Lumumba Seegars

"Back to Soul"



I see you

Okay, where did I leave off?  Oh yeah, have faith, leap off the top of the mountain but don’t kill yourself, blah blah blah.  You get the point.  Let’s move on and talk more about the practicalities at hand.

I shall begin back in my former home of Atlanta, GA.

So, in Atlanta I made some new friends, and I was also lucky enough to make a few close friends.  One of these friends did a show with me called “I Dream” last summer.  This was my first professional show, and let me tell you that it was the bomb!

Anyway, so this guy (let’s call him T.S…like Eliot? Hehe.) and I became really good friends and stayed in touch after the show.  We still do today.  Similar to me, he worked another job before becoming a full time performer.  He’s an incredible singer.  But the thing that most impresses me about him is that he is always studying.  He reads a ton and talks to and watches the people around him constantly in order to learn.

He demonstrates a superb amount of discipline and appreciation for arts as a student.  That is, he doesn’t just dream about it or randomly do the same things that he sees other people doing.  He is constantly reading, researching, and studying his craft.  He looks at the greats and he studies what they did and their methods.  This is important because there is an incredible amount to learn about any discipline, and the arts are no exception.

In terms of the performing arts, the spectrum of what outside people think makes a good “artist” is wide.  There are spectators who think that all we do is get on stage and shuck and jive thanks to the glory of God (HALLELUJAH!).  And that all we do is get on stage, behind a mic, or behind a camera and use our natural gifts with no work in between.  There are others who understand the amount of grunt work that goes into realizing this natural and (I believe) God-given talent.  They understand the hours and hours of practice and training.  The failures. The successes.  The emotions and passion that keep you going when you don’t see improvement over night.  There are plenty of people that understand that when we step on stage to “perform,” it represents the culmination of a process rather than a singular event in and of itself. To be sure the quality and depth of performance artists represent this spectrum as well, for there are those who appreciate craft more than others.  But that’s not my point here.

What I’m trying to say is that while I love the latter part of the spectrum, I feel that it is refreshing to also get the intellectual side of art, too.  Yes, I need to get up and work on my voice, speech, and movement.  But there is something to be said about sitting down to read the actual teachings of Stanislavski and reflecting on them before I continue to misinterpret him (or listen to other people’s misinterpretations of him).  As I prepare material for characters, am I not to research the time period, customs, and general attitudes that the character may hold?  If I say Paul Robeson is my inspiration, should I not spend time reading about him?  Listening to him?  Studying him?

Beyond books, life is the artist’s laboratory.  I do not ever sit idly on a train.  I watch.  I listen.  I close my eyes and feel the vibrations.  I smell.  Sometimes, somebody wears nice perfume.  I wonder where she’s going.  Job?  Interview? Date?  At other times it smells like sweat as somebody returns from the gym.  Then there is the smell of pee.  And shit.  That’s life.  Furthermore, it’s true.  And that’s my job: to find truth.

The other day, my dad asked me if something on television was good acting.  I asked him if he believed it.  He said yes.  “It’s fine with me then,” I responded.

I’m not in the business of indicating how I feel.  I feel it inwardly and then act on it.  And I appreciate taking the time to sit and read, or to sit and watch.  Really watch.  Not look at or judge, but to see what’s going on around me.  When the Na’vi (in Avatar) say, “I see you,” it represents a spiritual connection.

What’s the point of being on stage if you can’t actually see me?



Below, I've posted two videos of me singing at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre in NYC.  If you love them, please help me get an agent.  If you don't love them, please help me find a voice teacher...


Enjoy! :)


You're Fired!

I woke up this last Monday without a job and waiting to hear back from some auditions.

What a week.

I ended up getting a job, losing the job, and embarking upon some first time experiences (to say the least).

Alright, enough dramatic build up—let’s get to the point: so, as an artist, I’ve already talked about the fact that I need side jobs, hustles, or crime sprees in order to supplement my income.  A good friend of mine hooked me up with this job in which I’d be teaching drama to kids at a camp.  I was pretty excited.  First of all, I have experience working with kids, and I’d be teaching a subject that I actually liked (for more information about my previous life, visit here).

So, Monday I woke up unemployed without a real plan for the week besides taking acting/dance classes, reading, and writing.  But I got a call.  (oh hey!). And they said they wanted to hire me, and I needed to start the next day.  Cool! I get to make some money early while I’m still getting my APS teacher check? Shoot, I was ready to go on a CVS shopping spree…like buy actual name brand toothbrushes (I changed my mind when I saw the prices, though).  Anyway, I started Tuesday, and it was cool.  The kids were fun and the subject was awesome.

But then I got a text about an acting opportunity that I felt I couldn’t really turn down.  I didn’t know what to do.  On the one hand, I felt like I needed to take the opportunity, and on the other hand, I didn’t want to let people down at a commitment that I just made.  I was kind of frantic for a few minutes.

As I left ballet class and passed by Daniel Radcliffe signing autographs, I called a close friend and asked for advice:

“Lumumba,” he said, “Remember why you went up to New York.  You said that you will always be pulled in different directions but that you wanted to go up there for a specific reason.”

And that was that.  I made the call, and they called back eventually saying that they needed somebody else who could really commit to being there.  No hard feelings.  I told them that I definitely understood.

I have to remember why I came up here.  I’m not saying that every decision I make will be correct, or that I’ll handle every situation in the right way; however, I do want to be sincere, honest, and upfront about everything that I do.  I came here to be an actor/singer.  If I were going to prioritize other things, then I could have stayed in Atlanta.  Part of me feels horrible about saying that.  I feel weirdly selfish.  And I still haven’t quite embraced this attitude.  I’m not even sure if it’s the right attitude.  But I do have to be focused.  Even if that focus and my love of the arts are clouded in ambivalence regarding the practical matter of actually living a lifestyle in which I will sometimes take on more than I can handle and have to pull back in order to reevaluate my commitment to being an artist.

