Miguel pierced the skin on his back to achieve a stunt that had him suspended through in the air by hooks during a performance.
The singer, 37, hosted a special four-song concert at Sony Studios in Los Angeles on Friday, August 25, to preview his upcoming album, Viscera. Before beginning one track, two assistants came out to put metal rods in piercings through Miguel’s back. The rods were hooked up to wires that elevated him during the song “Rope.”
The new tune included lyrics such as, “I’m hanging on to nothing / I’m hanging from the ceiling / Rope around my neck.”
Friday’s set, which was also live-streamed, was promised to be “boundary-pushing performance” for Miguel, who hasn’t released a full-length album since 2017. He spent several months preparing for the big stunt with experts, according to TMZ.
Suspension is an ancient body modification practice that dates back at least 5,000 years, per The Atlantic, and practitioners have various reasons for suspending the body from hooks, from penance to tests of endurance to finding it meditative.
Miguel spoke about suspension with The Los Angeles Times in a feature published earlier this month, explaining that he considers it a trust exercise.
“Initially it was a bit of, ‘What is the most extreme way to push outside of what’s expected?’” Miguel told the outlet. “How far can I go in demonstrating how far I’m willing to go for art, for conversation? I couldn’t have known how committed I was to the real purpose of this s—t until I had hooks in my back.”
He explained that the weight of his body draped was as heavy as the fear and control he was struggling with. “It was a scary and freeing experience and emotion to go through because it’s such a light switch,” he said. “It has so much to do with pain. What does pain mean?”
The song “Rope” was a painful one to record. He told the LAT that he wrote the track while depressed prior to his marriage to Nazanin Mandi in 2018. (They split in 2022 and finalized their divorce in July.)
“I don’t think I’d ever been in a place where I was creating from there,” Miguel said. “You build a reputation and a repertoire around love and sex and sexiness — these completely unrelated tones. Getting to the point where I allowed myself to express these emotions was a bit of a journey.”
First appear at What?! Miguel Performs While Suspended By Hooks in Back Piercing