There’s a fresh new sound in contemporary pop music and her name is Sejo. The 23-year-old multi-talented singer, dancer and actress first studied dance at the young of five and professionally trained in a myriad of styles, including classical, jazz, hip hop and fusion. Originally from the northern Italian city of Cremona, Sejo – real name Valentina Ottoboni –added singing and acting lessons to her repertoire and became a bona fide triple threat.
She was quickly signed to Italian Imprint Ego and recently released her debut single Too Young, receiving well-deserved praise from fans and critics alike. Melding dark pop, R&B, electro and soul, the song beautifully interweaves tropical paradise-like beats, catchy radio-hit lyrics and a feel-good chorus, for an infectious and sensational aural experience. Sejo, inspired by Sjø or the Norwegian word for sea, encapsulates a deep-rooted passion for artistic expression that is as refreshing as her name suggests.
Jetset Times had the opportunity to chat with the talented young artist to discuss the influence of dance on her music, her creative process in the studio and which bucket list countries she cannot wait to cross off her list.
With a strong background in dance, how has your experience in dance influenced and shaped your musical direction?
Since I was a kid thanks to dance I have listened to many different music genres and in so doing I have educated myself to appreciate musical concepts less commercial and more experimental in nature. To me music and movement merge into dance. When I dance I get carried away and create a symbiosis between body and sound. The more you’re able to seize facets and details, the more the performance will be impactful.
As a singer/songwriter, how important is songwriting to you as an artist, and which singer/songwriters inspired you when you first started making music?
An artist not taking part in the creative process of their own songs cannot fully express himself or herself. It’s like an inner impetus looking for a breach through which to free it. The artist, through art, decides to show something about him or herself and to express how he or she feels. I’ve come in touch with many different musical genres, and I’ve gotten ideas from each one of them. When my producers offered me to perform Too Young, my debut single, I felt it fit like a glove, because it combines peculiar influences: pop, dark pop, electronica and oriental elements, all of which contribute to the song’s appeal.
How would you describe your musical process? Do you prefer to write lyrics first or produce the song first?
Based on my personal experience I sometimes feel inspired by a beat or a special sound, and I begin from there to create a vocal line, then I “stuff” the production together with the team. Other times instead I come up with the lyrics first and then we create the musical structure.
If you could name only three artists from any genre that you would most like to collaborate with, whom would they be and why?
Given that there are many artists that I would like to work with, and that from all of them I could learn and grow from an artistic point of view, I would name Bring Me The Horizon, Bon Iver and Lana Del Rey. Besides being geniuses and technically insane, their productions convey pathos and depth.
Who has been the most impressive collaborator you’ve worked with?
Being at the beginning of my career I haven’t had many artistic partnerships yet, but I hope there will be many of them in the future. My production team is really impeccable and they are really great, both on the professional and talent side.
What’s your favorite way to relax on tour?
I’ve been on tour as a dancer so far, and I often return to spend the night home after shows. When you’re on the road the best way to refresh yourself is a good night’s sleep. Now that I’m about to begin this new adventure as a singer I’m looking forward to hit the road as soon as possible with my songs.
How has traveling influenced you as a person and as an artist?
I would love to travel more and more than I ever did. Traveling is inspiring and so important for creativity, especially when you get in touch with different cultures and worlds distant from yours. I am fascinated by exotic and wild places: Tibet, Japan, China, Indonesia, Egypt, Central America, Siberia, Iceland, Scotland. I really hope to get to see the whole world one day!
Where’s your next holiday or show destination?
You will soon discover!
Any last words you would like to send to your fans?
I wish we’ll take this trip together and that you’ll be at my side on this new journey. I’m very excited! Really hope you guys love my songs, and I hope to make you dance, cry, rejoice and energize you with my music. I’ll do my best. It’s a dive into the void and I will spread my wings.
Don’t forget to check out Sejo’s debut single Too Young on Sound Cloud!