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Manifesto Presents: Seven Pillars - An Interview with Sean Toure'

Baltimore, Maryland has been portrayed as a hub of grittiness. But
it serves to frame a rich tapestry of soul that emanates from it, and
the musical talent that calls the city home is a testament to that.
With the work of  Sean Toure’, you see that soul issue forth in a deep
and compelling way. He has already built an impressive career as 
a producer and MC, being regarded as one of the best independent
artists in hip-hop today by SPIN Magazine and The Source. His talents
as a producer that can create for all genres have also been received
with great acclaim through “The Sean-Toure’ Remix Project”, an LP
with his own spin on hits from 50 Cent, Michael Jackson, and others.
Sean’s 2011 album released through Fat Beats/Foundation Media,
“Sound Channeler, The Invisible Man” has been widely regarded as
one of the great releases of that year. Manifesto Magazine got the
chance to talk with Sean about his music and his creativity.

Manifesto: How do you view hip-hop culture today as a whole, in
                your eyes?

Sean:       I think the culture right now…I think the culutre itself
                is pretty strong, I think the culture itself is actually 
                expanding. I think the element of being an entrepreneur
                has actually created some sustainability for hip-hop. So
                I think there’s aspects of the culture that are continuing
                to grow, I think that’s one of the pros of it. One of the
                cons though is that, in any capitalist society where
                entreprenurialism comes into play, money comes into
                play, then there’s a watering down of the culture that
                comes into play, you know? So I think at the end of the
                day, there’s a dualism that comes with it in terms of the
                state of the culture itself. But I think as a whole, the 
                culture is going strong. But there is a difference between
                the culture and the business parts of hip-hop, you know
                what I mean? I think the lines get crossed and you get 
                a degree of ambiguity when it comes to hip-hop culture
                and hip-hop business. So I think the culture itself, is still
                sustaining itself. 

Manifesto: I hear that. So as far as your music, do you think about
                how the music you’ve created has become part of the 
                fabric of the muslc culture, not just in Baltimore but the

Sean:      Yeah, I do. I do, and I think that was a part of the plan 
              from the onset. I think ultimately my mindset was to create
               something that first of all, had to come from my soul. It
               had to be something that I genuinely and authentically
               wanted to express in my work. But then the other thing
               was that I knew that what I was doing was something 
               that the global market really wanted. And I really felt like,
               I felt like I would’ve basically created a situation for failure
               if I had limited what I was doing in terms of my releases
               and just regulated it just to one area, one district. And 
               that was proven once I had released a couple of projects.
               And I saw that the global response was very strong…you
               tend to get more respect outside of your city than in your
               city sometimes. I think you can get it in your city first 
               sometimes, but most artists, their evolution and growth,
               they can hit a glass ceiling. And I think they can do one
               of two things. They can stay trapped in that fishbowl if
               you will, (laughs) or they can expand outside of that 
               fishbowl and tap into other areas. I had reached that point
               some time ago, when I hit a glass ceiling. And if I wanted
               to do what I really wanted to do how I wanted to do it, it
               was imperative that I got my work out to the people and 
               not just my city. And it paid off, you know, it definitely 
               paid off. 

Album artwork, ‘Sound Channeler: The Invisible Man’

Manifesto: I’ve heard some of your music beforehand but what
                you’ve put forth as of late, especially with this recent
                album, ‘The Soundchanneler’…very potent, very vibrant.
                And that kind of leads me into the next question that I
                have, with regards to your innate spirituality. You’ve 
                mentioned that you’ve put your soul into it. How much
                of your spirituality, your spiritual perspective, how much
                does that inform your music? I ask this because I took
                notice of the ‘Om’ symbol on the cover of the album. 
                Detail a little of that for me if you will.

Sean:       Sure, sure. I think that any person, including myself,
                anything that is a part of your spiritual foundation, it’s
                gotta come through some sort of way in your art. I say
                this because I think spirituality is another form of creativity.
                When your’e creating things, the fabric of who you are is
                going to come out in your art. Throughout the years, I’ve
                studied different philosophies and religions and stuff like
                that, and I think it’s an ongoing process. At this stage, 
                10 years from now, God willing if I’m still here,  it might
                be something else. But I definitely have been studying
                metaphysics strongly for like, the last ten years. And I
                didn’t really want to beat people over the head with it,
                you know what I mean? Because ultimately, what I think
                ends up happening is, the philosophy or the belief system
                goes in the forefront and people forget about the music. 
                And I’ve seen groups do that. And my goal; yeah I practice
                metaphysics and I think that definitely will come through
                in my music but the first thing is always the music. People
                want good music. If they want to have their spiritual beliefs
                enhanced, well then they can do that on their own time.
                But in terms of how I express my work, it’s always going
                to be the music first, then you might hear elements of 
                other things. It’s the balance of humanity. Some days I’m
                a good person, some days I’m not a good person. I’m a 
                human being. I certainly don’t want to promote this message
                of a holy man, some devout dude. I’m not knocking anybody
                that does that, that’s just not how I wanted to sell my brand.
                I put the Om symbol on the album because I felt like the
                album was a way, a beacon. A calling out to people to show
                them that hip-hop itself can be intertwined with metaphysics
                in some kind of way. And the Om, since the album was called
                ‘The Sound Channeler’, I felt like since the Om is the original
                sound, it’d be a good idea to send that vibration out there. I
                think that intention, energy, ideas, things of that nature 
                definitely influence people and putting that symbol on the 
                album cover itself would definitely translate to people what I
                was trying to translate you know?

Manifesto: For now, what new projects do you have now that you are 
                 working on, have conceptualized? What’s next for you?

