BOOT & SADDLE

1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Selah Sue

Moved From Union Transfer - All Tickets Honored !

Selah Sue

Polly A

Sun, September 18, 2016

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA

$15.00 - $17.00

Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

Selah Sue
Selah Sue
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.
Polly A
Polly A
You could say Polly A possesses more than one musical personality. The Milwaukee-bred and Harlem-based songstress zig-zags between R&B, reggae, alternative, and hip-hop with equal parts grace and gusto on her debut EP, Ghetto Gold Dream [222 Records/Interscope].

"When I sing, I approach the vocals like a soul singer," she says. "When I write, I approach the lyrics like a rapper. When I'm thinking about music, I collaborate with others who draw from a large sonic palette. I spend a lot of time with my songs, and I really live with them. These are my words and thoughts."

Growing up to the sounds of Bob Marley and Yellowman on mom's stereo, Polly A—aka Meleni Smith—discovered her voice in a third grade music class. She'd spend high school performing in local productions and even with the Florentine Opera Company. Moving to New York City, the budding artist enrolled in Columbia University and began seriously recording (and hustling).

"I literally started selling the demo I recorded for class in Times Square," she laughs. "I'd sing on the train. It was that story of a real New York artist struggling to have anyone listen!"

Columbia Records, her "second Columbia," offered a record deal. Even though her project never saw the light of day, Polly A began placing songs with some of music's biggest names after amicably splitting with the label. Alicia Keys, Selena Gomez, Natasha Bedingfield, and more would record her music, and she co-wrote the gold-certified "Crooked Smile" with J. Cole, earning a nomination for "Record of the Year" at the 2013 Soul Train Music Awards. However, she still felt a void.

"I love songwriting, but I don't want to do it forever," she admits. "I need to focus on my artistry."

Immersing herself in music, she began to craft a hybridization of her inspirations over the course of penning countless songs. Soon, Polly A emerged with an unpredictable and undeniable style of her own reflecting everything from punchy lyrical poetry to an island swagger. Fierce, fiery, and fearless, this musical voodoo caught the attention of Adam Levine's 222 Records with whom she signed in 2015.

Now, her first single and EP title track, "Ghetto Gold Dream," builds from a swell of cinematic strings into artfully articulated verses that culminate on a robust refrain. Produced by frequent collaborator Synematik [Kat Dahlia, Boyz II Men], it ushers her into the spotlight.

"It came from a frustrating place," she reveals. "I had a lot of people in my life that I didn't realize were fake. I've been on this mission for so long. 'Ghetto Gold' might be fake gold, but you use what you have. No matter what background you have or where you come from, you can still feel like a queen. The verses quiet the doubters and naysayers. I didn't come from a place where it was set up for me to succeed. At the end of the day, I'm working with what I've been given and pursuing that dream. Your success is yours to define."

The EP volleys between the snappy declaration, "Just give me your sex, love, and happiness" on "The Brooklyn Sun" to the sunny, simmering reggae bounce of "Like We Used To." It's every facet of this dynamic persona.

"Music is a very spiritual thing for me," she continues. "I'm not chasing a style or anything. My main goal is to be real. People can smell falsehood a mile away. They know when something's not true. They also know when something is honest."

She's honest to the core. This is Polly A's vision—from the words on the paper, verses on tape, and presence on stage. That's codified in her name as another symbol of these multiple facets.

"It's short for 'Polyamorous,'" she explains. "You're not just seeking one type of love; you're seeking different types of love. Love drives everybody first and foremost. Whether you're working so hard for the love of your children, spouse, colleagues, or listeners, it's how we overcome all that ails us. I hope people take that away from the music, and the love inspires them to go after their own goals and dreams. It's rooted from the reverence I have for music and art. I want to share that."
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147
http://www.bootandsaddlephilly.com