New recording artist Sebastian Mikael recently signed to the Epic label imprint Vested in Culture and he is definitely an artist to watch. Originally from Sweden, Sebastian further cultivated his musical talents at Berklee College of Music in Boston, which profoundly shaped the direction of his career. With a soulful, emotional sound, he's being compared to Fitz and the Tantrums, D’Angelo and other breakout artists. His original style is heartbreakingly clear and honest. I was lucky enough to chat with this up-and-coming artist about his journey, his process, and more.
How did attending The Berklee College of Music in Boston shape your musical career?
It was moving to the States that really made me grow musically. I moved here by myself when I was 19 and making music was my only goal. I studied at Berklee, and that’s where I really found my sound. I’d first heard about Berklee because of my mom when I was 17. She told me about it, I checked it out and it wasn’t until later that I found out that all of these great artists [John Mayer, Passion Pit] went there. I loved it so much after that first summer break that I just had to go back.
Now that you've just been signed to a major label, what can we expect from your first record?
I want to put out the most basic, the most distinctive version of my songs. Basic production, very rhythmic, upbeat; a very cool album with a lot of different elements. Rhythmic, to perfection is my goal.
Who are some of your favorite artists currently? What draws you most to the music you listen to?
I look for originality and realness, telling a story; I like that the most. Right now, I’m listening to Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Coldplay, Lykke Li, a lot of Little Dragon right now. I like to listen to many different genres.”
You maintain a strong and connected social media presence. Why does it matter to you to interact with your fans on such an intimate level?
When people comment on my music, that’s motivation for me, I’m so thankful for the fans. When we interact, it changes something, gets them closer to my music, and by sharing with them, I show who I am.
Your sound is eclectic but has a strong R&B influence. Where do you draw your musical influences from, from growing up in Sweden, going to school in Boston and now living in California?
There are so many different elements, I listened to so many genres as a kid. The artist that influenced me the most was Marvin Gaye. I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, D’Angelo…the list goes on.
With so many exciting events coming up in the near future, where do you envision yourself in the next couple of years?
I want to get my first album out and make it exactly the way I envision it. I want to show the story, make it great. Mostly importantly…I hope to put my story out there, share my vision of music; that’s my goal.
To learn more about Sebastian Mikael, you can visit his website, here.