Being able to take a passion and turn it into a career isn’t as simple as it seems, but the success that follows makes it all worth it. Minneapolis-based singer Abdul Sesay understands this all too well, as he has lived it.
Sesay’s love for music started when he was five years old. Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, he started singing with his church which eventually led him to play guitar.
“I started singing in church when I was five, and when I moved to the United States around the age of nine I played guitar here and there,” said Sesay. “Little by little, I built it up and it turned from a hobby to a passion to a career.”
Sesay’s music includes a variety of genres. His main genre consists of modern R&B and cover songs of pop artists, such as Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. He also performs some of his own original songs like “Colours,” “Back Down” and “Energy.” Despite his first album, “Colours,” dropping in 2020, touring during the pandemic has been a struggle for Sesay.
“Some venues have certain restrictions and I have to say that I can’t meet that criteria right now,” said Sesay. “Venues vary, but sometimes you might get to a gig that might be full and others will be empty because people are still trying to quarantine and stay home. It’s been all over the place.”
Sesay’s songs are inspired by Bob Marley and Kendrick Lamar and their pain and messages of freeing their mind from mental slavery and being confined to one genre.
“[Marley’s] idea was freeing your mind in the sense that we are all stuck in a bubble and how do we escape. [Lamar’s] message is him trying to escape this bubble that he’s been put in and categorized in as a black man and using music as an outlet,” said Sesay. “I don’t like to put myself in a box when it comes to genre. I like to do it all.”
Sesay’s excited to perform at Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Serendipity Series because it will allow him to connect with the audience, which is his favorite part of performing.
“I just love interacting and having a little banter with the audience. If I play a song that deals with the subject of home, I’ll ask the audience ‘what’s your home like? Where do you come from?’” said Sesay. “I feel like I sometimes almost talk more than I play. I want to connect with the audience because it’s fun.”
Sesay’s advice to those wanting to pursue music is to remain passionate about their art and stay consistent with it.
“I wanted to [perform] because I wanted to be “famous” but that’s not how you do it. When you connect with people and you got the passion, that’s what creates the audience. That’s what people see and what brings people back,” said Sesay. “Perform because you love it.”
Sesay will be performing on Wednesday, Feb. 23 in the Centennial Student Union Hearth Lounge from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Header Photo: Minneapolis-based artist Sesay will be performing in the Centennial Student Union Hearth Lounge Feb. 23. (Courtesy photo)
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