Soulful Selah2 Sheds Light on Life's Issues in Rousing 1st Album
Atlanta duo, Briddgette Simpson and Yolanda Kingsberry are on a mission to bridge the gap between generation and genre. With a fresh, contemporary musical style, grounded in R&B/Jazz, they are inspiring a new generation with the timeless message of the Gospel. They call themselves Selah2 (pronounced say-lah squared). Selah, a Hebrew word found frequently in Psalms, literally means "pause" and in Biblical times was used to give time for reflection or meditation. In today's world we might translate Selah as "stop and think about it ."
Every song on this compelling and expressive debut album will propel you to do just that. In short, "Issues of Life" is a moving collection of the young women's life experiences spiked with melodious lines and catchy hooks -with each riveting line of the lyrics penned by the talented pair.
As adept singers/writers/producers Briddgette and Yolanda have pushed the limits of Gospel more vigorously than perhaps any other group. They incorporate materials from a seemingly endless array of candid situations and move with ease in and out of tunes that are jazzy, funky, and spiritually surreal. "We looked for other people to write ― but they didn't write what our voices were trying to convey. It's artificial when other people put words in your mouth," says Yolanda.
Both Briddgette and Yolanda agree that much of their own voice has been changed in the short space of the years when they used to sing secular music. Both living the Christian Life today, Briddgette 34, and Yolanda 36, breathe sheer authenticity into a testimonial tribute where their relationship with God takes center stage.
Yolanda shares that she was in a difficult and painful relationship when she discovered "eternal security" through God. Briddgette confesses that she was at an all time low and "not satisfied with life, period" when she too fell in love with Christ. The duo, who were recording together during the epiphany, were propelled to a new direction ― ironically at the same time. The enormous leap yielded a sizzling first release where the girls' core talents harmonize -and sermonize ― magnificently.
Issues of Life sends flashes of inspiration and guidance to spotlight our lives (and problems). The album opens up with Hold On, a house-like tune with the potent message that no matter what your circumstance your focus shouldn't be on your situation - advising "don't fight it, let go and give up control" ― to God. Delivered with the vocal chemistry of Mary, Mary and the passionate lyrical charisma of Ashford and Simpson, the message is underpinned with grooves that make you want to jump to your feet. Fallin Down, a more mellow introspective beat describes the Spirit as "closer than any friend". The song beckons listeners to fall down and accept the Spirit of the Lord. "Spirit falling down on me ...you have me right where I want to be."
How Could I Ever is in every way a gutsy love song (among many on the album) ... delivering words of unwavering passion and admiration ― only this time around, the true love that's fulfilling needs isn't of the flesh and blood kind.
Funky, hip-hop tune I LUV You (I know You're There) talks about searching for a love that's already present ... "took a little time ..... but I realize that always you're around for me." Laced with the unexpected interludes of rapster Keith Spear [AKA "King"] -the cross-over lyrics will grab even fans that are normally jammin' with the likes of DMX and Ja Rule.
A holified articulation that presents perhaps Selah2's single greatest moment in the studio is When I Think Of U. Listening to this tune brings the ultimate adrenaline rush. "I wanna lift my hands, I wanna do my dance, I wanna say your name a thousand times, ... I wanna lift my voice... make a joyful noise with all there is in me ..... let you know how much you mean to me." During the tune's feisty finale Yolanda teases with what sounds like the hint of a sultry scat that resurrects visions of Sarah Vaughn. Then, just as swiftly she takes listeners aback with a stirring Holy Ghost filled laugh. Gracefully the album then sidesteps into ballad-paced Sisera, setting the mood for easy listening. Conscious-raising I Wanna Be Free pops with the sassy lyrics ... "trying to figure out where I stand, can't get no help from a natural man ..I wanna be set free. " While all eleven tracks are truly a gospel effort from start to finish ― the debut release is a seamless fusion that defies pigeon-holed notions about gospel music.
Issues of Life creates a habitat in which the Holy Spirit can dwell - in altered states of meditation and spontaneous rapture. Even if hip hop, jazz, rap or ol' skool rhythm and blues are normally piping from your speakers. Selah2's range of appeal is shaped by a wide variety of musical influences that reaches out across generations and grabs hold of you. You can feel it happening in the crescendo of the music, in the comfort and assurance of the voices when they meet, then part ― and in the phrases of each song that swell with an intensity that surges with a spiritual charge. The lyrics are about something real and meaningful, the arrangements are superb, the melodies, chord progressions, and harmonies are inspiring, and the vocals are robust. Managed by Henry and Vallerie Simpson (Briddgette's parents) and produced by Sam Haygood, this extraordinarily broad-reaching production makes you want to dance, makes you want to rejoice ― but most of all, makes you yearn for more.
Selah2 is represented by The Write Publicist & Co. (770) 998-9911
To book for performances: 2112 Entertainment Group (404) 275-0891