Sean:       Well, right now, we’ve got quite a few projects. Everything 
                that is coming out is on my label called Rosachi, and our
                distribution is through Fat Beats out of New York and Los
                Angeles and another company, Foundation Media. They’ve
                been really supportive. So with those connections we have
                with those distributors, there’ll be at least three or four projects
                we’ll be putting out this year. One I do know for sure we’ll 
                be putting out is the second solo album from me. It’ll be
                called ‘The Dreamer’s Passion.’ I’m producing the whole 
                album, I’ll probably have some guest beats, probably have
                a couple cats who I’m working with do some stuff. We’ve 
                got features from Sadat X of Brand Nubian, we’ve got 
                DJ Roddy Rod of the Lo-Budget on it, and quite a few other
                features on it as well. And that album should be out sometime
                around the fall of this year. I’m gonna mention it now, we
                have something under wraps but I’m going to mention it
                now, but there’s a legendary MC that’s very well-known
                from the Baltimore area, Silhouette, a female MC. She and
                I are working together on an album as well. We’re not sure
                when that’s going to come out, probably in a couple of months.
                There’s a couple instrumental projects I plan on releasing
                as well, and another remix project as well. I did a remix
                project a couple of years ago and I’m going to release one
                this year as well. Those are pretty much the projects we
                have on deck coming soon.

Manifesto: Cool! With regards to your creative process, what’s your
                 personal manifesto in regards to your creative process?
                 How do you get into your ‘zone’ to create the music that
                 you create?

Sean:        You know what man, it’s funny…I thought about that
                 myself, that’s a great question. I think what I really do 
                 is, I just have to block everything out, you know what I
                 mean? There’s no mantra, there’s no chant (laughs), you
                 know? At this point in my career as an artist, it’s just
                 really about sitting down in front of my piano or my drum
                 machine and if I feel inspired, I just go ahead and get to
                 work man. I could be having a good day, and some days
                 I can make music and some days I can’t. And some days
                 I can have a jacked-up day and some days I can’t. So I
                 can’t really say that it’s based on my mood, it just goes
                 back to why I named the album ‘The Sound Channeler’.
                 I feel like I’m a conduit of sound. And when the creator
                 of all things is ready to give me music and I’m open to it,
                 then that’s when it comes, you know what I’m saying?
                 I’m not ready to make music then he gave it to somebody
                 else that day or she gave it to somebody else that day.
                 There’s no process to it, it’s just about sitting there and
                 being blessed and humble enough to say, ‘Man this aint
                 even coming from me. It’s coming through me.’ If I could
                 do this every day, it would be coming out like this every,
                 you know what I’m saying? (laughs) 

Manifesto: For the most part, whenever you collaborate with different
                people, for the most part it’s always something special. For
                you, how energizing is it to create new music with various
                artists that you’ve worked with in the past and even now?

Sean:       Man, that’s a great question. Honestly, that’s one of the 
                reasons why I do it. Because I’m an MC and a producer
                so for me, as a producer and MC, to work with the artists,
                it’s like a dream come true you know? To be able to work
                with a Kev Brown, or a Substantial, or a yU, whomever.
                It’s an honor man. I feel it’s one of the more exciting
                things you can do because for me, it pushes me towards
                a different direction and mindset I have to have when working
                with an artist. Because one of the things I promised myself
                I wouldn’t do is get stuck or put myself in a box in terms
                of what my creative process would be. With every artist
                comes a different mindset, a different consciousness in 
                terms of how I might write a rhyme or how I might 
                produce a beat. Yeah, it’s an honor, it’s a pleasure man.
                Because growing up, as artists we all imagine about working
                with certain people one day. And to be able to manifest my
                dreams and work with a Kev Brown, or a Jaysun, or whoever…
                man, it’s like that’s part of the reward for doing this you 
                know? Sometimes, the music business is crazy, you don’t
                always get paid a lot, you don’t always get paid what your
                worth is. But the biggest payment you can get is working
                with somebody and creating something that the people
                like. It’s awesome. It’s one of the greatest honors and 
                pleasures that I’ve had or that any artist can have when 
                you’re working and perfoming man. That’s what it’s all 
                about. It’s all about getting better, and not getting stuck.

Manifesto: I hear you man, that’s beautiful. So we’ve come to the 
                 last question. Lastly, what would be your advice to those
                 looking to create and produce music? 

Sean:       I would say that anybody that produces music, be it using
                a drum machine or playing music, I would say, perfect your
                instrument. Get an instrument and stick with it. Don’t move
                around from one thing to another. So for an example, if 
                you’re a hip-hop producer and you use a drum machine, it
                wouldn’t be in your best interest to get like, nine different 
                machines because you haven’t mastered the first one you
                bought. And when I say musicians, I think hip-hop producers
                are musicians because they’re musicians using a different 
                kind of instrument. I think traditionally, musicians they get
                an instrument - when you have kids whose parents made
                them s
it down and play the piano everyday? That kid will 
                turn into that teenager who’ll turn into a young adult, they’ve
                mastered that instrument. They’ve earned their stripes. 
                Then, in earning those stripes they can move on to the other
                things. And I just think that perfecting your craft, perfecting
                your instrument is very important man. That’s how we get
                quality. That’s how we get a connection with our instruments.
                Imagine B.B. King without Lucille. Maybe he could probably
                play other instruments, but he mastered the guitar. Yeah, 
                man. Perfect your instrument. If you’re an MC, perfect the mic.
                But yeah, perfect your instrument then move on to the next
                thing. Never get stuck.

‘Sound Channeler, The Invisible Man’ by Sean Toure’ is available
now via iTunes!

Sean-Toure’ can also be found at the following social stops:!/SeanToure


Reader Comments (2)

The article was really insightful.
April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaysun CIvil
Thank you Daysun, we appreciate your feedback!!
May 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterPreach

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