Seinabo Sey’s Spicy Soundtrack

The Swedish soul phenomenon spins a party playlist that'll melt all the ice off your house.

Swedish soul singer Seinabo Sey sang at a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and got her face on a national postage stamp… all before even releasing her first EP. Now that hotly-anticipated debut record, “For Madeleine,” is out, and she’s wrapping up a US tour.  This week she made us a playlist that indicates she’s not eager to return home to a Swedish winter.


Seinabo Sey: Hello. My name is Seinabo Sey, and this is my dinner party soundtrack.

Spice, “Like A Man”

We start the night off with listening to some dancehall, because I love dancehall music. Maybe we should start soft, but that wouldn’t be realistic, really, in my life. So I’d listen to a song called “Like A Man,” by a dancehall artist named Spice.

The song is really funny, because she’s like, “So men make more money — let me sound like a man.” And then she sings just really low, and everyone’s face goes, “Whaaaat!?” when they hear that for the first time.

My ideal party would actually be just inviting my friends into my little studio apartment in Stockholm, and I’d probably cook some food from Gambia — which is where my dad is from. I grew up there a little bit, as well.

Pretty spicy food, so the apartment tends to get really, like, hot… and everyone gets flustered from the pepper… and you can kind of transport yourself to Africa or wherever you actually want to be when it’s snowing outside and pretty cold all the time.

Rihanna featuring Kanye West and Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds”

Song number two would be this new Rihanna single called “FourFiveSeconds.”  She just sings really, really amazing — her vocals are wicked in this song.

I actually believe her whole rebellious spirit that she has, and I just… I’ve heard things about her that I really like. For example: that she always cranks up the temperature in a room, wherever she is.  I can sort of relate to that — like, never wanting to freeze.

This song actually features Paul McCartney and Kanye West. Paul McCartney is, like, playing this really weird guitar, and Kanye is just singing absolutely terribly in this song.  But he has feeling — he has vibe!

If I was in a room with those three, I’d just sit in a corner and stare. Probably just stare and listen.

Mos Def, “Ms. Fat Booty”

Then the third song would be “Ms. Fat Booty,” by Mos Def.  Just because I really, really love him, and I’m kind of married to him in my brain.

He’s sampling Aretha Franklin, from her song “One Step Ahead,” so that’s a good thing — love her. It’s just really soulful and vibey and has amazing storytelling.

Also it has this really nice hip hop vibe, and I know all the lyrics.  And all of my friends know the lyrics. We just rap along, which is the best thing to do at a party; when everyone knows the song.

Seinabo Sey, “Younger”

See, if I had a dinner party, my sister would probably be the DJ.  And she would probably play one of my songs — I’d be too self conscious to do that. But she’d play “Younger.”

I wrote it about not really knowing what to do with my musical career, because I was really procrastinating.  So I wrote a song about kind of seizing the day… or the night, if you’re going out.