Sebastian Mikael Embraces His Struggles

Singer talks debut album concept and collabs with Rick Ross and Teyana Taylor.

Posted: 06/28/2014 10:00 AM EDT

Everyone wants and needs someone or something to relate to when they’re going through the peaks and valleys of life and Sebastian Mikael hopes that his new album, Speechless, is a haven.

The crooner's debut album was released this week (June 25), and in describing its concept, Mikael tells BET, "Speechless is basically embracing where I'm from and just really showing the realness of trying to become an artist ... and the struggle, because we all go through different things, but at the same time there's a similar thing in everything we go through that everybody can relate to. ... Everyone has a struggle and a story."

Outside of expressing his growing pains, Mikael also explores the realm of summer party records with Rick Ross and love with Teyana Taylor.

"He [Ross] went in and cut a lot of ["4 U"] and killed it. After that I was like, man…this is the one. This is summertime for me, like I need this to come out for the summer," Sebastian explains about the Rozay collaboration. "I'm just excited to see people embrace this record the way they are."

Collaborating with Teyana Taylor was a bit different and came about because of a mutual friend of theirs. "I played her some music and we just kept vibing. We came across this song that we both thought was really dope 'cause we have similar influences, you know what I mean, musically."

Besides having a natural vibe from jump, Sebastian and Teyana channeled one of the most popular, mysterious and loved chanteuses, just like Jhené Aiko has done recently. "We came across this song that we cut one day, knocked it out, [it] had like a Sade type of feel, it's a duet. It's a very conversational type of record, very honest and real type of record. When she sings, she got that emotion and it's just intriguing."

With the album out, Sebastian says that he's nervous, yet excited because he believes that people will connect with the project. The ultimate goal? He wants people to know him, his sound, but most importantly, who he is.

Check the full interview below to see Sebastian talk about what kinds of struggles he faced, like racial tensions in Sweden, where he grew up.

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(Photo: Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET)

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