Sean Haefeli is an innovative pianist-vocalist and lyricist-composer, distinctively modern and yet, traditionally skilled. He represents a new breed, schooled in jazz, soul and hip-hop, able to execute with an emcee’s sense of flow, a crooner’s melodic sensibility, and a jazz pianist’s deft improvisations.
Throughout his youth, Sean trained as a classical pianist, and later, a vocalist, while primarily listening to hip-hop and r&b. He continued to navigate seemingly disparate worlds, entering Depaul University as an opera major, and graduating with a degree in English literature. He cultivated an appreciation for a diverse range of poets, and regularly appeared on Chicago’s spoken word scene. After graduation, he immersed himself in jazz and improvisation, working in a range of performance mediums and styles, while further widening his listening sphere.
Since 2002, Sean has self-produced and released three albums, each taking the listener on an eclectic and personal journey. His debut, Natural Hunger, triggered a range of references, from the Last Poets, to Roberta Flack, and Michael Franti.
Sean’s second album, Sound Strategy, balances live elements with subtle electronics, mixing urban edge and soul with a jazz ethos. The album integrates metric shape-shifting, adept lyricism, deceptive melodies, and harmonic intricacies, counterbalancing these elements with passion, flow and groove.
In 2009, Sean returned to the academic environment, earning a Master’s in jazz piano, from Indiana University. During these two years and the following summer, he wrote the music for his third album, Rise.