Making a loud arrival as one of Australia’s most engaging new artists, Selasie’s second offering ‘Survival’ is an arresting track that straddles a line between melodic rap and introspective lyricism. With autobiographical writing and strong melodic sensibilities, it further carves out a unique lane for him.
To celebrate today’s single release, Selasie will be playing a special show on Wednesday March 30th at Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney with tickets available from here.
While his debut single ‘Unatural’, gave smooth vocals and a stomping beat, ‘Survival’ ups the intensity. “All I know is survival,” Selasie declares in the chorus as he reckons with his upbringing and eyes a legacy for the future.
“Survival Is a song that showcases and deep dives into the various struggles during my adolescence in Western Sydney. It touches on my relationship with a higher power and exposes a fight or flight reality that I had to overcome in order to hold onto a hope for a better future. I hope people learn that I am someone who feels things very deeply as an artist but I would want them to understand that is also what builds my strength,” Selasie says about the song.
‘Survival’ may revolve around his Western Sydney upbringing but it’s distinctly international in sound. It channels the autobiographical prowess of J. Cole, the hypnotic melodies of 007 Shake,and the unbridled soul of Rod Wave.
‘Survival’ comes alongside a video designed, “to display the emotions [of the song] in the most raw and authentic way.” Directed by Melbourne & Sydney-based director Kyle Caufield, it takes us to Western Sydney with the 23 year old giving a powerful performance, often staring straight to the camera as if he’s delivering a soliloquy.
The symbolism surrounding praying in the video represents Selasie’s belief in a higher power. While he doesn’t explicitly say what that higher power is, there’s an intensity to his performance that suggests, “he is leaning into his own power to manifest his future.”
It’s rare for an artist to be this candid about their story in the infancy of their career but that’s what makes Selasie so engaging. His upbringing in Western Sydney is an important part of his story and this song, as well as all the music he’s been working on, reflects that.
“Living unsheltered from the realities of life I believe has given me an ability to write about things that a lot of people have gone through whether it be heartbreak, financial struggle, religion, broken families…”His debut release ‘Unnatural, was met with praise from outlets Pilerats, Sniffers, Purple Sneakers, Acclaim, Milky, AUD$, MusicFeeds and Life Without Andy, spins on triple j, FBi and Radio Adelaide and playlistingon Spotify’s The Local List, R&B Feels, crush, New Music Fridayand Apple Music’s New Music Daily, R&B Now and New In:R&B.
Sonically, Selasie’s upbringing has also been crucial to his music foundations. He grew up listening to his mother’s music which included Peter Tosh, Outkast and Aaliyah. From there, he started crafting his own sound, rapping over beats by GoldLink and Kaytranada and uploading them to Soundcloud.
‘Survival’ and ‘Unatural’ are the work of an artist who has spent years honing his music. Architecting a sound that best portrays his story. In just two releases, he’s already shown us his vulnerability and versatility. “I believe as a new artist it is crucial for me to do this in order to avoid being a one-dimensional artist with one mood,” Selasie says.
PRAISE FOR SELASIE
genre-shifting blend of pop, R&B and rap is amongst the most intoxicating we’ve heard from a newcomer – Pilerats
a haunting performance – Sniffers
smooth R&B vocals – Purple Sneakers
designed for sold-out stadiums – Acclaim
It’s almost like the best of Khalid and the Weeknd found their way to Western Sydney, and chose Selasie’s being as a host for their combined power – Life Without Andy
‘SURVIVAL’ SINGLE LAUNCH
Tickets from here
Wed March 30th
Oxford Arts Factory (Gallery)