Wednesday, October 17, 2012

J. Selah, Certified CTA Performer

Mariam and I bumped into J. Selah at the Monroe Red Line station on our way to Adler Planetarium as part of Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day Live. When we walked into the station, we were confused at first. We heard a strong, powerful voice emanating from the platform, but we could not place it...
We walked up and down the platform, looking for the person whose voice was resonating through the tunnels. We finally found him standing in front of the CTA map, seemingly reading it, but actually singing and drumming out a beat. J. Selah was taking great advantage of the acoustics of the el station to get his voice to project everywhere. You can see and hear his performance in the videos we took of him (below).

J has been singing for 20 years. Through his music, J preaches a message he's incredibly passionate about - faith and salvation. I thought singing at a subway station was an interesting way to proselytize. J is preaching, but still giving passersby the opportunity to agree or disagree with him while still having the chance to enjoy his pleasant voice and rich harmony. 
Often, J. Selah's music is built around harmonies that he creates himself. Because he's been singing for so many years, he has become an expert on finding places that help him take advantage of the acoustics of a room (even if it means he's hard to see because he's hiding behind a map!).

Although J. Selah was singing in English when we first met him, he told us that he also sings in Spanish (his family is from Puerto Rico). Then he sang one of his songs for us in Spanish too! 
Thanks for talking to us and sharing a special song with us, J! Even though you said you weren't "warmed up" when you sang for us, we thought you sounded wonderful!   


  1. I recently met J while waiting for the red line to go home from working downtown. His voice captured my interest like no one has ever done before. I was completely amazed at his beautiful voice and talent. I thought I'd never see him again, but fortunately he's there a lot so now I get to talk with him when I see him, and listen to his beautiful music. I hope he creates a CD one day, I would definitely purchase a few from him and share them with my family and friends! I love what he's doing and hope he continues! I'm glad I found this page, I was hoping someone else had heard of him! :D

  2. That's wonderful, Ashley! It's awesome to hear that you had a chance to hear and talk to J! I too hope he creates a CD. :)

  3. Just met him now, and bought his cd :)


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