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Thursday, March 08, 2007

EXCLUSIVE; Recording artist Sean Simmonds speaks to CONVERSATIONS

The first time I heard of Sean Simmonds was through BET on a Sunday morning. His video for "Won't It Be" was on and I just had to keep it on the channel and watch. Though I caught it in the middle, I knew at that
point Simmonds was a powerful inspirational voice that was going to make a difference. I then visited his website and found out more about him and his vision for "TRUE STORY". During our
conversation together I was hoping he would reveal more about his goals and more.
I wasn't disappointed.

Sean, thanks again for taking out the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. I have to ask you: though you have had success before the debut album hit, what has it been like to have all eyes now just on you?
I must say it’s been different, considering I have always been with a group, however I don’t mind it. I feel like God has prepared me with how to handle the attention.

Tell us about your life growing up. Was music a big part of your family, and what did you enjoy listening to?
Before my parents separated, my father was a dj and he would play a lot of music around the house from Al Green, Marvin Gaye to Bob Marley. That music had a strong influence on me even to this day. Not to mention Micheal Jackson and Stevie Wonder. It wasn’t until my teen years that I was exposed to the Fred Hammond’s of the world.

Can you remember the time when you heard something on the radio and you said to yourself 'That is what I want to do'?
Well it wasn’t on the radio it was on T.V. when I saw Micheal Jackson perform Billy Jean on the American Music Awards and he did the moon walk across the stage. That was my confirmation that music was what I wanted to do.

Alot of our guests talk about where they draw their inspiration from. Who was it in your life--family or otherwise--that stood out to you as a living leader?
I must say my mother. She withstood so much adversity being a single parent mother and living with sickle-cell anemia she has been my inspiration.

When the decision was made in your life to pursue your dream, how did you begin the process?
Well to make a long story short, it was just a matter of letting God lead. I experienced a lot of rejection and at times that can be reason enough to give up but when you let God be God and let him be in control, rejection and setbacks don’t seem so bad.

Were people supportive of you venturing into the music business? What was some of the advice you have gotten about the pros and cons?
The people that mattered the most like my family supported my decision 110%, however I had to experience a lot of growing pains with the business, no one was really there to guide me I had to learn a lot on my own but it definitely has prepared me for where I’m at now.

Though I'm not a singer or songwriter, a know that alot of the artist's success rides on finding the right time and niche for your sound. Was this something you had to consider when putting together your solo project and why did you think the time was right for you?
I wouldn’t say it was finding the right time for my sound but more for my message. Over the last 6 years the world has experienced some things that a lot of people are having a hard time dealing with, for example 9/11, Tsunami’s, Hurricane Katrina etc so I think the timing of my record is perfect considering people are looking for a lifeline and my music provides that lifeline of hope.

Listening to you music, Sean, rings to me like inspirational talks with the public. I noticed on your website you mentioned you don't want to come across as preachy, but how do you think you were able to put together such an intricate array of songs that can appeal to so many listeners?
It’s about having a “real talk” approach behind trying to convey my message and singing about topics that relate to the everyday person.

You work hard in your music to make sure that women are encouraged. What message do you have to artists that may not be as conscious as you when it comes to how women are treated and described in various music genres?
We need to know that women play an important role with the development of our younger generation so it’s important they are encouraged and treated with respect so that our kids reflect something positive.

I don't think that readers always think of the work that goes into releasing a project like yours. Now that the album TRUE STORY is out, what is a typical day like for Sean Simmonds?
Wow, it consists of interviews both radio and magazine, promo appearances, answering many emails daily (that’s a must, I love talking to people who have supported me and the record) And as an executive being on the phone a lot.

Not only are you recording artist with Xist records, but the President as well. What do you look for in recording artists that may be interesting in being a part of your label?
Well to me it’s not always about how well someone sings, because there are a lot of great singers. Its about delivery, and a humble swagger or confidence, of course without being arrogant because that is something I cannot stand. And last but not least it’s about their conviction and message behind their music. There has to be something unique about them that separates them from the rest of the pack.

What's next for you, Sean? Can we look for a tour? What about the next single?
Absolutely! I’m looking to embark on a radio promotional tour very soon as well we are in discussions to put a tour together with some other artists. The next single will be Soul Glo, which will probably be released this fall also be on the lookout for the video for that one too.

Do you have any advice for those who are reading this that might be interested in pursing a career as a singer or songwriter?
Just make sure you study the business, and continuously work at perfecting your craft.

Thanks again, Sean, for taking out this time with us. How can your fans and others find out more about you and Xist Records?
You can always out what’s going on at www.xistrecords.com. I return all my emails so don’t hesitate to reach out.

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