Sela: Changing the Face of Hip Hop in Philly

Sela, a hip hop band with a blend of pop, rock and dance, is taking the hip hop scene in Philadelphia by storm. Aside from their unique sound, what makes this band special is that its members are as eclectic as its music. Josh, guitarist, and Tim, bass player are brothers from Baltimore; MJ, vocalist, is from New Orleans; JP, on drums, is from Bayville, New Jersey; David, vocalist, is from Philadelphia; and Margel, keyboard/vocalist is from Trenton, New Jersey by way of Haiti. The group started in college at the University of the Arts in 2009, and they’ve been performing together in Philly every since.

Fun, epic, and collaborative, Sela’s music is also very reflective. One of the band members shared, “through what we do, we are able to discover and develop our thoughts and beliefs about our lives, relationships, and the world in general. We also have a collective need to create, and, in some sort of way, we connect to do what we do”. MJ shares that one of the group’s greatest benefits is that they aren’t a group of random musicians; they are friends beyond music. This group has no autonomy. They look out for the interests of each other, and are mindful of each other’s respective life paths.

When asked where the name Sela originated, it was said that Margel, keyboardist/vocalist, suggested Selah, which in the bible means “to pause for thought and reflection”. Eventually the “h” was dropped so they wouldn’t be confused with other groups….and they didn’t want to be thought of as a Christian band. Regardless of the name, Sela draws audiences from multiple demographics, which speaks to the diversity of their music. The casual listener can enjoy what’s blasting out of the speakers whereas the music enthusiast can appreciate the themes in the lyrics and the technique employed in crafting the songs.

Sela is currently lining up some shows in New York with The Paxtons and are looking to crack the festival/concert circuit. They are currently planning their own entitled Fresh Fest, which is designed to be a good meeting ground for upcoming artists in Philly. They’re looking to host the fest quarterly, starting May 25, 2010 at Silk City. The first fest will feature Sela, The Paxtons, Has-Lo, and Legacy with Cool Hand Like spinning all night.

You can vibe to Sela’s music and watch them in action at www.myspace/

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