Why romantic salsa?
So here we have Sebastian Medina or better known as SBM. He is a promising young talent born and based in the city of Boston. How are you, Sebastián? It’s ice to meet you.
Thank you very much for the opportunity, Karina. I’m super happy and pleased to be here with you.
Why use the acronym SBM as your stage name?
SBM refers to my full name, which is Sebastián Medina. In the genre, there are few artists who use a short, cool and different name. So, I wanted a short and quick name by which people could identify me.
In passing, I wanted to differentiate myself from other artists with an unusual name.
Many young people like you choose urban genres to start their artistic careers. Why did you choose romantic salsa as your main genre?
As a musician I really identify with salsa because of its instruments, its harmony and everything to do with them. Although I really like romantic salsa, I also like hard dura. I like all types of salsa. I have this impulse to play the piano, get into the genre and enjoy it.
As a singer, the situation is different because I have always wanted to be on stage like the greatest artists. Being also a composer, when someone sings my music, I feel very grateful and supported by those who do it. I want to bring that music to all the young people of the world.
Reading a bit about your history, it is clear that you have always liked this genre.
Yes, I am a romantic. I always have been.
How was Sebastian selected for his scholarship?
You were selected for a scholarship at the Berkeley College of Music. How was the selection process and the audition? What was your reaction to being selected?
I was a little nervous during the audition. I sang a song in Spanish and very few people sing Latin music here in Boston. So, I went in and sang a beautiful song by Marc Anthony to compete for that scholarship.
Here in the city there is a program called City Music Boston, whose directors saw my talent and followed my progress in high school. I got a message from them, took some classes they had offered me about music, theory and other things and, meet the people in there. When December came, I received an email congratulating me and informing that I had been accepted to the Berkeley College of Music. That’s when I started to wonder how I was going to pay for college, but I was called from the City Music Boston program to inform me that they would offer me the scholarship that would cover my studies.
What do you think are the selection criteria of the Berkeley College of Music for choosing young talents like you? What do you think made you stand out from the rest?
I studied at the Boston Arts Academy, which is the only arts school here in Boston. I am always very dedicated to my music, my learning and what teachers do. I like to learn a lot and absorb all the energy that the music scene has. I think that the judges saw that in me. They saw my hunger and passion for music and composition.
Now that I’m at the Berkeley College of Music, I’m studying to be an arranger because I want to devote myself to arranging my own music and that of others, but always focusing on salsa.
I read that you like Marc Anthony and Los Adolescentes, but you also like urban artists such as Nacho and Nicky Jam. How do you reconcile these very different tastes?
As you know, young people don’t identify strongly with salsa today. For that reason, I’m trying to combine salsa with the urban genre to create new sounds. I’m aware that people really like trap and reggaeton, so I want to use those genres to combine them with my music. My goal is to appeal to the very young.
It may happen that I ask a friend of mine if he likes salsa and he replied that his parents and grandparents were the ones who listen to it. It makes me wonder why he can’t enjoy that music too. That has led me to use other sounds and melodies that young people can identify with.
Would you dive into urban genres?
If a recognized artist gives me the opportunity to do so, I would like to try, but now I want to focus on salsa because that is my priority.
What are the age ranges of the people who listen to your music?
According to Spotify, most of the people who listen to my music are between 18 to 30 years old.
Do you feel there is little unity in salsa?
I think great artists have a legacy built and now it’s up to young artists to create theirs because that’s how music should be. There are not many collaborations at the moment and that must change.
In the case of the urban genre, artists release collaborations almost every week and I don’t understand why salsa singers can’t do the same. I think that a salsa song can have a different arrangement so that it becomes a remix, but unfortunately that is not being done. There is also a part of the public that is a bit narrow-minded, which is why they don’t support new salsa talents, but rather those who already have a consolidated career.
Do you think that this union is what differentiates salsa from urban music?
I think so because there are cases such as Bad Bunny, who when he does a collaboration with a lesser known artist, the latter will automatically get all those streams, views, followers, among other things. That means that he is indirectly lending his support to that artist and his followers are going to support him as well.
You compose and play the piano. What other areas are you developing?
Right now, I’m in my third year of college and I’m learning as much as I can. At this point in my career, I’m taking a lot of music arranging classes. I’m learning how to arrange my music, how to keep two tunes going at the same time and other things. I’m also taking production classes and all kinds of programs that help me shape my ideas.
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