Do you think musicians misuse social media to promote humanist agendas while not being accommodating to conservative thought? i.e. Those screaming for diversity the loudest practise it the least?
S.S. "That's a great question and worth a debate. Social media is such an interesting dynamic because you are dealing with "society". With that it turns into what each person's interpretation is of what it should be. There are obviously folks out there promoting their own agendas and there are some very vocal jazz artists out there that seem to be more focused on a hidden agenda but my thought is that you can make the decision to read the post or not. For me social media is a great way for me to keep my fans, family and friends in touch with what we are doing. I live for my fans and they are the only reason I still have a career so I try to constantly share posts, pics, news etc so they can feel a part of what we are doing. I go to great lengths to keep the negative away from social media. I feel that is best left for the parties that are actually involved and not for the world to have to suffer through because of a hidden agenda."
Are there musicians of faith or at the very least conservative beliefs literally in the closet?
S.S. "Ha! This could go a few ways but in regards to their faith I am certain there are. The music industry as well as all of the arts communities is centered around free will and open minds. As people go through their own soul journeys this concept can take you in a vast array of different areas. Sadly, it has become unpopular in the industry for Christianity to be one of these accepted beliefs. I'm increasingly disappointed at how the perception of Christians is always that we are some archaic "fire and brimstone" Bible Thumpers. Because of that some Christians remain quiet when they are working and save their belies for Sunday mornings. That isn't the answer. You can be out and about it and not jeopardize your career. You just have to learn the right way to do it and not offend others."
What's up next?
S.S. "Right now we're focusing on touring as well as starting our gospel jazz ministry. The ministry revolves around us taking our show into churches and showing them a new way to worship. Gospel jazz is an ever growing genre and the artists that aren't afraid to come out are heavily pursuing this. We are booking churches across the US to add to our club and festival dates. It is a very special venture for me. It's a fun balance too since I am a secular artist that has a Christian project out. I'll always do secular projects but to have my ministry as well is very special to me and it allows me to share my gift.
Otherwise, I am crazy busy. We are adding in a clinic tour of high schools and colleges plus I am a full time member of The Joe Taylor Group with Grammy nominated guitarist Joe Taylor and drum icon Steve Holley of McCartney and Wings, Joe Cocker, Elton John, etc. We just finished tracking a new album and we are on tour. I also just got back from Utah where I filmed a Live CD/DVD concert where we are doing songs from my new album Reflection and my first album Tapestry. We'll release that by the end of the year and I also have two more EPs coming. Times are hectic but I'm very blessed."
I want to thank Sean for his valuable time in not only talking about his great new release but kicking around some ideas that most writers and artists tend to avoid. A little food for thought is always good for the soul...Part One of my interview is found: http://www.criticaljazz.com/2012/08/sean-obryan-smith-reflection-interview.html