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Love Letter To A Record: Chris Sebastian On Brian McKnight’s ‘Back At One’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become. 

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Chris Sebastian – Brian McKnight, Back At One(1999)

Picking one record to write a letter to is so unbelievably hard!

I’m so stubborn and kind of always hated being told what to do, so when it came to “musical boundaries” I wasn’t having a bar of it. I loved R&B, I loved rock and metal, I loved pop and I loved jazz.

Even though I loved so many different kinds of music there was one kind that always had more of me and that was R&B.

My brothers once brought home a Brian McKnight album and were playing it in the lounge room and I remember losing my absolute mind. I was captivated by melodies and vocal control. I wanted to be able to do every run, hit every note. Brian to me was honestly and is honestly one of the greatest vocalists I’ve ever heard. Back then I wasn’t so focused on lyrics, it was all melody for me and Brian’s melodies were like nothing else.

His record Back at One would absolutely shape the artist I would eventually become.

On school excursions on the bus, all my mates would be listening to Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, who I loved also, but I’m sitting there listening to love ballads.

I used to sneak out of my room and go to the lounge room and put the volume right down on the stereo and fall asleep with my ear pressed against the speaker listening to Brian. I can say with all honestly he is likely the reason I started singing.

My brothers and I still listen to those songs and I’m still influenced melodically by the Back at One record, so even though it was hard to pick just one I’m going to dedicate this love letter to Back at One by Brian McKnight.



Chris Sebastian was the winner of The Voice Season 9 last year. His latest single ‘Hard To Get To Love’ is an irresistible pop earworm. Listen here. Head here for the latest tour date info.

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