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Sey my name, Sey my name

Swedish singing sensation Seinabo Sey sets the stage ablaze with her live comeback

An audience of over 3,150 people gathered on the last Saturday of August for the second night of Stockholm's Popaganda festival to watch mesmerising headline act, Seinabo Sey. Performing for the first time in three years, the Swedish-Gambian Artiste graced the stage, sharing new songs released during the pandemic, as well as her latest single, "Swim Away". Sey had expressed that she was “nervous" prior to the show but "excited" for her much-anticipated return.

There was no better place to do this than in Fållan where the festival was held. Sounds of drinks pouring and the scent of fresh pizza wafted through the crisp summer air. Crowds of music lovers bustled around the venue, celebrating the festival's twentieth anniversary. some were moved to tears by her beautiful tones and lyrics, including myself. Behind-the-scenes the vibes were just as lively as they were on stage. Seidato Sey, sister of Seinabo and life-long supporter, illustrates that there was a strong sense of “confident anxiety” but overall “very positive energy”. Writing about the show on NewsBeezer one person stated that:

"Seinabo Sey needs nothing but her amazing voice and warm personality."

Her set list included all her newest tracks which she finally had the chance to perform live for the first time, as well as her most popular hits like 2021 song “Rom-com” and “Younger”, released back in 2015. According to the official Popaganda website, they describe how “there had always been a void she stepped into”. They continue:

"We find both a modern soul of international class, a pop genius in direct descent from generations of Swedish big producers and a voice with weight, energy and something to say."

Down to earth and wholesome, the styling for the event was immaculate. Drawing inspiration from photographs of Damien Marley, Seinabo’s team decided to go for a “sort of a mash up” of military and boxing themes. Stylist and friend, Emelie Eriksson collaborated with Swedish brand Main Nué to design the khaki-green reworked military jacket, featuring fabulous peek-a-boo cut out details on the back and sides. “The skirt is made from my favourite sarongs and an old pair of Thai boxing shorts that me and Maja from Main Nué designed together”, Eriksson explains, “Same with the band, everyone got a reworked t-shirt by Main Nué that I paired with second hand sporty and military styled pieces”.

"Its really easy and fun working with Seinabo because we have the same references! We’re both pretty nostalgic and laid back when it comes to style, like we’re not trying to break boundaries or like invent the wheel with our looks, we just like pretty and fun clothes!"

Above all, the most interesting wardrobe choice was to send the singer out barefoot. When asked, Eriksson said, "I had a few different shoes in mind but none of them felt 100% and when we were done with the skirt barefoot just felt right! Shoes kind of made the whole look less authentic.” Considering that Seinabo and Main Nué had previously worked together in May for the Elle Sweden gala (left), it is no wonder that her stage outfit was so perfectly put together- a match made in heaven some might say.

Her deep, soulful voice filled the night sky, and as the Johanneshov air cooled down, the heat on stage only burned hotter. Inspired by American artist Mos Def, "I wanted to feel like a rock star", Seinabo told me, still elated with a post-performance high. This was clear by the brilliant ensemble she had with her. A diverse three-man band, paired with the dynamic trio of backing singers curated an exhilarating experience. One backing vocalist Kendra Egerbladh showcased her talents with her original piece “911”. Also known as Waterbaby, the singer was a great supporting act who had the crowd cheering the very catchy “wee-oo, wee-oo, wee-oo, wee-oo, wee-oo, wee-oo, wee” motif of her song. As the cherry on top, the lighting flashed boldly, varying in mood depending on the track- the perfect accompaniment for a true rock star.

Watch the Swim Away music video here:

Click on this gallery for my personal highlights:


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