Beth Orton with special guest Selah Sue
Beth Orton is a Brit Award-winning English singer-songwriter who has released five albums to great critical international acclaim. Known for her much imitated sound which mixed elements of folk and electronica, she is also renowned for her collaborations with the Chemical Brothers, and also for her albums Central Reservation and the UK top 10 hit Daybreaker. Her 2006 release, Comfort of Strangers, saw her completely move away from the electronica style, to a much more stripped down folk-based album. Well-known single releases are the hits "She Cries Your Name" and "Stolen Car" and Beth has also received much attention for her stirring cover of The Five Stair Steps' "Ooh Child". Currently at work on her new album, to be released late Summer, 2010.
Selah Sue was not destined to become an artist. "I grew up in a really little town in Belgium, and none of my family was into music," reveals the twenty?one year old, with refreshing sincerity. "As a kid, I wanted to be a ballerina. I danced from the age of six to twelve."
Even without romanticising it, her story is like a fairy tale. It's the story of a young musician who ignores her fate, and pours her anxieties into her songs and her guitar. "I had all these worries and depressions that I wrote down, it was a way of structuring my thoughts." She turns her doubts into soul, funk and reggae melodies, trying hard to be worthy of her idols, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and Bob Marley. She sings in local clubs on the weekend and attends high school during the week. She records in home?studios, at friends houses, and publishes drafts of her songs on Myspace, without a thought of making a career in music.
What happens next seems almost unreal. Thousands of fans respond to her on the net, attracting the attention of professionals, and the interest of Because Music, which eventually leads to a record deal for the young musician. Then Farhot (Nneka) and Patrice take on the production of her first album. Meshell Ndegeocello stays with her in the studio for two days to produce the track "Mommy". Cee?Lo Green agrees to accompany her on a duet and ends up asking her to put the track ("Please") on his own album. And, last but not least, last autumn Prince offered her a coveted support slot at his show in Antwerp, Belgium.