmotel and did an impromptu performance with @miguel tonight... I somehow was one of 30 people in the room and still have goosebumps from how much talent and energy was flowing through the air. Thank you so much to @music and @instagram for giving me the opportunity to witness and capture such greatness! #earlycheckin #miguel #rihanna #losangeles #losangelesphotographer #laphotographer #grizzleemartin
Below, find the rest of their photos from the night, along with the couple of pictures and videos shared by Miguel himself.
Welcome to #wildheartmotel! Big thanks to @miguel and @music @Instagram for inviting me to be apart of #earlycheckin for the opening night of #wildheartmotel. This is an experience presented by @Miguel and @willoperron. Many artists collaborated on this residency and guests can look forward to seeing Miguel, along with other surprise musicians, perform throughout the weekend while they wander through the rooms of the residency.
Welcome to #wildheartmotel! Big thanks to @miguel and @music @Instagram for inviting me to be apart of #earlycheckin for the opening night of #wildheartmotel. This is an experience presented by @Miguel and @Willoperron. Many artists collaborated on this residency and guests can look forward to seeing Miguel, along with other surprise musicians, perform throughout the weekend while they wander through the rooms of the residency.
The next Wildheart Motel installation is Saturday night (Jan. 30) and will stream live on WildheartMotel.com.