We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Selina Albright a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Selina thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Did you always know you wanted to pursue a creative or artistic career? When did you first know?
I had two signs. Until then, music was always a hobby for me.
I was studying to earn my Masters Degree in School Counseling, but I would bring my homework to a local nightclub every Tuesday night, so that I could sing at this weekly R&B musical improv showcase. It’s funny thinking back on it, because I was so used to seeing things through, I missed the signs showing me that my true efforts and interests were toward music all along.
Finally, I went on a fun trip to Dallas with some friends of mine and ended up at a fudge shop where they sing Motown songs to you while they package up your order. As my friend was ordering and we were all jamming to each song, one of the staff members said, “We need a volunteer to sing lead on this next song for us.” My friend loudly said, “OOH!! Selina can sing!!” So together, we sang “My Girl” by The Temptations. People who weren’t even interested in ordering fudge started to gather around from different floors of the mall, and before I knew it, there was a large crowd cheering for me!
I quit graduate school the following week.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
I’m an Independent R&B/Soul Recording Artist with a Jazz background. I’m the daughter of Jazz Saxophonist Gerald Albright – he’s the G.O.A.T. who introduced me into the music industry when I was only 16 years old, by featuring me on backgrounds on his “Live To Love” album.
Soon after this experience, I would develop what we call the singer’s itch. I would geek out on Ella Fitzgerald scats, Billie Holiday standards, the latest Mariah or Whitney hit, and of course Aretha! But I would also transcribe the melodies of instruments like the trumpet, piano and saxophone. Then I would delve into songwriting when my teenaged hormones would rage and get me all emotionally charged. This would be the beginning of a more than 20-year-long career!
I’m most proud of the fact that my lyrics connect so easily with people, and they find peace and hope in that they’re not alone and they can push through any adversity they face, even if it’s solely emotional. I always deliver a problem with a form of empowerment, and I emote every storyline with layers of angelic vocals and thoughtful production.
What can society do to ensure an environment that’s helpful to artists and creatives?
If you ask any artist who’s experienced the blessing of touring abroad, they will tell you that artists are appreciated more outside the US than in the US. Fans from abroad will fly in or drive hours just to see your show. They will buy up all of your CDs. They will spread the word like wildfire to all their friends, wanting to be the first to have known the next big artist at the beginning of their journey. They will come to the shows with encouraging gifts and words of affirmation. And once you have a fan, they’re your fan for life!
I truly wish that society in the US understood the time, dedication, financial investment, and work that it takes to achieve any recorded masterpiece or live show. Artists often don’t get the support they need, or the return on their investment, until they hit a certain threshold of engagement, and then the struggle is keeping your audience engaged, because the US audience is constantly looking for the next new thing.
Of course this isn’t the case for all fans, and we artists really appreciate those enthusiastic fans who stick by us through all of our evolutions and experiments, and especially those who are willing to wait for our next release.
The best kind of support any artist can receive is long-lasting, open-minded, and LOUD!! Post on social media about your favorite artists, stream them throughout the day, download their music and add it to your playlists, buy their merch, watch their interviews and music videos, play their music for your friends when you carpool! The more artists get this kind of support, the more variety we will hear from the radio waves, and the more artists can make a lasting living off of their music. I truly hope that this is in our near future because there are so many artists who are brilliant but don’t get heard.
Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?
The process of making a good living in music is a marathon and not a sprint. By the time an artist reaches your eyes and ears, they’ve most likely had years of preparation, rejection, discouragement, and investment with nothing of value to show for it. You’re seeing a first impression of a glamorous end result of success that seems like such a short process. The truth is that a large majority of artists have had to keep their day jobs, in order to follow their passions. Others have crazy struggle stories about how they survived pursuing music full-time before they started seeing any profits in their bank accounts. And that’s not even considering the branding and re-branding that artists have to make before they find a formula that works.
This industry isn’t easy and you will make mistakes – some of them expensive. But if you stay consistent and persistent, you’ll find the right people who believe in you and are willing to take the journey with you. You’ll find those listeners and fans, and you’ll continue to soar!
- Website: www.SelinaAlbright.com
- Instagram: @SelinaAlbright
- Facebook: @SelinaAlbrightMusic
- Twitter: @SelinaAlbright
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/c/selinaalbright
All Photos by Kory Williams Photography All Album Art by Dinh Tran Designs