We're obsessing over Seinabo Sey's soulful, genre-bending music
If you’ve been craving some soaring new tunes to add to your power anthem playlist, look no further. Seinabo Sey (pronounced Say-na-bo See) is about to sweep you off your music-loving feet.
Having been raised between Sweden and Gambia, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter’s musical influences are (literally) all over the map. Her father, Maudo Sey, pioneered one of the first Afro-pop bands, Ifang Bondi; which was famous for merging pop and African roots music. And while she credits her father for immersing her in a musical environment, he did not give her any music lessons, “per se.” Sey ended up going the more traditional route, and enrolled in music school in Stockholm, Sweden.
But much like her father, Seinabo Sey has proven to be a bit of a genre-bender herself. Although her music has generally been categorized as some variation of “pop-soul,” Sey could do without the genre restrictions. She told The Guardian, “I love hip-hop and soul, but I desperately want to challenge it and see what I can bring to it. Genres don’t really exist [in my music] and I love that.” And while her deep, husky voice has lead many to draw comparisons to fellow pop-soul diva, Adele (now that’s what I call a compliment), Sey is a bit harder to pin down. Her work ranges from industrial soul stompers like “Hard Time” to old-world soul ballads like “Pistols At Dawn”. Sure, these songs take a few pages from the good ‘ol pop pamphlet, but Sey is far from your mainstream radio darling. “Some days, I think maybe we should try and be a little more conventional, but every time I try I fail, so I’m learning to not even entertain that thought any more,” she told The Guardian. Yes, Seinabo, stick to your instincts. You’re a breath of fresh air!
After lending her vocals to an experimental R&B duo called Def Chronic and being a hype woman for a Swedish rapper named Afasi, Sey finally reached out to super producer Magnus Lidehäll regarding her solo career. Since then, the two have worked closely on her debut single, “Younger,” followed by “Hard Time” and “Pistols At Dawn.” And, just a few weeks ago, she made her stateside debut with a crushing performance on Conan. Yep, looks like she’s primed for world domination. She’s certainly won our hearts!
Be sure to indulge in (even more) of her boundless talent by checking out her EP, For Madeleine. Better yet, just let her buttery vocals melt your ears into musical ecstasy, below: