This story is part of Dialing Up, a series where the Preen staff gets cozy and comfortable with your fave people.
In the era of stream wars and TikTok dance challenges, discovering a song through broadcast TV shows has become a rare occurrence for many. But that’s exactly how a number of fans were introduced to singer-songwriter Anson Seabra when his song “Walked Through Hell” came on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Emotionally charged and somewhat magical, Seabra’s music has a delightful narrative quality. Apart from the lyricism on tracks like “Magazine” and “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring,” his sweet and playful charm has helped garner him a dedicated following.
We sat down with him to talk about his mental health advocacy, his spoken word past, his friendship with singer Alec Benjamin and so much more. Here’s our conversation, with some interesting bits that didn’t make it on the episode.
“It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” made clever use of a Mother Goose line. You’ve also used Peter Pan in one of your songs. Do you consciously tie in children’s literature elements into your songs?
I try not to do it too much ’cause I don’t want to be labeled as the guy who just does corny kid stuff all the time—not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I do think that fairytales have a certain magic to them so I do like to incorporate that when I can.
When you recognize it and then [the line] changes, that’s the perfect little tweak that makes people interested, I think.
The song’s theme is connected to mental health. Do you consider yourself a mental health awareness advocate?
As someone who has been through the absolute meat grinder with mental health—I have truly hit rock bottom—I’m a big advocate.
It is a very hard time to be human right now. There’s not a lot of love in the world. But the point of life is to climb your way back to the love that is already inside of you. You’re on a journey to find it and you have to keep going.
I think you’d make a killing in performance poetry. Have you ever considered going that route or has music always been it?
It’s funny that you mentioned it because in high school and college, I did performance poetry. I did it for eight years and I won a few awards. That’s very astute of you to pick up on that. If you look up my full name, you can find one poem I wrote for my high school poetry contest that actually won.
Who are your songwriting heroes?
Ed Sheeran. He’s just such an icon—probably going down as one of the all-time greats, to be honest. I grew up listening to him and his come-up story is super inspiring—how he basically hustled his way to the top.
I’m basically obsessed with everything that Max Martin has touched. Martin is a Swedish songwriter behind a bunch of hits like “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops!…I Did It Again,” all these classic pop songs from the 2000s and today.
Dream collabs? Have you and Alec Benjamin talked about it?
He’s a friend. He’s honestly part of the reason I started making music back in 2016. I remember hearing his song “I Built A Friend” and just being blown away by it. He called me a while back and we’re very similar. That’s funny. “He’s so talented. We’re really similar.” (He says this wryly with a smile.) A collab would be crazy. His fans are so sweet. There’s a lot of crossover between our fans.
How about a collab that’s unexpected but you’d be interested in doing?
Maybe a rap collab. Something with Lil Uzi Vert. That would be a sick collab. [Laughs] I think that it would be cool to do a trap song for once [but] it would have very tame, soft lyrics.
Your song charted as a top TV song after “Grey’s Anatomy.” Which other shows would you like to have your songs featured on?
“Grey’s Anatomy” is like the show. This is the first time that any of my songs have been on TV. To have it on “Grey’s Anatomy” is insane. I don’t know about shows but I’ve always wanted to have my songs in Disney movies. Anything related to Disney would be amazing.
“Peter Pan” is a Disney movie.
Yeah. They’re going to come knocking for their publishing money if I’m not careful. [Laughs] ‘Cause they own everything. [Laughs]
If you could describe your latest album “Dominoes” in one word, what would it be?
Self-discovery. That’s a hyphenated word. The album is a bit of a departure from just the piano ballads in my last project. You can expect full productions on most of the tracks and more narrative songs that tell a story. I tried to make sure that all of the songs meant something to me. Hopefully, they will connect with the fans.
I have to mention TikTok since you’re pretty active there. What types of videos are usually on your FYP?
It’s all over the place. A lot of music videos, a lot of people writing songs and singing. And then, a lot of funny videos. There’s a video that was like “Real Madrid when they see a Brazilian do a crossover.” It was this meme of a guy with his credit card pounding on the table. It cracks me up every time.
So you’re a soccer fan?
My dad’s from Brazil and that’s just part of the culture. I grew up playing soccer. I stopped in high school because I was in the marching band and it consumed my life. I don’t keep up with the Premier League much. I basically only become a fan every four years when the World Cup rolls around. I pray that Brazil wins but we haven’t in a while. I keep my fingers crossed.
Any Brazilian musicians we should check out?
I should look into that. At some point, I want to learn Portuguese and release an album in Portuguese. Maybe a local Brazilian musician can help me with that.
Do you have any message for your Filipino fans?
A lot of people don’t know this but my fans in the Philippines are one of the biggest reasons I have a following at all. A lot of my initial traction as an artist posting songs on YouTube was from the Philippines. I want to thank you guys so much. You are the greatest. I love you and I hope you have a great day or night, wherever you are.