Today, Selah Sue — the Belgian artist whose soulful and sophisticated approach to pop music has garnered critical acclaim and platinum certifications around the world — announces the release of her third studio record, Persona (out March 25th on Because Music). Inspired by her experiences with Voice Dialogue therapy, the album finds Selah Sue evoking the many identities that make up her multi-faceted personality: Perfectionist and people pleaser, mother and melancholic, self-critic and attention craver alike. Atop technicolor production that runs the gamut from classic R&B balladry to fizzy sonic concoctions that defy pop orthodoxy, Selah unspools her internal contradictions in this testament to the untidy business of human existence and self-definition.
Crackling to life with the effervescent bounce of 90s French house, lead single “Pills” examines the anhedonia caused by the antidepressants she’s been prescribed since age 16. Its lyrical melancholy is balanced by the euphoria of its disco-pop arrangement: generous vocal harmonies, snapping hi-hats, and glittering piano arpeggios come together in this SSRI anthem for the dancefloor set.
The video for “Pills” finds Selah, bathrobe-clad and decidedly unglamorous, struggling to match the energy of a house party as her brain chemistry keeps her underwater.
Spritely and of-the-moment, “Pills” portrays the more frazzled side of Selah Sue — just one of the many facets explored on Persona. Selah Sue has long been candid about her struggles with depression, but Persona finds her being strikingly honest about the day-to-day challenges. Whether she’s defying faulty advice to bury her emotions (“There Comes A Day”) or finding solace in sexual communion (the Mick Jenkins-featuring “Celebrate”), there’s a refreshing vulnerability running throughPersona.
It’s all emblematic of Selah Sue’s artistic maturation: Persona captures a songwriter deftly maneuvering through a remarkably varied set of musical environments — from overdriven synthpop belters and garage-steeped rhythmic workouts to jazzy lullabies and so much more — while maintaining a clever, empathetic, and deeply personal narrative voice throughout.
Since breaking through in 2011 with her platinum-selling self-titled debut album, Selah Sue has embarked on a unique musical journey, collaborating with the likes of Childish Gambino and J Cole and gaining the ultimate seal of approval from the late Prince. After making a return last year with the lush, largely acoustic The Bedroom EP — an intimate work inspired by motherhood — Persona is her triumphant return to the global pop scene.