By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For The Birmingham Times
Birmingham native Sebastian Kole released his debut album “Southern Urban Pop” aka “SOUP” for the soul, on EP/Motown Records Friday, Oct. 7.
The album offers a fresh take on music. With the soul of the south as the roux, and a mix of gospel, jazz, pop and hip hop, you get the recipe for “Southern Urban Pop”.
“I’m hoping to give people the opportunity to remember what music was and look forward to what music is, and is becoming”, Kole said. “I wanted to deliver a bunch of honest lyrics, and catchy melody”.
This body of work is a snapshot of where he’s from and a culmination of his life’s work. “All my life I’ve wanted to be on a record label and put out an album, so this is my crowning achievement. And whether it goes well or it flops, it doesn’t matter, I accomplished it [his dreams], and I got it out.”
Asked how he would describe his album, Kole said “musically it’s a feel good album. It’s emotional. I designed it in particular to get people in contact with emotions that I think people kind of overlook. I think people have been in a lot of these places in life and love and they just don’t talk about them. Be it good or bad, I go there on “SOUP”. A lot of this album are things I should have said or and done in life and relationships that I didn’t do out of fear. It’s honest”.
Sebastian (Coleridge Tillman) Kole is a Ramsay High School graduate and has a Music Technology degree from the University of Alabama. He received his formative musical training in Birmingham schools and church piano training from his god-mother. The former Birmingham boys’ choir member says his soulful sound is born of gospel and infused with pop; an eclectic harmony that he fine-tuned at Amani Raha’s, the Plum bar, the Vault and yearly at City Stages.
His songwriting success stems from numerous No. 1 songs for Alessia Cara, and the dance hit “Goin’ In” by Jennifer Lopez and Flo-Rida, which he co-wrote with fellow Birminghamian, Michael Warren of the ‘Michael Warren Band’. Kole also co-wrote and co-produced most of the music on Alessia Cara’s ‘Four Pink Walls’ EP and her debut album, ‘Know-It-All’, including the multi-platinum hit “Here.”
The singer-songwriter’s dropped ‘Sebastian Kole’ last spring, a self-titled EP which gained national exposure on ABC’s primetime series “Grey’s Anatomy” and featured “Home,” “Love’s on the Way” and “Love Doctor”, three singles off the five track compilation.
Kole wants to bring the art of story-telling back to music.
“I want to be a storyteller,” he said. “I’ve always admired great storytellers, and I want to be one of them. I want to be perceived as a good hearted, honest man. I sound like a big bear when I sing, and I want to bring some cuddly back to manhood. Everything you hear now is so harsh, men are saying such harsh things right now in music and everybody is so cool. That’s not my real life, and I don’t have it all together, so I can’t sing about that. In my real life I make a lot of mistakes, I don’t always get it right, I love hard and I live and I learn. That’s what I want to express in my music, I want to tell real stories.
Asked what the underlying message of this album is, and how he wants people to feel after listening to “SOUP”, he said “to err is human, and to love is divine.”