For years, Shyan Selah wore his sports star image like an increasingly thin and less comfortable mask.The former football running back, who was born Travis Henry, knows the sensation of watching a crowd of hundreds rise to its feet in thunderous applause. And he knows what it's like to study those crowds from the field and wonder how those people could be so moved when he felt nothing but unhappiness.By the time he entered Illahee Junior High, coaches pegged him as a future NFL player, Selah said. And he continued playing football through high school and a few years of college before he couldn't deny his true love - music - any longer.The 25-year-old Northeast Tacoma resident says he's already learned an invaluable life lesson - that taking advantage of your skills doesn't necessarily satisfy your soul, and that what you love most can become the thing you most dread. You know what? I hate football, he said. I didn't want to go to games. I didn't want to go to practices. All I wanted to do was sit at home and write lyrics. It became fake. It wasn't a game anymore. It was a business.And it was a family business. Selah's father repeatedly told him and his brothers that as black men, sports provided their only ticket to college. So all of them worked hard at excelling on the gridiron, the track or on the court. It was also a way to earn their dad's respect.Our dad has a million tales of our sports, Selah said, laughing.On August 19, Selah, who is now a rapper with his own Seattle-based record company, plans to perform a concert at Federal Way Memorial Stadium, where he used to play football. To him, it seems a fitting, albeit ironic, move for a man who's spent most of his life suppressing his musical abilities in favor of his sports skills. Selah remembers watching his older brothers play football when he was 4 or 5. At that point, the sport seemed like a fun way to make friends and gain his brothers' admiration. He joined the Federal Way Hawks football team when he was 7.Lighter skinned and chubbier than his brothers, Selah felt like he faced an uphill climb in gaining their acceptance - I wanted to be like them. He pushed himself. In sixth grade, he told his basketball coach he wanted to be the first boy ever to make varsity in seventh grade at Illahee Junior High. He did it. Illahee teacher Steve McCully, who coached Selah in football, basketball and track, says he was a nice kid and a very talented athlete who inspired respect from other students.He was one of the very best athletes we ever had at this school, McCully said. He was a district champion sprinter. He was the only kid who ever made the varsity basketball team as a seventh-grader. He played varsity football as an eighth-grader. He was a real leader.And he appeared happy - He always had a smile on his face. McCully says he didn't know Selah was interested in music. Few people did.Even as he played more than a decade of football, music played a major, albeit secret, role in his life. Selah's father and paternal grandmother loved music. His grandmother was a stern woman but music softened her features. His father sometimes woke the family up in the middle of the night playing a favorite album. Neither Selah's father nor his grandmother expressed emotions well.Music was their refuge, he said. It was an unwritten place of worship.Selah shared that appreciation for music as almost a spiritual experience. When his father was gone, he flipped through the older man's prized record collection - studying the covers of albums from Chuck Berry, the Commodores, James Brown, the Beatles, Hall and Oates and Marvin Gaye. He developed an appreciation for a wide range of genres, from country to jazz, from rock to funk.As a kid, he'd sing under his breath. And during football games, his head would provide the soundtrack. Music would take me to a zone.It was like a God source, he said.But as people increasingly came to associate him with sports, it seemed like music couldn't play a major role in his life. In high school, he performed at a couple school talent shows but he played them for laughs, the sports star rapping on the side for kicks.Music and sports vied for dominance and sports won. At Decatur High, Selah was running back on the football team and point guard for the varsity basketball team. His sophomore year, he created a stir by transferring to Federal Way High, from which he graduated in 1993. He focused his energies there on football.Although he loved moments in the game - such as the well-executed block - his heart told him he was an artist, not an athlete. Suppressing what truly fed his soul gradually turned Selah against sports.I ended up not liking that stuff at all, he said. It drove me away from trophies, newspaper write-ups, accolades.For Selah, sports turned into a security blanket that almost smothered his true ambition. He never considered killing himself, but he thought often about symbolically killing who he had become - stopping completely who Travis Henry was, no more sports. He ultimately changed his name.During his senior year at Federal Way High, Selah realized even further the fragility of his sports persona. He was an All-American in football but when he blew out his knee, the major colleges backed away, and only the minor colleges offered him scholarships. He attended Eastern Washington his freshman year on a football scholarship before briefly attending a Christian college in Tennessee and returning to the state to play football for a couple years at Central Washington. When he helped the college win a national championship in 1995 and felt nothing but tired of the game, he knew it was time to walk away.After years of feeling like his life was a masquerade, Selah started opening up to people about himself. He majored in sociology, theology and psychology at Central Washington, and got within 28 credits of graduating before deciding to focus on his music. This is what I'm about, a higher level of thing, he said of those subjects. No more of the shallow side of things but the spiritual side of me.In Hollywood, he started making connections in the music business. He formed his own company in 1996 - originally Kuluwin (Arabic for the all) now called Brand New World Records. He devotes his time to running his company, where he serves as CEO and board president, and writing and recording rap and hip hop music. He performs the single Let's Go with Neb Love of the 5 Footaz and Red Ant Records' Miss Toi on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Harlem Aria, starring Damon Wayans and Malik Yoba. His solo projects, Red Ink Diary and Passion, Pleasure, Pain are due out this year. He recently released the single Round and Round. Selah says he mixes his music up with life. He likes to explore serious issues but write songs that always offer a solution.Why do people murder? Why are you depressed? Why are you happy? What makes you believe in God? What makes you like sex? he asks.Selah appreciates the irony of performing his upbeat rap songs at the place where he used to pretend to be someone he wasn't.The only way to get rid of a bad memory, he said, is to deal with it. If I don't deal with it, what kind of man am I?" "/> For years, Shyan Selah wore his sports star image like an increasingly thin and less comfortable mask.The former football running back, who was born Travis Henry, knows the sensation of watching a crowd of hundreds rise to its feet in thunderous applause. And he knows what it's like to study those crowds from the field and wonder how those people could be so moved when he felt nothing but unhappiness.By the time he entered Illahee Junior High, coaches pegged him as a future NFL player, Selah said. And he continued playing football through high school and a few years of college before he couldn't deny his true love - music - any longer.The 25-year-old Northeast Tacoma resident says he's already learned an invaluable life lesson - that taking advantage of your skills doesn't necessarily satisfy your soul, and that what you love most can become the thing you most dread. You know what? I hate football, he said. I didn't want to go to games. I didn't want to go to practices. All I wanted to do was sit at home and write lyrics. It became fake. It wasn't a game anymore. It was a business.And it was a family business. Selah's father repeatedly told him and his brothers that as black men, sports provided their only ticket to college. So all of them worked hard at excelling on the gridiron, the track or on the court. It was also a way to earn their dad's respect.Our dad has a million tales of our sports, Selah said, laughing.On August 19, Selah, who is now a rapper with his own Seattle-based record company, plans to perform a concert at Federal Way Memorial Stadium, where he used to play football. To him, it seems a fitting, albeit ironic, move for a man who's spent most of his life suppressing his musical abilities in favor of his sports skills. Selah remembers watching his older brothers play football when he was 4 or 5. At that point, the sport seemed like a fun way to make friends and gain his brothers' admiration. He joined the Federal Way Hawks football team when he was 7.Lighter skinned and chubbier than his brothers, Selah felt like he faced an uphill climb in gaining their acceptance - I wanted to be like them. He pushed himself. In sixth grade, he told his basketball coach he wanted to be the first boy ever to make varsity in seventh grade at Illahee Junior High. He did it. Illahee teacher Steve McCully, who coached Selah in football, basketball and track, says he was a nice kid and a very talented athlete who inspired respect from other students.He was one of the very best athletes we ever had at this school, McCully said. He was a district champion sprinter. He was the only kid who ever made the varsity basketball team as a seventh-grader. He played varsity football as an eighth-grader. He was a real leader.And he appeared happy - He always had a smile on his face. McCully says he didn't know Selah was interested in music. Few people did.Even as he played more than a decade of football, music played a major, albeit secret, role in his life. Selah's father and paternal grandmother loved music. His grandmother was a stern woman but music softened her features. His father sometimes woke the family up in the middle of the night playing a favorite album. Neither Selah's father nor his grandmother expressed emotions well.Music was their refuge, he said. It was an unwritten place of worship.Selah shared that appreciation for music as almost a spiritual experience. When his father was gone, he flipped through the older man's prized record collection - studying the covers of albums from Chuck Berry, the Commodores, James Brown, the Beatles, Hall and Oates and Marvin Gaye. He developed an appreciation for a wide range of genres, from country to jazz, from rock to funk.As a kid, he'd sing under his breath. And during football games, his head would provide the soundtrack. Music would take me to a zone.It was like a God source, he said.But as people increasingly came to associate him with sports, it seemed like music couldn't play a major role in his life. In high school, he performed at a couple school talent shows but he played them for laughs, the sports star rapping on the side for kicks.Music and sports vied for dominance and sports won. At Decatur High, Selah was running back on the football team and point guard for the varsity basketball team. His sophomore year, he created a stir by transferring to Federal Way High, from which he graduated in 1993. He focused his energies there on football.Although he loved moments in the game - such as the well-executed block - his heart told him he was an artist, not an athlete. Suppressing what truly fed his soul gradually turned Selah against sports.I ended up not liking that stuff at all, he said. It drove me away from trophies, newspaper write-ups, accolades.For Selah, sports turned into a security blanket that almost smothered his true ambition. He never considered killing himself, but he thought often about symbolically killing who he had become - stopping completely who Travis Henry was, no more sports. He ultimately changed his name.During his senior year at Federal Way High, Selah realized even further the fragility of his sports persona. He was an All-American in football but when he blew out his knee, the major colleges backed away, and only the minor colleges offered him scholarships. He attended Eastern Washington his freshman year on a football scholarship before briefly attending a Christian college in Tennessee and returning to the state to play football for a couple years at Central Washington. When he helped the college win a national championship in 1995 and felt nothing but tired of the game, he knew it was time to walk away.After years of feeling like his life was a masquerade, Selah started opening up to people about himself. He majored in sociology, theology and psychology at Central Washington, and got within 28 credits of graduating before deciding to focus on his music. This is what I'm about, a higher level of thing, he said of those subjects. No more of the shallow side of things but the spiritual side of me.In Hollywood, he started making connections in the music business. He formed his own company in 1996 - originally Kuluwin (Arabic for the all) now called Brand New World Records. He devotes his time to running his company, where he serves as CEO and board president, and writing and recording rap and hip hop music. He performs the single Let's Go with Neb Love of the 5 Footaz and Red Ant Records' Miss Toi on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Harlem Aria, starring Damon Wayans and Malik Yoba. His solo projects, Red Ink Diary and Passion, Pleasure, Pain are due out this year. He recently released the single Round and Round. Selah says he mixes his music up with life. He likes to explore serious issues but write songs that always offer a solution.Why do people murder? Why are you depressed? Why are you happy? What makes you believe in God? What makes you like sex? he asks.Selah appreciates the irony of performing his upbeat rap songs at the place where he used to pretend to be someone he wasn't.The only way to get rid of a bad memory, he said, is to deal with it. If I don't deal with it, what kind of man am I?"">For years, Shyan Selah wore his sports star image like an increasingly thin and less comfortable mask.The former football running back, who was born Travis Henry, knows the sensation of watching a crowd of hundreds rise to its feet in thunderous applause. And he knows what it's like to study those crowds from the field and wonder how those people could be so moved when he felt nothing but unhappiness.By the time he entered Illahee Junior High, coaches pegged him as a future NFL player, Selah said. And he continued playing football through high school and a few years of college before he couldn't deny his true love - music - any longer.The 25-year-old Northeast Tacoma resident says he's already learned an invaluable life lesson - that taking advantage of your skills doesn't necessarily satisfy your soul, and that what you love most can become the thing you most dread. You know what? I hate football, he said. I didn't want to go to games. I didn't want to go to practices. All I wanted to do was sit at home and write lyrics. It became fake. It wasn't a game anymore. It was a business.And it was a family business. Selah's father repeatedly told him and his brothers that as black men, sports provided their only ticket to college. So all of them worked hard at excelling on the gridiron, the track or on the court. It was also a way to earn their dad's respect.Our dad has a million tales of our sports, Selah said, laughing.On August 19, Selah, who is now a rapper with his own Seattle-based record company, plans to perform a concert at Federal Way Memorial Stadium, where he used to play football. To him, it seems a fitting, albeit ironic, move for a man who's spent most of his life suppressing his musical abilities in favor of his sports skills. Selah remembers watching his older brothers play football when he was 4 or 5. At that point, the sport seemed like a fun way to make friends and gain his brothers' admiration. He joined the Federal Way Hawks football team when he was 7.Lighter skinned and chubbier than his brothers, Selah felt like he faced an uphill climb in gaining their acceptance - I wanted to be like them. He pushed himself. In sixth grade, he told his basketball coach he wanted to be the first boy ever to make varsity in seventh grade at Illahee Junior High. He did it. Illahee teacher Steve McCully, who coached Selah in football, basketball and track, says he was a nice kid and a very talented athlete who inspired respect from other students.He was one of the very best athletes we ever had at this school, McCully said. He was a district champion sprinter. He was the only kid who ever made the varsity basketball team as a seventh-grader. He played varsity football as an eighth-grader. He was a real leader.And he appeared happy - He always had a smile on his face. McCully says he didn't know Selah was interested in music. Few people did.Even as he played more than a decade of football, music played a major, albeit secret, role in his life. Selah's father and paternal grandmother loved music. His grandmother was a stern woman but music softened her features. His father sometimes woke the family up in the middle of the night playing a favorite album. Neither Selah's father nor his grandmother expressed emotions well.Music was their refuge, he said. It was an unwritten place of worship.Selah shared that appreciation for music as almost a spiritual experience. When his father was gone, he flipped through the older man's prized record collection - studying the covers of albums from Chuck Berry, the Commodores, James Brown, the Beatles, Hall and Oates and Marvin Gaye. He developed an appreciation for a wide range of genres, from country to jazz, from rock to funk.As a kid, he'd sing under his breath. And during football games, his head would provide the soundtrack. Music would take me to a zone.It was like a God source, he said.But as people increasingly came to associate him with sports, it seemed like music couldn't play a major role in his life. In high school, he performed at a couple school talent shows but he played them for laughs, the sports star rapping on the side for kicks.Music and sports vied for dominance and sports won. At Decatur High, Selah was running back on the football team and point guard for the varsity basketball team. His sophomore year, he created a stir by transferring to Federal Way High, from which he graduated in 1993. He focused his energies there on football.Although he loved moments in the game - such as the well-executed block - his heart told him he was an artist, not an athlete. Suppressing what truly fed his soul gradually turned Selah against sports.I ended up not liking that stuff at all, he said. It drove me away from trophies, newspaper write-ups, accolades.For Selah, sports turned into a security blanket that almost smothered his true ambition. He never considered killing himself, but he thought often about symbolically killing who he had become - stopping completely who Travis Henry was, no more sports. He ultimately changed his name.During his senior year at Federal Way High, Selah realized even further the fragility of his sports persona. He was an All-American in football but when he blew out his knee, the major colleges backed away, and only the minor colleges offered him scholarships. He attended Eastern Washington his freshman year on a football scholarship before briefly attending a Christian college in Tennessee and returning to the state to play football for a couple years at Central Washington. When he helped the college win a national championship in 1995 and felt nothing but tired of the game, he knew it was time to walk away.After years of feeling like his life was a masquerade, Selah started opening up to people about himself. He majored in sociology, theology and psychology at Central Washington, and got within 28 credits of graduating before deciding to focus on his music. This is what I'm about, a higher level of thing, he said of those subjects. No more of the shallow side of things but the spiritual side of me.In Hollywood, he started making connections in the music business. He formed his own company in 1996 - originally Kuluwin (Arabic for the all) now called Brand New World Records. He devotes his time to running his company, where he serves as CEO and board president, and writing and recording rap and hip hop music. He performs the single Let's Go with Neb Love of the 5 Footaz and Red Ant Records' Miss Toi on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Harlem Aria, starring Damon Wayans and Malik Yoba. His solo projects, Red Ink Diary and Passion, Pleasure, Pain are due out this year. He recently released the single Round and Round. Selah says he mixes his music up with life. He likes to explore serious issues but write songs that always offer a solution.Why do people murder? Why are you depressed? Why are you happy? What makes you believe in God? What makes you like sex? he asks.Selah appreciates the irony of performing his upbeat rap songs at the place where he used to pretend to be someone he wasn't.The only way to get rid of a bad memory, he said, is to deal with it. If I don't deal with it, what kind of man am I?" "/> Rapper returns to his roots - Federal Way Mirror
