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Miguel mesmerizes at Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric

Since he debuted in 2010 with his hit album "All I Want Is You," it became clear that Miguel was something special.

The Los Angeles crooner's distinct, smooth, velvety sound; sexy lyrics; and catchy tracks has made him R&B royalty.

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He’s this generation’s answer to Prince.

But he's remained somewhat under the radar — despite winning Best R&B Song at the 2013 Grammy Awards (for “Adorn”). During that same awards show, Kelly Clarkson embarrassingly admitted that she had no idea who he was during her acceptance speech. (In fairness, she also praised his performance — that night — and said she wanted to record a duet with him.)

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It underscored just how underappreciated he is — especially with people not familiar with the R&B genre.

And even labeling him as an R&B singer is unfair. He's much more than that. His performance Wednesday night at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric for his "War and Leisure" tour showed that he pulls heavily from rock, reggae and even his Afro-Latino roots (he performed a song and spoke to the audience, at times, in Spanish.)

Miguel has layers.

Sure, he's known for his vocal ability (we'll get back to that soon) and racy lyrics. But like the man whom he draws comparisons to — Prince — he also has a socially minded voice, which we're seeing flexed by an increasing number of celebrities.

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Miguel is focusing most of his attention toward inequality for marginalized people.

It was evident from the beginning of Wednesday night's concert, which started with a video of him visiting San Bernardino County Detention Center while his song "Now" played. The song ended with a message on the jumbo screen announcing that a portion of the sales from the tour's merchandise would go to the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.

But the artist did a good job of mixing in his hits with his message so that the night didn't feel too preachy. It was also entertaining. Like I said, he has layers.

As would be fitting for a rock star, Miguel's stage was bright, brash and unapologetic.

Heavenly voices harmonized as he took the stage.

In his first song, "Criminal," his dark silhouette appeared atop an elevated tier of the stage. Miguel, who sang into a microphone stand adorned with fringe, was flanked by a drummer and DJ. Below, his guitarist and bassist jammed. The crowd was on their feet grooving along to the rock beat. A barrage of flashing lights peppered the cavernous venue.

As he popped and snaked from side to side, a spray of his braids flew through the air.

Then he launched into "How Many Drinks," which showed off his incredible falsetto ability.

As he made his way down the ramp to the bottom portion of the stage, now illuminated in a purple hue, the audience shrieked.

By the end of the song, everyone was out of their seats singing along. He had entranced his audience.

Other highlights of the evening included: the performance of "Sure thing," originally a sultry mid-tempo song that he sped up with great success; when he picked up a guitar and launched into "Simple Things"; and when he performed the crowd-favorite "Do You..."

With a mesh of Caribbean sounds with a rock sensibility, the catchy "Do You..." had everyone swaying and grooving along. It was also another chance for Miguel to show off his ridiculous vocal range. He wove the song "Pass the Dutchie" into the hit; and ended with an amazing riff that was equal parts breathtaking and strong.

One of the most amazing aspects of the night was Miguel's voice, which was always clear and in tune, and never cracked or wavered. In a time when spaghetti-thin vocal abilities are common place, Miguel's voice is refreshing and impressive.

Miguel also threw in a slew of his hits — "Lotus Flower Bomb," "All I Want Is You," "Power Trip" and "Lost in Your Light" — during a medley toward the end of the concert.

His encore, which featured three songs, including the Grammy-winning "Adorn," was alone worth the price of admission. His encore, featuring three songs, included a performance of the Grammy-winning “Adorn,” which, alone, was worth the price of admission.

He performed the song with ease and as much energy as when he began the concert — hitting falsetto notes throughout.

Wednesday's concert made it clear that Miguel is a multi-talented artist with a phenomenal voice and something to say.

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