Sebastian Mikael didn’t write his first song until he was 18, but the now-24-year-old singer/songwriter is emerging as a versatile artist of significant talent and promise.
“I still feel like I’m always learning, always developing,” says Mikael, whose debut album is slated for release on Slip-N-Slide/Vested in Culture/Epic Records in the coming year. Early impressions in the way of such songs as “Speechless” and “Beautiful Life” suggest the album will offer a diverse range of styles and influences from old-school and neo-soul to contemporary jazz to pop.
Mikael emigrated from his native Sweden to the United States in 2008, enrolling at California’s Musicians Institute and, two years later, transferring to Berklee College of Music in Boston where he remains an undergraduate. Having learned to play guitar and piano by his own hand, Mikael says, “It was vocally that I went, for more classical training; also with writing music—like the harmony and theory of music.”
Of course having all the talent and ambition in the world doesn't ensure success, and the diligence it can take to achieve that success can be daunting. To that end Mikael acknowledges how R&B artist/producer Ryan Leslie, who was a featured speaker at the 4th Annual Business of Hip-Hop/Urban Music Symposium at Berklee in 2010, ultimately gave him the nudge he needed to shoot for the big time. “He was talking about showcasing your talent online and not hesitating on putting it out there," Mikael recalls of Leslie's message. "Even if you feel like you’re not completely developed, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Let yourself develop while you’re already out there. Really, just be bold with your talent and be creative.”
The insight continues to serve Mikael well as he nears completion on his as-yet-untitled debut, which for him is clearly a labor of love. “Right now it’s like I don’t want to stop,” he insists. “I want to keep going because I want to make this as good as I can.”
(First published at Blogcritics.)