Sunday’s Grammy awards were compulsive viewing for Houghton Regis reggae singer Askala Selassie.
Her debut album, Warrior Empress, was regarded as good enough by her record company – New York-based VP Records – to be entered in the reggae category of the 59th annual event in Los Angeles.
But the mother-of-one just lost out on making the final shortlist.
Askala, 32, said: “I am so over-joyed that it was even considered worthy of a nomination by my record label. The Grammys are as big as it gets in the music business so it is such an honour even to be in the mix.”
She has wanted to be a singer as long as she can remember and aged just 21 was the youngest-ever backing vocalist with Bob Marley’s Wailers when they toured Europe in 2005.
She recalled: “It was the best learning curve I could have had. The Wailers don’t rehearse - there’s a 10 minute sound check and then it’s show time. They taught me how to be the best I can be.
“It was like being thrown in at the deep end and I swam, sister, I swam.”
The proud Rastafari writes most of her own material and aims to empower women with her lyrics. She explained: “I write songs from my heart and my soul and my mission on Warrior Empress was to help people see, know and value women’s worth . . . the title track is my favourite. The video was shot at Lewsey Farm and in and around Luton.”
Bubbly Askala claims to have divine inspiration for many of her songs and enjoys dressing in regal fashion: “Like a queen, the highest of the high, but not in a diva way.” The rising reggae star has just returned from a month-long visit to Jamaica where she appeared on radio and prime time television. Her dream is to ditch the day job and concentrate on singing. And judging by her recent successes, it won’t be long now.
> Visit www.askalaselassie.com