Sebastian Mikael has come back around with a new sound.
It's futuristic, it's soul, it's funk but most importantly, it's authentic. After taking a couple of years off to really hone in on the type of music that would breathe life back into himself and his fans, he admits to me during our call that this time around things are different. "It's an experience, it's a journey. Every element and detail is thought through. I'm excited to see what people's feedback is going to be."
And if this admission is any indication of what these last few years have dealt him, then fans are in for more than just a good album.
Sebastian Mikael - Time (Official Music Video) youtu.be
There's soft piano jazz playing as we chat, serving as a soundtrack to our conversation. His answers, much like our background music, are laced with a level of thoughtfulness and intentionality. The latter of which seems to be the running theme of his life. Everything from the lyrics he writes, the instruments he plays, and the decisions he's made in his life are all on purpose for purpose. And at the heart of it, is the desire to thrive, and hopefully inspire others by being true to who they really are, regardless of what shape that takes or what that looks like to other people.
Crediting his heaviest musical influences to artists such as Marvin Gaye, D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Pharrell and Parliament Funkadelic, his latest EP I C U U C ME Pt. II serves as both an ode to his first love and an epitome to his evolution, both musically and personally. xoNecole got the chance to catch up with the "Last Night" crooner about his new sound, struggle love, and why being authentic is so important.
You describe your sound as “futuristic soul-funk”? Give us your definition of that.
At the essence, it's soul music. I don't see a lot of people doing this, it's kind of a new wave. I've been seeing other artists be influenced by similar styles of music. I'd liken it to funkadelic rap, those who were eccentric and ahead of the curve in a way.
What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed between your first project and this latest EP?
I was really trying to find my sound and what I really wanted to do musically. I took a two- to three-year break where I was just in the studio, but there were still certain gigs that would come up.
"I got to just live life and have different experiences that really influenced my writing and I feel like it shaped the type of music I'm making."
For me, that was like the one piece that was missing, taking the time to figure out the type of artist that I am. I always think about what I love the most when it comes to music - what I see myself playing or singing for the next 20-30 years. I had to go back to my first love, which was soul/funk music. I was really inspired by that decade and the music that came out of it.
What do you want people to know about Sebastian Mikael?
I write completely from my own experiences and hope that people will relate and become inspired. As far as me personally, people will always have different perceptions of who you are, but I like the mystery of it. I don't like people being too into your private life or knowing too much about you. That'll come eventually, but it has to be some mystery while they're rocking with the music. That's why I focus on just being honest with my music.
You’ve talked about before the fact that your longtime girlfriend has been more than supportive of you and with you along your musical journey. She’s been there through the struggle. Nowadays there’s a lot of talk surrounding “saying no to struggle love.” Do you think there’s a difference between struggling through love and struggle love?
Yes, I think there's a difference between struggling through love and struggle love. To me, if you're struggling through love, you or your partner might be going through something and the both of you might be struggling to keep the relationship going through it all while sharing a common goal. "Struggle love" on the other hand just sounds so negative to me.
In what ways has loving your girlfriend affected you?
It's made me wiser. I feel like we're always learning from each other and building each other up.
"I'm more considerate. I'm better at expressing myself to her and that definitely helped me with my songwriting. She changed me in a good way."
In the beginning, we cared about Instagram and taking dope photos and things like that but nowadays, it's more about us creating dope sh-t that we want to do.
What do you do to make her feel special? How do you show affection? How do like to receive affection?
We're both artists in a sense and really into fashion and photography. So we usually just spend time creating and vibing. It's about knowing what she likes and who she is, and doing things that will make her feel good and make her happy. I love affection. I think being affectionate and intimate is super important. You just have to be open, be yourself and don't hold back.
What’s something you think today’s generation needs to understand about love and relationships?
Don't jump into things too fast, I don't think you should rush into just anything.
"You should really take the time to master yourself and your own energy."
And really get to know somebody before you just jump into it.
What are some major love or life lessons you’ve learned along your journey thus far?
Take time to master yourself and learn how to build self-awareness. A lot of things that you didn't know about yourself will come out once you get into a relationship. You also should learn how to accept other people exactly as they are and accept yourself exactly as you are, so you can be comfortable and be happy with being around your partner.
And build up your trust with your partner. A lot of arguments come from trust issues and people end up spending so much time covering up their secrets and it leads to them being paranoid. You're always wondering what the other person is thinking or what they're up to. Trusting your partner gives you peace. Knowing you can count on somebody--that's so important.