Saleka is not exactly a household name just yet, but there’s a good chance that you’ve recently heard a song or two of hers. This summer, the Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter released “Remain,” a song that she wrote and recorded for big screen thriller Old by M. Night Shyamalan (Saleka’s own father), which can be seen being sung by the story’s protagonist throughout the film. Additionally, her “The Sky Cries” was recently featured in the Apple Original series Servant (for which Shyamalan is an executive producer). Saleka’s sound is a sultry and soulful brand of R&B that maintains much of the beauty found in the genre’s legends, while also fitting very elegantly into the 21st century (especially in the context of sleek, psychological horror narratives).
This Wednesday, October 13th, Saleka kicks off her residency at The Lounge at World Café Live (which continues on November 17th and December 8th, with additional residencies at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC and Songbyrd in Washington DC) and last week she took some time to chat with me over the phone about her burgeoning music career. She tells me that she’s thrilled to finally get to be on the road with her band (She recently played Music Midtown in Atlanta and ACL Music Festival in Austin.), but that she’s especially excited for her dates at World Café Live, where she and her band played one of their first shows in 2019: “I love Philly and this feels like our hometown venue… The show has a very R&B and Jazz vibe, so it’ll be perfect for that room, as a lounge.”
At the moment, Saleka’s catalogue only has a large handful of songs (most recently protest song “How Many,” which dropped in August), but she tells me there is a full-length that is due out in a few months and more songs to come for future soundtracks of Servant. There’s a good chance she’ll be playing some of these songs at her WCL shows, in addition to songs that have come about even more recently: “I have a foundational group of songs, but there will be some new songs that haven’t been recorded yet. I’ve also been writing songs as we’re touring, so sometimes I’ll add one in right after I write it.” She also tells me that, for those of you considering coming out to more than one of the performances, they will likely each offer something a little different: “Maybe some additions and changes, maybe even in production, like have electronic drums one time or something like that.”