SDSU marketing major Miguel Silva was raised by his Portuguese-American family in the Bay Area, and shares why he killed his stage alter ego “Dr. Sexxxy” and what he brings to the music industry.
When I was 4 years old my babysitter would always record me singing. I had this little toy guitar. It was kind of like the beginning of it all, I didn't really start getting into music until I was 12 years old, that's when I picked up the guitar. I've been playing guitar for nine years now.
Who taught you how to play?
I had a teacher; his name was Mark, my mom found him. He taught me guitar for three years and then he decided, ‘I have nothing left to teach you, so you're on your own now.’ I've been solo ever since. I play a little bit of keyboard and I sing, but the guitar is my main thing.
Your genre of music is really interesting, what would you call it?
Acoustic, but I do take a lot of influence from Soul and R&B, especially my vocal inflections. I don't think folk is very accurate, I’ve heard other folk artists and I don’t see the similarity.
If I had to pick who I get my inspiration from, Stevie Wonder is number one. Frank Ocean, definitely, especially the way he writes lyrics.
How do you match your lyrics with your music so that they share the same tone and mood?
I have a bunch of guitar melodies and riffs in my head I've written over the years. Lyrics is usually the last thing that comes to mind. With Watch Out Doctor, the way I structured that album was I created a story and I made every song correspond to that story. I just picked whichever instrument I thought would be good and kind of altered the singing and matched the emotion that way. A lot of it was off the cuff, on the spot.
When do you come up with the melodies?
They just come into my head. I don't really take time to write melodies, it's really the lyrics that take time to write. I’d say it's much harder, in my opinion. It’s really easy to write bad lyrics, but if you want to write good, meaningful lyrics you really have to sit down to bring forth something unique that people don't usually hear. While at the same time also making it relatable, I think that's important. You want people to understand you, but you also want to show something different about yourself.
Why do you do this? What is your push?
When I was a kid I didn't really do anything, so I had a lot of unused mental energy. I was often being loud, making a mess. I guess picking up the guitar and singing and writing music was a way to bring out all that creative energy, really just a huge channel. I've tried to be in band but I never work out in bands, I'm too Miguel for that. I'm just in my own world all the time. But I have been in collaborations with friends who play music, back in high school stuff like that. That whole album [Watch Out Doctor] was done by me and my producer, Josh, up in Pomona. So I consider him probably my closest musical partner.
I'm currently writing for what should be my next project. I plan to work on that with Josh as well, and it’ll be longer than Watch Out Doctor and be pretty different. Much of Watch Out Doctor focused too much on the story, I feel like it's not a lot on the music. So I kind of want to take out those narrations and just sing.
Watch Out Doctor was really a concept album. You think, moving forward, you might not do that again?
Maybe. I would do it again, but not in the same way. The reason I made Watch Out Doctor was because before that I used to perform under the name “Dr. Sexxxy.” People kind of thought of it as a joke, and used me as a comedy act and I didn't like that so I thought I would kill him with an album.
I just did small house shows, I wasn't too well known. It was a little melodramatic to think I needed to escape this persona, but that's just how I was feeling at the time.
In Portugal, I always felt like the super-American kid, and here I feel too Portuguese sometimes. My grandparents live there; both my parents are from there, pretty much all my ancestors and all my cousins. I just want people to understand me better, I guess. The ultimate endgame is just to make music, honestly.