Teneille Craig

Seinabo Sey

Teneille Craig
Seinabo Sey

Seinabo Sey

SINGER

Seinabo Sey is done being polite. The Swedish-Gambian artist’s sophomore album I’m A Dream, which was recently nominated for five Grammis, is an ode to her own confidence, which she says she found by drawing inspiration from West Africa. With singles like “I Owe You Nothing,” it was readily adopted by a legion of fans looking for a subtly cocky anthem that still felt hauntingly smooth. This departure from the lyrics on her first album have inspired listeners to have agency, to speak up and to hold their own. “I'd gone a long time without telling people the truth because I always think the truth is going to lead to conflict,” she told Billboard in August. “I always think conflict is a lot worse than it is. Now, I'm not scared of conflict anymore.”

There’s no time for trepidation and Sey understands that. “There's so many things that we black women have to go through,” she told OkayAfrica in an April 2018 conversation about the video for “Breathe,” in which she employed an all-women cast. “Everything in our lives from explaining our hair-dos, to not finding our foundation colors. It’s not easy to live, specially in Europe cause we're so far behind, even more so than America. When I go to Africa, I really feel like I can breathe, I can feel the air blowing in my mind. I'm always special when I'm there. But I'm also not from there either, and I get privileges that I'm afforded, I'm aware of them. The music video is meant to represent an abstract place where women can be free to be honest. Therefore we have the big fluffy dresses and we can not care about our looks. It's a mind set.