The journey has just begun for Miguel Dakota. Though it might not have been an easy path from getting his first guitar when he was 11 years old, he is now within reach of his dreams. The Colorado native and ‘America’s Got Talent’ finalist didn’t know much more than the scene of playing at coffee shops, but now he is very aware of the rush you get when you perform with Lenny Kravitz on a stage in front of millions of viewers.
“Everything from here on out is for music and my family,” Dakota explained. “I will do whatever it takes to make it.”
Dakota grew up in Monument and had a rather quiet childhood, but everything didn’t remain undamaged. After his dad moved to another country, it was clear that his dad would not play a big part in the house, so he would take over in that area. Outside of music, Dakota did whatever it took to help out his family, even if it meant dropping out of college, in order to help support his siblings. He has worked many construction and landscaping jobs to scrape up extra cash and now, he has a chance to still help support his family, but through hard work in the studio.
Things started to move fast after Dakota submitted his Reverbnation profile to an ‘America’s Got Talent’ competition. A little while after submitting his music profile, he received a phone call that ended up changing his whole world. He had made it through to the next stage, which would be to perform in front of a few producers in Denver. After weeks and months of auditions and waiting, he had earned a spot on the ‘America’s Got Talent’ stage. There, in New York City, would be an opportunity of a lifetime.
“My experience on AGT was completely incredible,” Dakota said. “It was nerve-racking, but I loved it. I loved everything about it and I really loved being in New York.”
He stepped on stage in front of the AGT judges and strummed his guitar, winning over the crowd with his rendition of Alex Clare’s “Too Close.” Within a couple of minutes, everything had turned around for Dakota. One day he was a construction worker, just getting by, and the next he was a national sensation on AGT.
“I got to meet so many different people with so many different talents,” Dakota said. “Seeing that passion really inspired me.”
Even though the crowd might be a lot bigger in New York City, he was able to get past any nerves he might have had and managed to improve with every performance. As season nine of AGT went on, Dakota continued to gain fans each week. As the show neared the end, he found himself a finalist. The big day came and went, but he didn’t leave the show with the grand prize. He might not have left with any money, but he left with some well-deserved buzz that might just catapult his career as a musician.
After traveling around the country with AGT, he returned home, where he is now preparing for a national tour for his debut album, Love & Freedom. Dakota and his newly formed band worked endlessly for months to have the album done for a Valentine’s Day release, which they couldn’t have done without the support of Dakota’s fans.
The Dakota team put together a fundraising campaign and launched it on Pledge Music. Based on how much each supporter donated, they could have received a number of things ranging from a free copy of the CD to a beanie that he wore on AGT. The site is very similar to Kickstarter, but it’s more directed toward up-and-coming musicians.
Once they hit their target, they launched the recording process and the whole experience ended being something Dakota had never been through.
“I’ve never recorded a full album, so it was a way different experience recording this album,” he said. “It was strenuous and it was tedious at times, but it was good.”
During the planning and writing for the album, Dakota and his lead guitarist, Ryan Wagner, wrote out all of the songs before heading into the studio.
“It’s been very different working with a band now, but we will be playing as a band from now on,” Dakota explained. “Since it was new to me, we flipped things around a lot during the recording. We just added things to the record as we went along and it came out great.”
Moving forward, Dakota will be on a mission with no looking back. His journey has made him who he is today, but there’s a lot more of his story that is left to be lived.
“This is all a growing thing,” he said. “I just want to be connected to the music industry.”