I think that’s the meat of the matter.  In terms of my firsts for the week, I had the opportunity to work as an extra on a web series, which was my first time on a film set.  It was quite interesting! That’s all the detail I’ll give here. Also, I did my first overnight shoot with them.  I was crazy tired at the end, but was still hella excited to be a part of it.  I definitely went out of my comfort zone, but that’s a big part of being an artist: getting out of your own way.

What’s the point of having faith if you’re too afraid to leap?


Weekend of Firsts

So, a lot of firsts happened this weekend.  Well, maybe not a lot, but definitely a few notable ones.  I did a reading for a friend who just finished a script for a pilot for a TV show. I had my first dance class.  And (last but not least) I had my first NYC singing performance!  Woot woot.  Yep yep.  Oh hey.  Substitute more excitement and slang that suits your cultural background so that you can relate to me now.  Ahh, I feel your presence.


Let’s talk about the pilot TV reading first.  So, I was kind of nervous about doing it.  When my friend told me that he still needed people to read, I jumped at the opportunity.  Can’t pass anything up here.  Even a sandwich in a trashcan (kidding (not really (well maybe in 9 months I won’t be (but now I am)))). Wow, I’m really distracted today.  Sorry.  So, the reading.  After I volunteered to do it, he told me I needed a Trinidadian accent for the part.  Woops.  I was kind of nervous about it, but then I started watching these hilarious Muppet videos of this Trinidadian character Santana on YouTube in order to work on my accent.  I was getting self conscious about the accent, and I was complaining to one of my roommates about it.  And he sat me down and said:

“Listen Lumumba.  Don’t get caught up on the accent.  Just go do good work.  Find the character, and present that.  They might change how they feel about the accent, but what they can’t change are the choices you make as an actor in that moment.”

And so I went to the reading with that mindset.  It turned out to be more laid back than I thought.  We did the reading.  We had a great time.  The script was hilarious and very powerful.  I’m looking forward to seeing where the writer takes it from here.

I’ll be brief about the next two things.  So, dance class.  Haha.  First of all, the story of how I had to try on 10 different pairs of dance shoes because, apparently, I have skinny ankles but big feet is hilarious, but I don’t have time for that now.  The important thing is that I have been putting off taking dance classes for over 2 years now.  I was kind of scared, but I finally sucked it up and did it. And…class was great!  The teacher was very welcoming, and you could tell that everybody was there to learn and have fun.  Anybody who tells you that there are not supportive people in NYC needs to find new friends.

So…the show.  It was great!  Some of my friends came out to support me, and I was crazy excited to see them there.  They were sitting in the front, too, so I was trying not to look at them.  I can’t stress how important it is to see your friends support you when you’re trying something new.  I rely on my close friends to keep me grounded and honest.  If they can believe in me, then I can at least have the decency to have some faith in myself, too, right? 

So, yeah.   A weekend of firsts.  It was a blast, and I just want to keep up the momentum.  I start ballet tomorrow.  That’ll be fun.  Time to go get ready for my recording session and audition later today.

What’s the point of begging to get in the game if you’re too afraid to play?


Oh Hey

Oh hey!  So, I'm new to NYC, and I'm doing this whole "artist" thing full time.  I'm definitely happy about it, but the hardest thing is the lifestyle change.  I wasn't making a ton of money before -- I was a public school teacher; however, the checks came consistently.  But I realized that I wanted to act and sing and all of that full time.  So I moved to New York.  Luckily, I still have some income coming in over the summer (thank you teacher salary), so I'm living off that for now.  But I can't say that I wasn't a little stressed when I first got here about eventually making some money on the side.  I came in strong: auditioning, looking for an apartment, signing up for classes, networking, and trying to find side jobs.  Dang, trying to find side jobs.  See, things are different for me now.  I did the whole work-a-regular-job-and-do-your-art-on-the-side lifestyle.  I'm not down with that anymore.  Everything I do needs to be supplementary to my art.  That (well, besides God and family) comes first.  So, I landed a job in which I'll be going into schools doing shows for kids on issues like HIV/AIDS, drug/substance abuse, violence, etc.  I'm crazy excited about it, but it doesn't start until August.  So, I'm stressing about getting some other side hustle because I don't want to keep living off of my teacher paycheck.  I need to establish this new standard of living.  Plus the aforementioned gig won't pay all of my bills anyway.  This is New York City.

So, yeah, I was stressed out.  But one of my good friends was playing at a jazz club the other night.  I had to go see it.  This guy is one of the sickest saxophone players I've ever met or heard.  So, I'm hanging there seeing him do his thing, and after the first set, we go outside to catch up.  I tell him about how I'm stressing about getting a side job, and he immediately stops me:

"Lumumba," he says, "If you're going to live in New York City and be an artist, you got to get used to the idea that you may be broke.  That you might not know where your next paycheck is coming from or how you might get your next meal.  I'm not saying this will befall you, but you can't spend all your time worrying about that."  

Simple, but true.  NYC is a grind, art is a hustle, but this is the path I've chosen.  I can't tell you how excited I am.  This was just a little introduction to who I am and what I'll be doing in NYC.  I'm sure there will be lots of stories in the future as I embark upon this journey.  Tag along with me if you like a little adventure.

If you're not doing what you're passionate about, then what's the point?

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