Slip N Slide Records crooner Sebastian Mikael, formerly known as De-Lor (French for “of gold”), struck gold with his single “Last Night” feat. Wale. The sexy track has over 1 million Vevo views, reached the Billboard Top 20, and is still climbing the Urban AC radio charts. Sebastian’s new single “Forever”-- a smooth track reminiscent of the best ‘90s R&B—recently premiered on VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop,” and quickly reached iTunes Top 5. “Forever” is the third single coming from the 24-year old Swedish-Ethiopian talent, with his “Beautiful Life” drawing legions of fans who are eagerly anticipating his debut album, Speechless (coming in April!). Check out my interview with Sebastian below, and click the links to check out his music on iTunes!
BROWNIE MARIE: You signed with Slip N Slide Records while you were a student at Berklee [College of Music]. How did that relationship come about?
SEBASTIAN MIKAEL: They actually found my video on YouTube. At the time, I was doing a lot of college shows and putting videos on YouTube, and I had a mixtape out as well. [Note: Sebastian released the critically-acclaimed mixtape J’Adore in 2011]. So after that video, they started researching the other music that I had out. I went down to Miami and started having meetings, and eventually made a deal.
I love those YouTube success stories! When you met Wale on the set of the “Last Night” music video, did he give you any advice on how to maneuver in the entertainment industry?
He did just that. He was really cool; he gave me a lot of advice. He told me [there would be times when] I was going to be in the studio for three hours... at the time I thought that was unheard of, that was crazy! But that actually happened! He gave me a lot of advice on how to break a record, and things I should do as a new artist. It was dope.
I really enjoyed the “Last Night” video! You looked very comfortable in front of the camera; do you want to do more modeling and/or go into acting?
I definitely want to get into acting. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. Hopefully it will happen. I’ve done a couple of modeling gigs but I haven’t gone and tried to become a model. I’m open for both of those.
I read that you’re classically-trained. What does that add to your ability as an R&B singer?
We had to learn how to read music, listen to chords, learning the theory and all the stuff behind it. That was something that actually did help me as far as knowing more about what I’m doing when I’m creating music.
Being able to read music is a great skill. You’re also a songwriter and a musician so you have many artistic skills. I’ve seen videos of you playing the guitar; do you play any other instruments?
I play piano as well.
You have a lot in your arsenal! What’s the most creative thing you’ve done to get a girl’s attention or to keep a girl’s attention?
Well, I haven’t really used music to keep a girl’s attention.
What?? I would!!
(Laughs) I mean in the beginning, obviously, when I started singing... I remember if we saw a girl I would tell [my friends] something like “Yo, ask me to sing when we walk up there.” Then I would pretend like, “Aww, no, I don’t want to sing.” I would use that to my advantage when I was younger. But [now] I don’t really apply my music to that. I try to keep it separated as far as my personal life and work.
Understandable. What does the new album, Speechless, have in store for your new and old fans?
The album is definitely going to bring out a lot of the classic, soulful sounds and feel. But I wanted to bring it to a new light, mix it in with other elements. For example, “Last Night,” we started that song off using soulful chords and melodies, and we used a sample of an older R&B song. So we have that feel, but we also mixed in more of a newer beat, something that felt more “now” and relevant. We just mixed it in together, and I think it’s an interesting contrast. That’s something I wanted to do for the whole album. I’m very excited about the album; I can’t wait to let the people hear it.