Introducing: Sélavi​

May 24, 2017

by — Posted in Art & Design, Fashion, Music, Photography

Eccentric. Electric. Enlightened.

“Sélavi​ [say-la-vee] is a quirky way of spelling the popular french phrase ‘C’est la vie’, which means ‘that’s life’.  As a femcee, singer and songwriter, I use music to share lessons of love, self reflection and sexual expression.
I’ve always had a passion for rhyming/singing and creating music.  The more I use it as an outlet for stress and overthinking, the more I’ve been on a mission to challenge the identity of women in the Rap/Hip Hop industry.  Confronting the male gaze and ego with conscious, clever, and poetic lyrics that allude to romantic and adventurous narratives of nostalgia.”


EP cover art by: Inyegumena Nosegbe

What do you want people to know about you?

I am a multidisciplinary artist with an undying wanderlust and appetite for poetry and non-fiction novels.

Where you are from?

I was born in Toronto, and moved to The Bahamas for high school.  I later moved to New York where I went to Parsons School Of Design for Photography.


How did you end up in the busiest city in the world?

Though I had been living on Paradise Island, I was a city girl at heart and I always pictured myself experiencing New York as young adult.  I don’t think I considered it busy, but more so vibrant and alive, with plenty to see and offer.

Photograph by Laurence Marsach

How does the change of speed of the different places you’re always in help you with your creative process?

The change of speed can be jolting at times.  I’ve learnt how to create a rhythm within myself that allows my process to flow seamlessly.  I even enjoy reading books on this topic of the artistic process and how one gets in tune with their emotions, messages, or life paths.


What are your goals with photography and music?

I’m very passionate about the two and am constantly striving to combine the two in some form. I recently dropped my first EP: Hotboxing in Cars With Boys; A Memoir, and I released a series of photographs that I took during the very moments I talk about in my songs.  As separate entities, I want to take music to a place that makes me proud of me, that really sums up my vibration and energy.  I don’t like to stress about fame or record deals, I’m still very much figuring this industry out.  I view my photography as a personal diary and exploration of my own curiosities.  I find a certain visual freedom and instant connection to my child-like imagination when I use the camera.  It is more in the direction of fine art but I would also love to be a fashion photographer because I have a huge passion for the industry.

Self Portrait

Djenabé Edouard

Your received your BFA from Parsons, how did that prepare you for the real world?

It prepared me sufficiently, I think the key word is Parsons and not BFA.  Though the diploma prepares you to practically acquire the higher paying jobs you want, it doesn’t really teach you much beyond what companies and corporations or the ‘modern standard’ expects and requires.  Parsons is a very interesting art school, because it is in the heart of New York, a city that is full of possibility and people that will teach you more about the world than a textbook ever could.


Sélavi is your artist name.. what does that mean?

It is French for ‘such is life’, but it would normally be spelt like ‘C’est la vie’.  Sélavi is my more phonetic way of expressing the slightly cynical and nonchalant phrase.

Photograph by Laurence Marsach

What are the projects you are working on?

As far as music I’m currently working on my Summer mixtape and another separate secret project with a producer of mine.  Photography-wise, I started a portrait series about accessing the male emotions through the lens and how the female gaze plays a role.  I’m also continuing my thesis project: Fixations, steadily rebuilding new ideas and concepts for interaction.


How do you feel about collaboration?

I enjoy it but I think it has to be a joint idea and venture from the beginning.  I’ve had concepts and projects that I wanted to collaborate with other creatives on but sometimes its hard to get people as passionate, focused and motivated as you are.  I definitely love collaborating in fashion because it lends to more roles, theres a make up artist, model, stylist, photographer etc.  Everyone has a unique artistic skill that the team all respects and likes.

Photograph by Damarys Alvarez

Photograph by Laurence Marsach

Who is your biggest supporter? & what is their relationship with you?

My father.  He is my best friend and my everything.  He is constantly pushing me and encouraging me to do the things I want, and to be the best I can be.  He is one of the biggest reasons I don’t ever give up.




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