Old school meets new school, soulfully
Name: Sebastian Mikael
Where he’s From: Gothenburg, Sweden
When He Started: 2010
Genre: Pop soul
Most Similar: Daley, Miguel
Sounds Like: Collegiate coffeeshop r&b teenage dream
Sebastian Mikael is a thrifter. This may seem like a random blurt of information, but stay with me here. The Ethiopian and Swedish 24-year-old has an affinity for vintage tunes. He grew up in a household filled with music and cites Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin and Magic System – favorites of his parents – as inspiration. It’s those tinges of soul that peek through his ballad-y single, “Beautiful Life,” and shine on in his party pop mixtape, J’Adore.
It doesn’t hurt that Mikael is as careful and calculated as a seasoned secondhand shopper either. He learned by observation; watching music videos, listening to the radio with a fine-tuned ear and even working with Medina, a hip-hop duo from his native land of Sweden. Then he enrolled at the Berklee College of Music, a decision that he says, ”gave me space to explore and experiment and to develop skills in general.”
Instead of scribbling lyrics on the Notes app of his iPhone or submitting carbon copy YouTube covers, Sebastian works with solid, traditional elements. But don’t get it twisted; the Slip N Slide Records affiliate appreciates old and new equally, citing southern rappers like Plies, Trick Daddy and Rick Ross as some of his faves.
In his eerily cool and collected approach, he described his process.
“I’m usually working with sounds. I sit with a melody, put chords behind it and work around that. It’s never based on emotions that I’m feeling at the moment – I play something and then see it going somewhere.” — Words and Interview by Khalea Underwood