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Ones to Watch: Selah Sue

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ones to Watch: Selah Sue

Selah Sue

Selah Sue, where have you been all of my life? Holy hell I'm FREAKIN' out over how talented this 23 year old singer/songwriter from Belgium is. Blending together pop, folk, soul and reggae, Selah Sue is different from anything I've heard in a while, and different is definitely a good thing.  While her self-titled debut album has been out internationally since March, she's releasing it Stateside August 21st by way of Columbia Records.  The album's soulful lead single, "Raggamuffin" was released earlier this month (iTunes US) here in America, after coming out back in June 2010 internationally.

During season 10 of American Idol there was a contestant by the name of Naima Adedapo, who's rastafied arrangements served as a much needed departure from the show's usual singer/songwriter, country, and pop fare. While at the time I applauded Adedapo's originality, I struggled to see where her unique sound would fit in today's crowded musical scene.  Now, after hearing Selah Sue, I find myself with a greater appreciation for what Naima was trying to do on Idol.

Selah Sue's eponymous debut album debuted in the Top 10 in Belgium, France and the Netherlands after it's release in March of 2011.  Four singles were released, including the Platinum-selling third single, "This World," which ended up peaking at #2 on the Belgian singles chart, becoming Selah Sue's highest charting single to date.  The upcoming U.S. version of the album will include three exclusive, "never-before-heard" songs as well as a new remix of lead single "Raggamuffin," featuring rap superstar J. Cole.  Additional collaborations on the album include a beautiful duet, "Please," featuring Grammy-winner Cee-Lo Green, as well as songwriting collabos with Wyclef Jean and Meshell Ndegeocello.

Selah Sue Raggamuffin US

To help promote the album's release here in America, Selah Sue is wrapping up a brief tour supporting English singer/songwriter Beth Orton on her U.S. tour, where she made stops at New York's famous Joe's Pub, Washington D.C.'s U Street and Boston's Brighton Music Hall.  Selah Sue will be playing at this years UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival tomorrow, May 27th, at Bowery Electric in New York City on May 30th, New York's Rockwood Music Hall on May 31st and the Roots Picnic on June 3rd.  To get a sense of what Selah Sue is like in a live setting, check out this riveting performance last summer in Paris. AMAZING.

Selah Sue began writing music in high school and by the age of 22, found herself in recording sessions with hip-hop artist Nneka.  Critically acclaimed all over the world, Elle (Belgium) praised her as having an "impertinent sense of rhythm...refreshing frankness and a visceral passion for music."  She also caught the attention of Prince, who asked her to join him in a support slot during his shows in Antwerp, Belgium.  Having already won a French Mercury Prize, as well as the public choice award at the 2012 European Border Breakers Awards, Selah Sue is looking to stake her claim her in America.  I think she just might have a shot.

Check out videos for "Raggamuffin" and "This World" BELOW.

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