Sean Christopher: The New Face of Trap Soul

Sean Christopher’s Wikipedia page might tell you that the Atlanta singer is signed to Drake’s record label October’s Very Own with the likes of Majid Jordan and ILoveMakonnen, but Christopher isn’t signed to OVO – yet.

Although his sound fits the mold built by other artists on the label, the Wikipedia fluke is the work of his dedicated fans, who have taken it upon themselves to push his signing to the label. “I don’t like when people do that,” he says while giving a slight smile, a humble yet distinguishable presence in all black, his thick-framed rectangular glasses matching the subtlety of his outfit. He’s just gotten a call from his manager, a man playfully nicknamed “Uncle Brooks” who manages artists signed to Christopher’s current label UTU, presumably regarding details of his forthcoming debut album. The album, Christopher believes, will give him the exposure he needs to take his career to the next level and potentially earn him the OVO signing.

Music, it appears, is in Christopher’s blood. His aunt was in a girl group in Detroit during the height of Motown’s popularity and had connections to Diana Ross. “She recently passed last year and that was hard on me,” he reaches a somber tone in his voice that causes his cool demeanor to falter slightly, “she inspired me to do music.” His first experience with singing was at his church choir in Detroit, where he lived with his mother and four siblings until relocating himself to Atlanta to attend Morehouse College after high school. Since the move, he’s released an EP titled “Commencement,” which earned him a cult following, and is currently working with Dutch production duo Black Diamond Music (BDM) on his first full-length album. His music takes cues from similar artists like Omarion and OVO’s own PARTYNEXTDOOR. He describes his style as trap soul, defined by slick beats and relaxed half-sung, half-spoken vocals. The genre has been gaining major recognition from mainstream urban music, with artists like Post Malone (White Iverson) and Dej Loaf (Be Real) seemingly blowing up overnight. It’s impossible not to note Christopher’s stylistic similarity to urban radio poster child Bryson Tiller, whose most recent album is appropriately titled “Trap Soul.”

Christopher’s album, currently without a title, is set to release in a year’s time. He says it will have different beats than his EP and will also feature his more sensitive side, or, as Christopher explains it, he’s “more in [his] feelings on this album.” His first song from that record, titled “Trillouette,” dropped in early February and was welcomed warmly by fans of the genre. The song bares a similar vibe to his EP, but there is a distinct maturity in the vocals; the track is a confessional about his model ex-girlfriend of the same name, with the lyrics channeling a shameless vulnerability that defines trap soul.

One of Christopher’s most notable recent musical accomplishments is his feature on Cardiff, Wales rapper Roman Yasin’s track “Throw It Back.” The song was produced by DJ Mustard, the mastermind behind hits like Big Sean’s “IDFWU,” Tinashe’s “2 On,” and Jeremih’s “Don’t Tell ‘Em.” Yasin calls Christopher “a very talented and creative artist” and believes “his respect and positive attitude backs up how far he will go in his music.” Yasin somewhat prophesized the rise of trap soul artist Tory Lanez, featuring him on a song just before Lanez’ career takeoff after rise in popularity of his Brownstone-sampling track “Say It.” To Christopher’s benefit, UTU has somewhat of a history with Drake’s label; his UTU labelmate, the Canadian-born rapper/R&B singer Roy Wood$, recently cosigned with OVO in 2015, making the career leap Christopher’s fans foresee for him. Could he be the next UTU artist to cosign? As he surrounds himself with the best in the business and continues to gain a following on social media, all signs point to yes; it’s not hard to imagine his name on the OVO roster in the near future.

By Darby McNally