9:30 Club presents at U Street Music Hall. - Early Show
1115 U Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009
This event is all ages
Four years have gone by since her debut album and Selah Sue might not be over her demons but she's at least harnessed them to compose the songs of 'Reason,' gorged with energy, light and emotion. These songs sweep you over from the first bars, coming from an artist who's at once full of life and full of scars, who always seems to be one with her guitar. "Success hasn't healed my wounds," she says. "Nothing has really changed. It's a journey, a battle that will last my entire life."
Fluttering between waves of electro-soul, trip hop languor and cascades of house beats, Selah Sue finds her true musical identity in 'Reason.' "It's an equation with many variables," she says. It's also a perfect balance that she looked for in several recording studios, mainly in Belgium, but also in London, Jamaica and Los Angeles, with two seasoned producers, the Dane Robin Hannibal (Little Dragon, Kendrick Lamar) and the Swede Ludwig Göransson, known for his work with pop trio HAIM and American rapper Childish Gambino. Selah Sue co-wrote and recorded 'Together' with the latter, a radiant hip hop declaration of love, enveloped with urban percussion and dotted synths. "We wrote this track in a few hours, in Los Angeles. It's my first love song. The melody came straight from my gut. Childish Gambino brought the beats and the off-kilter rhythm in the singing." 'Fear Nothing,' another trip hop infused song was composed and produced by Matt Schwartz in London, the London songwriter and DJ who previously co-wrote 'Dissolved Girl' with Massive Attack. "I realized for the first time how much a producer could help me assemble the kaleidoscope of sounds I have in my head," explains Selah Sue. "Ludwig allowed me to move towards a more experimental style, electronic, aggressive and danceable. As in 'Falling Out,' with its rhythmic drum&bass and underground atmosphere; one of my favorites on the album."
For his part, Robin Hannibal enriched Selah Sue's sound palette with his modern take on Afro-American music, while preserving the abrupt and raw beauty of her acoustic ballads. "I didn't want to lose the immediate and uncluttered quality of my songs, but I wanted them to be more elaborate, more ethereal also. I didn't want my voice to be alone anymore." 'I Won't Go for More' and 'Reason' are altogether an echo of the Selah Sue we knew, constructing beautiful melodies on her Taylor acoustic guitar, and of a singer with a voice elevated by Motown backing-vocals, string arrangements and tempos that go from funk to jazz to bossa nova. On the dreamy 'Always Home,' produced in collaboration with her two producers, Selah Sue impresses with her vocal virtuosity, stretching notes, recalling the sweetness of the girl from Ipanema, then flying to perilous harmonic extents, never afraid to fall. "I spoke to my melancholy and told it I wasn't ignoring it, but that I also felt like dancing. It's welcome to do it with me." When you lend your ear to the very 80's disco 'Alone,' composed in Los Angeles in 2012, the night Whitney Houston died, you can just picture Selah Sue on stage, with her endless need to share her feelings, determined and authentic. Like a mirror reflection, 'Sadness,' written and produced in Jamaica with producer Troy Taylor (Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin), recalls the great era of soul music, with Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross as guardian angels. A sensual and shimmering ballad sung with the scratchy voice of a black diva, interrupted by an unexpected and poignant ragamuffin break, digging the grove of a musical melting pot between eras and styles giving 'Reason' all its power.
An extraordinary unity emerges from this sonic patchwork, thanks to the architectural rigor of the compositions and to the intangible feeling that they emerged from an improvised late-night jam session. "I do everything instinctively, I'm not a musical expert, but I can hear a song once and I can sing it back, with all its nuances, even twenty years later." Faithfull to her audience, to her band, to herself and her unquenchable thirst for music, Selah Sue manages to convey, with shimmery textures, her feelings of light and dark that find an echo in each of us. She doesn't compromise, her heart stark naked, unsettling, bewitching. With her, even flowers aren't ingenuous.
Singer, song-juggler, and self-proclaimed "Original Gangster of Cleveland," Bushwalla represents the assorted talents of Billy Galewood.
Bushwalla began performing in musical theater at the early age of nine. At 18 he was studying theater at the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City, supporting himself as a street performer by incorporating such feats as juggling, magic, face-balancing, and fire-breathing. Today, Bushwalla's sound has evolved into a unique blend of acoustic hip-hop, folk, and funk with a soul deeply rooted in authenticity and optimism.
A songwriter, collaborator and free-styler, Bushwalla co-wrote Jason Mraz's debut platinum album, "Waiting For My Rocket to Come," and sophomore release, "Mr. A-Z." Recently, his songs have been featured on hit television shows such as "Weeds," "Revenge," Fuel TV, E!s "The Daily 10" and "The Rachel Ray Show." Bushwalla co-wrote the title track to the breakout film "New York Minute" and, in 2012, his song "Mayhem is Beautiful" will be featured in the film "10 Year," starring Rosario Dawson and Channing Tatum.
Bushwalla has produced two full-length albums and two EPs. "Ghetto Blaster," his debut release, was produced by Spooner Oldham. His full-length albums include "Autodidactical Freestyle & Radical" (2008) and "The Man Who Invented The Sky" (2010) which features Pigeon John, Rebecca Taylor of Slow Club, Teenie Hodges, and Spooner Oldham.
Bushwalla's albums have accumulated worldwide sales to fan bases in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, and South America.
Bushwalla has ten years of national and international touring experience with the likes of Jason Mraz, G. Love & Special Sauce and K'Naan. Bushwalla has won over audiences in countries such as Australia, Canada, Singapore, France, England, Holland, Denmark, and Scotland, to name a few. He has performed at historic venues including Red Rocks, The Greek, The Hollywood Bowl, Sheppards Bush Empire, The Enterprise, Corn Exchange, Komedia, Paradiso, House of Blues (LA, San Diego, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Cleveland), Eagles Ballroom, The Metro, World Cafe, Fillmore, Highline Ballroom, CBGBs, Avalon, Henry Fonda theater, and The Troubadour.
Bushwalla currently lives in Southern California and is in the studio writing and recording new material to be released in 2012.