For 40 years, pop music has been Sweden’s top export. While the legacies of Ace of Base, Roxette and Europe might be widely debated around the POPDOSE forums, you can’t argue the enduring appeal of ABBA and the Cardigans, the chart prowess of producer Max Martin (Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson) or how freaking awesome the latest albums by Lykke Li, Robyn and Amanda Mair (my 2012 “Album of the Year“) were.
Now it’s time to add R&B sensation Sebastian Mikael to the list of Can’t Miss
Swiss Swedish (thanks mc3, see comments).
The 24 year old Berklee College of Music grad, born to a Swedish father and Ethiopian mother in Gothenberg, was recently signed to Epic Records. Though Mikael’s Bruno Mars-esque velvety voice and Babyface smile could have easily sailed him into the finals on The Voice or Swedish Idol, he went the old school route on his path to fame.
As a teenager, he found work in Swedish recording studios singing rap song hooks. He set off to America in 2008, enrolling at the California Musician’s Institute to study audio engineering. After landing at Berklee in Boston two years later, he started building a fanbase on the mixtape circuit. That caught the attention of Sylvia Rhone who had just exited the presidential suite at Universal Motown to start a new label for Epic.
Rhone clearly knows what she’s doing, having overseen the recent ascensions of Drake and Little Wayne in addition to working with legends like Stevie Wonder and Erykah Badu. Mikael’s delicious first single, “Take Me Higher,” precedes a debut album what will feature collaborations with the likes of Benny Blanco (Katy Perry, Maroon 5) and Salaam Remi (Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys).
In a POPDOSE Exclusive, for a very limited time (3 days from the moment this post goes live), you can download Mikael’s single for FREE:
To download: PC (right click/save as) • MAC (option/click).
If “Take Me Higher” doesn’t take you high enough, check out this stellar live acoustic take on another promising new song: “Gonna Be Real.”