Catching Up With Sebastian
I recently had the opportunity to interview up and coming artist, Sebastian. Sebastian is a rare find. At just 19 years old, he already has years of musical experience, which includes appearing on Star Search at the age of 13 and recording background vocals for two songs on Stevie Wonder’s A Time to Love album (A Time to Love and My Love Is On Fire). He also recorded the song Where Do I Go From Here for the soundtrack of Disney’s Jump In. Sebastian is currently signed to Siri Music, a division of the Universal Motown Republic Group with an album slated to be released later this year. Sebastian’s fans are anxiously awaiting the release of the album, as shown by the thousands of plays of the songs posted on his MySpace page.
Sebastian has a great personality and we had a wonderful conversation about his musical experiences, today’s music industry and his upcoming album. Here’s part of our conversation:
Mimi Soul: You seem to have an older vibe, one that’s definitely unlike most artists your age. What would you attribute that to?
Sebastian: You grow up fast in this music industry. You’re always around adults and you’re hearing conversations and seeing things. So, you have to grow up fast and be on your game because adults are usually on their game.
Mimi Soul: I read that Donny Hathaway is one of your musical influences. Why is that?
Sebastian: Donny Hathaway is my biggest musical influence because he left behind a great legacy and he really inspired me to do music. I remember when I first heard A Song for You, I didn’t go any further on the album for 2 weeks. And, when I finally listened to the other songs, they just got better and better. I’ll even admit that I cried when I first heard Giving Up. If Donny were alive today, I’d jump through hoops to work with him.
Mimi Soul: What are some of the things that you’d like listeners to gain from your music?
Sebastian: I want people to gain the love, passion, hard work, and dedication that I put into my music. I don’t want to sound too serious because I’m a bubbly person. But, I really do respect what I do and I don’t want people to see me as just another artist singing. I like to keep my music young, but I want to say things in a sophisticated way. I want my listeners to span a large range of ages, from young to old.
Mimi Soul: What advice would you give young artists who are considering pursuing a music career?
Sebastian: I would advise them to stay persistent. In this industry, a record label can tell you that they like you and you may never hear from them again. So, you really have to be dedicated and never give up. Those who are weak-minded and lack confidence in their ability won’t last long. If you have talent, run with it. It was given to you for a reason, so craft it as best as you can. There’s a phrase that I heard from Diddy’s camp that I really like and it says “Don’t think about what you’re used to. Think about what you’re trying to get into.” I think that’s great advice.
Mimi Soul: You’ve appeared on Stevie Wonder’s A Time to Love album as well as the soundtrack for Disney’s Jump In. What were those recording experiences like? Are there any artists you’d like to work with in the future?
Sebastian: Working with Stevie was an experience that I’ll never forget. You can’t top the kind of knowledge that he has. He gave me pointers that not a lot of people can give me. The Jump In experience was really cool and I had a lot of fun doing that project.
I’d love to work with Drake, Alicia Keys, India Arie, John Legend, T-Pain, and Robin Thicke. And, I was just thinking last night that I’d like to work with Rihanna. Rihanna’s style is a little techno mixed with r&b and I’d be open to trying to make that kind of music with her. I think she’d bring a really creative, artistic, vibrant style out of me.
Mimi Soul: Could you tell us a little about your upcoming album? Are you writing any of the songs for it?
Sebastian: I’m definitely writing songs for it because I have stuff to say. I’ve been in relationships and experienced things so I know I can communicate with people who have been in or out of relationships. All of the songs that you’ll hear on my album will be songs that I have a connection to. I believe you have to have a connection with all of the songs on your album because those are the songs that you’re going to be performing for thousands of people. One reason why younger artists like me respect the older artists from back in the day is because they put the same emotion into their songs during every performance.
It didn’t take me long to realize that although Sebastian is young, he obviously has the musical perspective of a seasoned professional. His outlook on the music industry resembles that of an artist who is poised to become a mainstay on today’s soul music scene. I will certainly update you all when his album is released. In the meantime, you can continue listening to his music by visiting his MySpace page.
Thanks Sebastian for a delightful interview!