Singer Sebastian Mikael On Why It's Important To Master Yourself To Find True Love
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.
For more of Sebastian, follow him on Instagram. And stream his new EP here.
Writer. Empath. Escapist. Young, gifted, and Black. Shanelle Genai is a proud Southern girl in a serious relationship with celebrity interviews, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and long walks down Sephora aisles. Keep up with her on IG @shanellegenai.
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Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood. We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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