By: Afton Lynn
The perfect story of a person who turned troubles into triumph began in Columbia, Missouri, with The Reasn singing gospel songs to his church’s congregation. Back then he was known as Al’Michael Nelson, performing in local talent shows and touring the Midwest with a small, local R&B group as a teenager. In school, he was challenged by learning disabilities but did not let that stop him from studying and practicing his lifelong dream of singing and songwriting. In high school, The Reasn made a major, life-changing decision, choosing music over basketball.
Today, The Reasn is opening up for all kinds of popular R&B and rap artists, including an upcoming performance with B.O.B. He also just released a new album, 25 Miles Till Empty, in October. I was lucky enough to sit down with him to ask him a few questions about his burgeoning career.
Was there a specific moment in your life when you knew you wanted to pursue music full-time?
I was big into sports and music when I was a kid. One day in High School I had a basketball game and a show on the same day. I had to make a decision. Knowing the consequences, I went to the show instead, and from that day on, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
If you had to pinpoint one message your music conveys, what would it be?
My main message in my songs is honesty. It’s okay to have issues because everyone has them. Music is the way I release mine.
In your song “Better,” one lyric reads “Twenty-five miles past giving up.” What inspired those lyrics?
That’s how I feel about everything in life. I feel like I should be at a certain point in my life now, but I’m still pushing for a better career, a better relationship, becoming a better person.
What advice would you give those struggling with addiction or depression who feel like giving up?
It’s never as bad as it seems.
Moving from Columbia, Missouri to L.A. must have been quite a change. What inspired the move? Is there anything that you just flat-out miss about your hometown? Conversely what is one thing you love about L.A.?
I always knew I had to go somewhere else to accomplish my goals. I’m not a person that hides from competition and I wanted to go where the best talent is. Not to say there’s no great talent in small towns, but a lot of people are afraid to leave their comfort zone. My family is the only thing I miss in Missouri. The thing I love most about LA is how everyone has an open mind… anything is possible.
It seems like your inspirations range from classic soul singers to straight-up rock. How have your influences shaped you personally as an artist?
I always liked to listen to storytellers and liked people that make catchy songs that everyone can sing along to, like The Beatles. My mission is to talk about real issues and make it catchy for people to connect to it.
Who has been a key supporter in your journey as an artist?
Anyone from my family to my management team, but my management is almost like family to me.
A Few Random Questions:
Your go-to meal or drink?
Spaghetti and Jack & Coke
What album are you currently into?
Been listening to classic stuff lately, like The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper and some Marvin Gaye albums
Vinyl or CD’s?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself being one of the most honest, accessible artists of all time, touring everywhere to share my music with people.
One thing I learned about music is you can’t force yourself into anything. Everything will happen in God’s time and when He feels the time is right. You just have to keep working hard until it happens for you.
Not only is The Reasn talented, but he is also very optimistic and encouraging, and I think we all could use a little bit of positivity.
Check him out online at the following: