Saleka | still from video
R&B singer Saleka gets vulnerable in “Graffiti”
Rising artist Saleka Night Shyamalan, known mononymously as Saleka, recently released a music video for her song “Graffiti.”
There is a simplicity to “Graffiti” compared to Saleka’s other work. While her vocals are always heavily featured, this stripped down ballad is tinged with vulnerability in both its meaning and performance. There is nothing for the R&B artist to hide behind; there are no harmonies or complex percussive rhythms, and the piece features exceedingly sparse instrumentation. Her voice is anchored only by the thin presence of a keyboard, yet she still manages to create structure in the chord-less soundscape. The lyrics fill the remaining silence of the piece, adding density with their exploration of the power that words can have when they come from loved ones.
Directed by Saleka’s sister, Ishana Night Shyamalan, the video accompanying the song shows Saleka decked out in white. She is surrounded by the same color, leaving nothing to distract from to the words blooming across her skin throughout the video. The vast emptiness of both the set stands in contrast to her skin, in the same way that her voice stands in contrast to the emptiness of the song.