Gospel Spotlight: Sebastian Braham sticks to traditional gospel
While many young gospel artistes have gravitated towards a more contemporary or crossover style, 30-year-old Sebastian Braham is set on keeping the traditional sounds from the hymnal books.
Picking up the driving, 'churchy' rhythmic patterns of the sacred spirituals from the past has Braham being one of few who chose to follow in the footsteps of singers of the genre like Judith Gayle-Wright, Sandra Brooks and Lubert Levy.
Braham told THE WEEKEND STAR that he believes people will gravitate to the modern-day gospel music but that he is determined to continue the tradition of the artistes who paved the way for rising talents like himself.
"At the end of the day, it (traditional gospel) is essential, so not to bash any artiste, but we were all grown up on traditional gospel music, and it is not hard fitting them into today's society," said Braham.
He added, "I am not against contemporary gospel because it is used in praise and worship, but the hymn book is still relevant, used every Sunday in devotion. It is foundation."
The gospel singer grew up with both feet planted in the Church and always left from school to attend church or activities planned by the Moving Church of God in Runaway Bay, St Ann, where he was also an active member of the youth choir.
But he admits that people's attitudes have discouraged him throughout his journey as a Christian.
"Although the Bible says we should be loving, not everybody is, even persons that attend church. When you fellowship with someone and insensitive remarks are made, it cuts deeper than if it was a stranger," said Braham.
These behaviours, he continued, "are what makes people lose sight of what it means to have a relationship with God, but I am happy my relationship with God is strong and kept me focused".
He writes his own music and has already released a 12-track album, God Has Been There (in 2013), and is putting together another one. The single Life is one of the most popular from the album.
"Ministry is my full-time career. I have dedicated a lot to it," he said. "My music is described as traditional and as a form of ministry because while it is used as entertainment, I am also considered a worship leader. Remember, a lot of people can sing, but not everybody can usher people to God."
He said he does not plan on switching as he is a lover of traditional gospel.
"Learning it is a process, and things don't happen overnight, so don't rush; everything God has for you will fall into place," he said.
He names the late Sister Scully and Joan Flemmings as his main mentors, but Braham also loves the old soul music of Lionel Richie, Whitney Houston and Gregory Isaacs.