There is a beat loud and firm and if you pause to listen for it you’ll find it altogether inescapable; it’s the pounding rhythmic poetry of musician and artist Chef Sean and, while undeniably fun and danceable, his lyrics – spit out with the precision of a skilled surgeon’s hand – speak to us on deeper levels, too. This Chicago native has unassumingly and stealthily changed the rule books for what being a Hip Hop artist in the 21st century is all about even as he cultivates and maintains a highly regarded acting career which, like his music, is fresh, bold and striking.
On the eve of prepping an eagerly awaited LP, Chef Sean sat down with Vents Magazine to ruminate and discuss on subjects big and small. We quickly learned that what this multi-talented singer/artist/actor is serving up is only the finest and most choice of ingredients and we feel that you’ll agree with us that the sky is not even the limit of what we can expect from him in the future.
Vents: Hi Sean and a hearty welcome to Vents Magazine! How have you been doing during these strange times?
Chef Sean: I’ve been maintaining in these hard times in America today. Just like the rest of the world, trying to keep myself busy in the studio with new content and new music on the way.
Vents: Congrats on your latest single, No Name! How does the positive reception your newest work has garnered feel for you as an artist?
CS: It feels good to know that I’m on an incline and progressing each time we release new music. I’m really glad the fans are enjoying my creative work because I have a vibe with this one!
Vents: Is there a story behind the genesis of No Name? How did this incredible song come into being?
CS: It happened from a relationship situation I had in the past. We were on a no name basis and kept it that way. So I wrote a song about it and it turned out people loved it and it was relatable to the masses.
Vents: The remix of No Name featuring Jeremih is, if anything, scoring even bigger numbers than the original mix via YouTube with 2 million happy viewers. Do you have a preference between the remix and your original recorded version?
CS: I like the remix a little better because we are both Chicago natives, plus Jeremih was a better fit for the track.
Vents: The global pandemic has severely affected how music is shared to an audience. How have you coped with the lack of touring and concerts in this day and age? Has it sort of forced you to think outside the box in how you reach an audience?
CS: I miss performing so much; feeling that high from the energy of the fans, but I always usually think outside the box. So, my team and I developed an Instagram live series once a week entitled “ASK A RAP DUDE” where fans call in to ask any question that comes to mind. It has really given me the chance to personally interact with my fans.
Vents: A question I’m sure you’re getting a lot of since the fantastic reception of No Name: When will you drop an LP?
CS: My team and I are coming up with a release date right now. All the tracks on my debut album are mixed and mastered. We are shooting for early next month.
Vents: What led you into the world of music? Did you come from a musical family?
CS: Michael Jackson was my inspiration and I really love his music. A while back I supported my cousin with his music career maybe you guys have heard of him, “Chance the Rapper” from Chicago.
Vents: Who musically has influenced your own work?
CS: Michael Jackson, 50 Cent, Kanye West.
Vents: You’re a native of Chicago which was also the stomping grounds for one of the best soul singers of all time, Mr. Sam Cooke. How much of a part of the musical history of Chicago has played into your own DNA as a musician?
CS: 100% Sam Cooke was amazing, a huge inspiration.
Vents: You’re multi-talented as a musician: Not only are you a skilled and gifted musician but you are also a noted and respected producer. Is it important for you to be versatile and well-rounded in the music industry, to sort of be a “Jack of all trades”?
CS: Getting in the lab and whipping work has really led me to flourish as an artist, writer and producer.
Vents: What can you tell us about your band, Chef Sean & Blaze? How did this come about and who are the members of the group?
CS: Unfortunately we haven’t had a chance to collaborate on any new songs but I had a great time working with Blaze.
Vents: You are also an accomplished actor, having worked in the brilliant film Jason’s Lyric in 1994. This was one of the first things as an actor you did. What are your memories of that experience?
CS: Working with Forest Whitaker, he’s a method actor so he stayed in character even off set. He taught me to stay in character throughout my career. Also I enjoyed working with Jada Pinkett; she was cool.
Vents: I have your last acting credit as being in 2012’s short film Getting’ Clues. Do you have any interest in acting more in the future, or are you primarily concentrated on you music right now?
CS: The plan is to fall into Morgan Freeman mode and I plan on doing more acting along with more music in the future!
Vents: Are there any artists that you fancy working with in the future, either in music or in acting?
CS: 50 Cent, Young Thug, Lil Durk.
Vents: Final (Silly) Question: You’re stranded on a deserted island. What is the one film and the one album you have with you to while away the time while awaiting rescue?
CS: One album: 808 & Heartbreaks by Kanye West or Thriller by Michael Jackson. One film: Life which featured Eddie Murphy.