Scott Sheldon knows that many rappers use crazy strategies to get attention. But Sheldon, who performs under the name SeeS, does not want to resort to those tactics to promote his music.
"A lot of people are going to extreme measures, whether it's wearing wedding dresses or hanging themselves in their music videos, dyeing their hair or having abusive relationships with women, " he told Hollywood Take in an exclusive interview. "It's like all this stuff now, which is all negative in my opinion, is now seen as 'oh, well it gets attention.' ... I just wonder where the world is going as far as sensationalism versus actual substance. "
Instead, SeeS is trying to break through the old-fashioned way – by making connections. The Connecticut native, who started a blog promoting Connecticut hip-hop music, currently does independent radio promotion for a station in Omaha. This allows him to form more relationships with others in the industry.
"I'm really trying to break in without kind of selling out who I am," SeeS said. "I obviously think if I were to shave half my head and dye the other half and get some crazy clothing, yeah it would generate more views. But, to me, I'm not willing to do that as an artist. So I'm trying to find the way to break into the industry, get close with these people, be able to offer value to them, and then say, 'Hey, by the way, check out this song [I wrote] on adoption or something like that."
And the work is starting to pay off, as two of his music videos went viral over the past year. One of them was "Adoption," where he tells his story about being adopted from birth. The lyrics specifically discuss his conflicting views about his biological mother, whom he has never met. The track has over 807,000 views on Facebook and nearly 125,000 views on YouTube.
"I'm a firm believer that music is stronger than just making people dance and making people happy," he continued. "So for me to be able to see how a video like 'Adoption' resonated with an audience and was able to get tons of comments on it and stuff, was like a testament to — there are people that really want this music, and music that makes them think, and music that makes them reflect, or music that they can relate to, as far as issues."
Watch the video for "Adoption" below.
SeeS noted that the song especially resonated with the female audience. Many viewers sent him messages saying how much they related to the lyrics. "Adoption" was yet another example of SeeS showing his true self in his music instead of putting on a false persona for attention.
"I feel like making yourself vulnerable is part of being an artist," SeeS said. "You can't put yourself only in the best light. You have to put yourself in the truest light. And I thought, what's something that I can open up to people about that would be very honest and that would resonate and is something that I felt I was very conflicted about."
"Adoption" appears on SeeS' latest album, Deep SeeS. The lyrics to the record's first track, "Sun Comes Back," discuss how miserable, rainy days eventually lead to growth. He thinks this is a metaphor for how the struggles in his life helped him build his character.
Watch "Sped It All The Way Up" below.
On this track he doesn’t use his own beat, and he spends much of the video trash-talking. He realizes that this is a departure from some of his other songs.
"How I think is very artistic," he said. "I'm always finding myself through art. So it's an ongoing process, which probably to an outsider looks kind of messy and looks kind of, like it doesn’t have a direction to it. And I think that’s probably my biggest struggle as an artist."
Another thing SeeS struggles with is pre-performance nerves. But his recent Canadian tour with producer Apathy, helped him calm some of that anxiety.
"I am always dwelling on getting up on stage and messing up or something. So I really practice hard. Usually when my performances are spaced out like two weeks in between performances, I'll find those nerves really kicking in two days before the performance. Like, 'man I got to practice this, I got to practice this.' And I found that after two shows on tour, I didn’t practice at all. I was like, 'I did this last night.'"
Since the tour ended, SeeS has continued working with Apathy. They have another song coming out with FNX that is tentatively titled "Sinners." SeeS and FNX are also working on a cypher called "Lyrics Still Matter" with T. Sawyer, Whispers, and Cambatta.
"It's commercial in the fact that it has a Carole King sample and Apathy produced it. And as a producer, he is much more tapped into the commercial sound and makes hit records much more than I do as a producer," SeeS said. "But then I was able to put out my belief system and stuff that was personally very meaningful to me."
What do you think of SeeS' music? Let us know your take in the comments section below!