When I look at this artists drive, I think of a line in Notorious B.I.G.’s song “Sky’s the limit” which I’ll quote… “stay far from timid, only make moves when your hearts in it, and live the phrase, sky’s the limit”. Whitney-Michael McCloud aka Sellah a multi-talented R&B artist from San Bernadino, California, personifies this statement based on all that he has accomplished thus far in his life by just following his heart. Achieving things seem to come naturally for the man born into a military family, when we look at his accolades, from being a NCAA basketball star, to his modelling success and now his music career.
Its evident Sellah’s not afraid to chase his dreams, having already explored Europe, Asia, and South Africa in the pursuit of furthering his fashion and entertainment career. Recently I discovered that the music video for Sellah’s song “Changes” was actually shot in Cape Town, which led me to reach out and now know about his new single “Open Fire” to be released 15 Feb 2019. I interviewed Sellah currently in the United States, to gain insight on the new single, future plans and more which you can find below…
Watch Sellah’s Promo/Motivational Video – Journey To Success
Where does the stage name Sellah come from?
Sellah comes from the idea of the name ‘Selah’ which has amazing meanings:
1) A break from negativty. 2) To stop and listen. 3) Selah means weapon. 4) Meditation of the mind body and soul.
I just felt that name embodied exactly what I am working to resonate through my personal life and careers in general. I added the extra “L” to remain as original as possible.
How did you get into music?
I recorded music since High School. Like many I was was never open about it to anyone besides Jarret Perry. I started doing music professionally about eight years ago and felt it’s either now or never.
Who are your musical influences?
There are so many amazing musicians who inspire me but my main hero is Michael Jackson. Long live the king he deserves more respect.
Ginuwine – Same Ol’G (Sellah Acoustic Cover)
Who are you inspired by?
My parents and sisters. I am proud to be their son and litte brother.
You write all of your own music; where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and please explain your creative process?
Yes I always write my own music but the past two years I worked with a Co-writer.
There was a time where a business partner of mine said I should never write my own music. That placed a negative hold on me. I felt I was not good enough. I had to cut people out of my life who didn’t push me to be better. I have two friends named Mat and Jarrett that I use to get feedback from. They always encourage me from Day 1. I really appreciate their views on music.
After buidling some more self confidence I am finally back to just writing alone even though I am always open to collabs if the situation makes sense. I am doing a song writing and music production collaboration with a talented music artist, Liam Pitcher very soon.
The new inspiration for my writing has sprung my current state of being. I am away from the hype as of now. I have time to reflect on my past decisions and my past experiences. These real life experiences I go through really help shape what I write. I am usually outwardly with my reactions. I am teaching myself instead of reacting every time, rather channel it completely into my writing.
Writing lately has been so much fun again. I am literally getting every thought and emotion out on paper exactly how I want. I now post teasers of my writing on my social media. The feedback is motivating me to keep on this wave. The process is never solidified. It can always change depending on the situation. I find myself really at ease while around or in water. I can start mentally writing a track in the shower or even sitting by the ocean.
What made you decide to sing and not play an instrument?
I am slowly teaching myself the guitar. I do not want to be an artist that can’t even play one instrument.
Can you tell us what the meaning of the new song “Open Fire” is about and what inspired the title?
Years ago I was held at gun point in Nigeria. I had to tell this experience in a creative way. I co-wrote Open Fire with Vinny Balisciano last year.
Sellah – Changes Feat. Wilder Music Video
You shot the music video for the song Changes in Cape Town, why did you choose Cape Town and did you create and collaborate with South African creatives while doing the song?
Cape Town has inspired me for years. I feel so grateful that I can create visuals in the Mother Land. I feel every creative should find a way to create in Cape Town.
The song was recorded in Connecticut by Anthony Nicholas aka Ghostlyn Music and produced by Wilder.
Which artists would you like to collaborate with and if you could open up for any musician right now who would it be?
I can’t wait to open up for Miguel. He’s the first person that came to my mind. Not just because of his endless talents but thinking from a business standpoint, I feel our genres of music would share similar crowds solely in the rnb realm. I met Miguel a few years ago at Oliver Rousting’s birthday party in LA. I remember telling him to remember my name. He was super down to Earth and seemed genuinely interested with his response.
There are many talented artist I would collab with but here are just a few:
Frank Ocean, Tierra Whack, ALMA, Kendrick, Childish Gambino, Jon Bellion, Pharrell, Timberland, Little Dragon, 6LACK and Jay Z
When you not busy making music, what else are you working on creatively?
I am usually always creating something. Music does not take up all of my time as of now. I have my photography, my magazine, modeling, acting, directing and etc that keeps productive. I also love mentoring people. There are more than a handful of people that I am overseeing and giving my insight to now.
What would I find in your music playlist?
Lately, I am too involved in my own music. I have not made time to create a proper playlist, yet.
Currently playing a lot Ski Mask while working on heavy amounts of admin and project building. Ski Mask keeps things very hype with his energetic deliveries.
Sellah – Gonna Get My
What’s next in terms of your career?
I am going to be living in Cape Town for a year and will try my best to build and expand with local talent. There’s so much talent there and I still have so much to offer. There are a few projects outside of music that are slowly in the works. I was filmed in a reality documentary called “The Beautiful People” by Nicky Greenwall. We are staying positive that it can be released globally this year.
I am also doing Branding/PR for The 41 Restaurant in Cape Town. I have a lot of big plans for this venue. I am throwing parties there every few months as well. Besides music I always have my hands dipped into something creative. I encourage everyone to just keep a lookout on my socials
SELLAH’S NEW SINGLE ‘OPEN FIRE’ RELEASES ON THE 15 FEB 2019, Get the PRE-SAVE link to “OPEN FIRE” HERE