While many of us are already aware of who’s who on the music scene in Columbus, it’s always good to be aware of new talent emerging in the city. Craig Sealey, a Columbus native, sat down with Flypaper to tell us about his music and what inspired him to pursue it.
What made you want to just use your name rather than a moniker?
I go by Craig Sealey because I am who I am. I don’t need an alter ego or anything like that.
What inspired you to want to create music?
I’ve been in love with music since middle school. I remember listening to Andre 3000. He inspired me to just do it. I first heard Speakerboxxx & The Love Below. Before that, I wasn’t really into music. That album, Get rich or Die Tryin’ and anything Lil Wayne put out was it for real. The older I got, the more artists I listened to.
How did you get involved with music?
The first time I ever recorded was before a game my senior year in high school. My friend had a mic, and we used this free trial to record. We used Gucci’s “Lemonade” beat. At the time, it was a decent little freestyle. My house became the spot, and we would just record there. Mostly after basketball season, I would just work out, hang out and record.
Tell me about what inspired your first mixtape Pre-Season.
I recorded my first mixtape in college. That’s when I actually hit the worst writer’s block in my life. I really couldn’t write, and basketball was asking more of me than it did in high school. I kept writing, I would make songs but never really recorded them.
I began recording again right after one of my close friends, Tyree, was killed. That’s what we used to do, and I remember us having conversations about doing music, but he told me to just focus on basketball and school. So when he passed, it just inspired me to want to start something with music. It was emotional more than anything. It wasn’t me trying to really get my name out there.
The distribution of the first mixtape was very limited. I didn’t really post it anywhere or anything.
What inspired the title for your latest release, Men Who Don’t Sleep?
I was just thinking of how you have a dream, and you chasing it and you’re anxious while working towards it. It’s directed towards people in the same mindset as me. The third eye represents being aware. Being aware in all fashions of life. Knowing yourself and knowing what’s going on around you. Seeing things for what they are and what they could be.
What was your experience like while recording this project?
Once I started recording, it was the first time I locked myself in to make music, outside of it just being a hobby. Every day, if I wasn’t working, I would just record. I was learning how to mix and make it sound good. The beats were from just making connections on YouTube.
I connected with a guy, G5 Juan, who did all the mixing and mastered my songs. It took about a few months to put together. I just wanted this project to introduce me as an artist. I wanted it to be all me and all of my creative efforts.
How is this different from your first project?
This is me just trying to create my own sound. Up until this point, I tried to sound like my favorite artists and mimic their sound. This is the first time everything sounds like me and nobody else.
How would you describe your sound?
Trap base, but with an unorthodox sound to it. Anything I make is how I feel at the time. At the end of the day, I’m a hip-hop artist making music.
Who are your musical influences?
Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Big Sean, Curren$y, and Joey Badass.
How have people responded to Men Who Don’t Sleep?
Everything I’ve heard is positive feedback. When you just put yourself out there like that, you open yourself up to criticism, and I prepared myself for it, but I haven’t really heard any yet.
What is your favorite song off the project?
“Regular.” It was one of the last one’s I recorded. I could see the growth from the first songs I recorded to the last few. I’m able to see growth through the whole process of making it.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
I just want them to know me more as a person. I don’t want to be too much of anything. Not too conscious or too trap. I just wanted people to get a feel for who I am. Hopefully, they like it and mess with me.
What are your goals musically?
I just have this competitive drive. My mindset is local and I just want to keep progressing. My sound is diverse so I can definitely see myself reaching a wide audience.
Last, but not least, how do you plan on putting on for Columbus?
I’m always trying to put Columbus on. I can say something about Columbus and keep it to the roots of where I’m from. If I was to make it to a larger threshold, I definitely want to take it as an opportunity to shed light on Columbus.
You can follow Craig Sealey here: