In a current culture of poppy voices, Seinabo Sey offers an alternative alto depth that challenges the listener to channel their inner fortitude.
At 27 years old, Sey's music has epic tones and rhythms, many songs sounding as if they belong on a soundtrack: Younger, Remember -- and Pretend, which was actually featured on the final season's trailer of HBO's Girls.
Sey's most recent piece, I Owe You Nothing, is a vivid, regret-less ode to her ancestors that freshly displays the depth of her work.
The track's bold gritty sound still carries that epic connotation of her usual style, and is completely complemented by the unapologetic lyrics. She speaks of her power as in individual, not needing to attract the gaze of the "other."
This visual collectively takes the message and vibe of the track to another level. The piece is drenched in West African flavor and expression (The video was filmed in The Gambia). Images of night paired with silent fervent stares set in commonplace locations, create a complementing contrast to highlight the impeccable style and swagger of the people. These elements come together to peripherally reference an intense history of pan-African objectification and exploitation, but present a people standing unmoved with pride and knowledge of self.
The video's visual instills that same epic pride we need to embrace, both of culture and ultimately of the individual. The red spray-painted quote in one of the first shots capture it well:
"To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing."