Sebastian Mikael is watching a lifelong dream unfold. Citing artists ranging from Marvin Gaye to Bebe Winans to R. Kelly and Ne-Yo as inspiration, the young R&B star knew that he wanted to sing and write songs. But, coming from Sweden, he had to forge his own path. But he knew this was going to be his journey when he was just a sophomore in high school.
“My second year of high school, I started singing, playing piano and stuff like that and kind of experimenting,” he recalls. “Before that I was playing guitar, but then I really started singing and practicing. People in high school said I had a good voice and I decided to just keep going.”
“I had big dreams and people looked at me like I was crazy,” Mikael says. “Because where I’m from there’s nobody that came over here and made music. I felt like I didn’t want to limit myself and have that mentality so I just bounced.”
Mikael explains that the Swedish cultural climate isn’t very immersed in urban music, but he still found the sounds that would inspire him creatively.
“When it comes to urban music in Sweden, it’s not something the country will support. They support it way more in the U.K. and even in France,” he says. “I’m from an area where the majority of the people are black, Arabic, Spanish and you listened to more urban music; that’s what we connected to. When I started making music, it was natural to me. But as we were listening to it, nobody took me seriously.”
“I look at it as my responsibility to inspire people,” says the singer. “I know there are artists from where I’m from that have the talent … and I look at it like it’s on me to inspire them and show them it’s really possible.”
Now, Sebastian Mikael is close to his breakthrough moment. His single “Last Night” with Wale is buzzing all over the Web and he’s set to release his debut studio album Senseless this summer. Mikael believes he has something that fans are looking for.
“I’m embracing the traditional era of R&B,” he says. “Artists like Robin Thicke and John Legend inspire me a lot because they show that you don’t have to follow trends you can create what you’re into. They’ve been doing it for a while and I feel like there’s a lane for me to do the same thing but with my own sound.”