Official Biography (courtesy of Renee Sebastian)
Her music is a bittersweet and meaningful journey; an honest yet pleasurable exploration to the strength of the soul as well as the beauty of Asian culture. In a homogeneous music society, a beacon of hope has been discovered and brought to light in the form of Renee Sebastian. A refreshingly brazen vixen, possessing talent, attractiveness and intelligence as well as an immaculate and compelling voice unlike any other on the musical landscape. Sebastian is determined to revitalize the music industry with distinctive elements of fluidity including Pop, R&B and Soul harmonies in addition to dazzling the globe with mesmerizing song-writing skills that exude sheer ingenuity. Once listeners have experienced the eclectic and harmonious vibe that Sebastian effortlessly transports with her honey-tongued vocals and melodic beats, one will quickly discern what all of the frenzy is about.
The Bay Area has continued to supply the music industry with fresh innovators. The Grateful Dead, Keyshia Cole, Toni Tony Tone', Green Day, En Vogue, Goapele, Ledisi, E-40 and The Hieroglyphics have been among the few who have introduced us to the diverse musical pulse of Northern California. Renee's music is not lost among the pantheon of new crooners, but instead invokes the spirits of legendary composers-singers such as Roberta Flack and Carole King. After hearing Anita Baker over the airwaves, the soulful ingÃ©nue experienced a life altering experience. "The passion that she poured into her songs was so blatantly obvious. I loved how she pulled you into the song and hypnotized us to stay in the moment." Another artist that captured Sebastian's attention was Berkeley's own Meshell Ndegeocello ("The minute I heard her first song, it struck me, I loved the way she rendered her music to touch the soul"), other iconic inspirational figures included James Taylor, Michael McDonald, Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, Michael Jackson, Sade and Erykah Badu ("I adore them because they're all extremely wonderful songwriters"). It quickly becomes obvious that Sebastian respects unadulterated artistry and musicianship. She's notable and distinguished for composing her own material as well as making her mark as a naturally gifted pianist without any formal training. From heavy, soulful, quintessential ballads to explosive pop tracks, it's this exhilarating mix that transcends generations and makes her body of work so relevant.
Although she's a self-described "progressive artist" and creator of a popular NYC soul movement, Renee also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics. "Without a doubt I'm business savvy. That's what sets me apart from other artists in this industry. I thrive on taking charge of my future." Part of controlling her destiny includes overseeing all creative aspects of her shows and a full-on production that feature galvanizing live performances couple with her demure Cali stage charismatic charm.
High-octane shows and musical perfection come natural to this west coast native, who is a professionally trained modern contemporary dancer and by the age of 13, was used to wowing audiences of over thousands. There were early signs that the diva would be a performer. "I grew up performing as a dancer and choreographer in front of large crowds. Whenever I was on stage, I owned it. It's a time when I'm the most honest." Wowing people is inherent for Sebastian, having been blessed with the combination of exotic good looks and the gift of artistic expression but it wasn't until the latter part of her teenage years that she recognized her vocal abilities. Encouraged by her teachers to embrace Performing Arts while attending High School in the Philippines she became a member of the Cultural Centers' Girl Choir in Manila and was soon walking out of local talent competitions with an arsenal of accolades. Years later she would move to the Bay Area and train under top vocal coach, Seth Riggs who had orchestrated vocal arrangements for musical legends Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Barbara Streisand, Enrique Iglesias, Natalie Cole and Quincy Jones. Sebastian studied at the illustrious Jazz School at Berkeley, California and has gone on to share the stage with Eric Roberson, Heavy, and PJ Morton.
Renee Sebastian emerged as a prolific, consistently engaging vocalist on the R&B and Soul scene in 2004 with her critically hailed self-titled debut album. An elastic talent who moves effortlessly from glossy ballads to hiphop inspired pop, Sebastian has established herself as a creative force on her own. Since the successful release of her 2004 hit single "Deliciously Dangerous," which won a Billboard songwriting award, garnered radio adds nationwide and received acclaimed reviews from national trade publications, including an "R&B pick of the week" from Billboard magazine, Sebastian has been splitting her time between California and New York. "I decided to go to NYC upon the advice of industry executives in 2005 and ended up being invited to perform on a regular basis at the Manhattan Center's Hammerstein Studio 8 Lounge. I created this show called "Blowout Lounge", a showcase for Soul artists. It also gave me a chance to perform on a regular basis and continue to craft my live shows."
Now back with her sophomore effort Mrs. Sebastian, much like the first single, this album does not disappoint. Blending diverse stylistic influences, Sebastian is adorning Soul music with new textures and flavors that reflect an artist who is comfortable with who she is and how far she has come. "On my first effort, I focused tremendously on hurt, pain and difficulties instead of learning from my mistakes and living life in the present. Although I felt those emotions and experiences have made me more resilient, I also realized there's another side to me. I am accepting challenges and staying focused on what I can bring forth in the future." The appellation of her current release is parallel to that of her inimitable personality- bold, urban and passionate. Soul, Funk, R&B and Rock & Roll are all whipped into this revolutionary series of hit song after hit song. A true rebirth of soul-tingling and quality music is what the songstress has poetically done with Mrs. Sebastian. It's a humble throw forward to the yesteryear musical legends that are engrained in the fiber of American Music today.
The young chanteuse celebrates that energy and fluently takes her listeners on a journey of finger snapping and head gyrating wondrous grooves laced with an electric blend of instruments that ride each beat with finesse. On Mrs. Sebastian, the songbird raises romance to new heights. Every song has a beautiful story line and fans will be able to connect with the honesty in the lyrics. The vocally challenging, "This Is Me" is an R&B, Hip-Hop blend with a soulful but urban edge that boasts a unique chorus while the ballad "Every Lesson," is a midtempo track that explores life lessons. "I learned to move on, reach for something new and celebrate life and every lesson. This song summarizes where I am now. I'm at a place where I have this whole new future ahead of me and looking for the beauty in life." The emotive "These Are The Signs" is another playful mid-tempo jam about the distinction between "love" and "making love." Sebastian controlled the entire creative process of the album, emphasizing, "I am the Executive Producer and had a hand in every aspect, every song."
Surrounding herself with a team of multi-talented instrumentalists and producers including Keyon Harrold (50 Cent, Jay-Z), Hanan Rubinstein (Leela James), Raymond Angry (Christina Aguilera, Lauryn Hill, Joss Stone, Meshell Ndegeocello) and Grammy Award winning Ralph Kearns, they all believed in Renee as a singer and wanted to contribute to the project. Like the great Soul singers of the past, Sebastian has all the right ingredients: a natural voice of tremendous force and the gift of impeccable timing. Both patient and urgent, sensitive and sultry, Mrs. Sebastian is about finding your own vision-- spiritual, emotional, personal and professional. The introspective and melodic style that adds an extra dimension to her talent, coupled with seductive singles and crooning sentimental ballads that are bursting full of wisdom, the driving energetic sound that Sebastian brings to her music is unparalleled. "I appreciate music and strive to encompass all the elements of musicianship that is missing these days. My goal is to keep sincerity in my music and make it accessible so that people will still be proud of what I've done years from now." The irresistible intensity of Sebastian's vocal delivery produces varied moods and her rich and complex lyrics are intricately intoxicating.
Renee Sebastian is heralding a new wave of Soul infused Pop soaked in Rhythm and Blues with unforgettable melodies that center around heavy instrumentation, textured arrangements and layered, confessional lyrics, this visionary masterpiece gives you everything you desire.