News

Rapper returns to his roots

">For years, Shyan Selah wore his sports star image like an increasingly thin and less comfortable mask.The former football running back, who was born Travis Henry, knows the sensation of watching a crowd of hundreds rise to its feet in thunderous applause. And he knows what it's like to study those crowds from the field and wonder how those people could be so moved when he felt nothing but unhappiness.By the time he entered Illahee Junior High, coaches pegged him as a future NFL player, Selah said. And he continued playing football through high school and a few years of college before he couldn't deny his true love - music - any longer.The 25-year-old Northeast Tacoma resident says he's already learned an invaluable life lesson - that taking advantage of your skills doesn't necessarily satisfy your soul, and that what you love most can become the thing you most dread. You know what? I hate football, he said. I didn't want to go to games. I didn't want to go to practices. All I wanted to do was sit at home and write lyrics. It became fake. It wasn't a game anymore. It was a business.And it was a family business. Selah's father repeatedly told him and his brothers that as black men, sports provided their only ticket to college. So all of them worked hard at excelling on the gridiron, the track or on the court. It was also a way to earn their dad's respect.Our dad has a million tales of our sports, Selah said, laughing.On August 19, Selah, who is now a rapper with his own Seattle-based record company, plans to perform a concert at Federal Way Memorial Stadium, where he used to play football. To him, it seems a fitting, albeit ironic, move for a man who's spent most of his life suppressing his musical abilities in favor of his sports skills. Selah remembers watching his older brothers play football when he was 4 or 5. At that point, the sport seemed like a fun way to make friends and gain his brothers' admiration. He joined the Federal Way Hawks football team when he was 7.Lighter skinned and chubbier than his brothers, Selah felt like he faced an uphill climb in gaining their acceptance - I wanted to be like them. He pushed himself. In sixth grade, he told his basketball coach he wanted to be the first boy ever to make varsity in seventh grade at Illahee Junior High. He did it. Illahee teacher Steve McCully, who coached Selah in football, basketball and track, says he was a nice kid and a very talented athlete who inspired respect from other students.He was one of the very best athletes we ever had at this school, McCully said. He was a district champion sprinter. He was the only kid who ever made the varsity basketball team as a seventh-grader. He played varsity football as an eighth-grader. He was a real leader.And he appeared happy - He always had a smile on his face. McCully says he didn't know Selah was interested in music. Few people did.Even as he played more than a decade of football, music played a major, albeit secret, role in his life. Selah's father and paternal grandmother loved music. His grandmother was a stern woman but music softened her features. His father sometimes woke the family up in the middle of the night playing a favorite album. Neither Selah's father nor his grandmother expressed emotions well.Music was their refuge, he said. It was an unwritten place of worship.Selah shared that appreciation for music as almost a spiritual experience. When his father was gone, he flipped through the older man's prized record collection - studying the covers of albums from Chuck Berry, the Commodores, James Brown, the Beatles, Hall and Oates and Marvin Gaye. He developed an appreciation for a wide range of genres, from country to jazz, from rock to funk.As a kid, he'd sing under his breath. And during football games, his head would provide the soundtrack. Music would take me to a zone.It was like a God source, he said.But as people increasingly came to associate him with sports, it seemed like music couldn't play a major role in his life. In high school, he performed at a couple school talent shows but he played them for laughs, the sports star rapping on the side for kicks.Music and sports vied for dominance and sports won. At Decatur High, Selah was running back on the football team and point guard for the varsity basketball team. His sophomore year, he created a stir by transferring to Federal Way High, from which he graduated in 1993. He focused his energies there on football.Although he loved moments in the game - such as the well-executed block - his heart told him he was an artist, not an athlete. Suppressing what truly fed his soul gradually turned Selah against sports.I ended up not liking that stuff at all, he said. It drove me away from trophies, newspaper write-ups, accolades.For Selah, sports turned into a security blanket that almost smothered his true ambition. He never considered killing himself, but he thought often about symbolically killing who he had become - stopping completely who Travis Henry was, no more sports. He ultimately changed his name.During his senior year at Federal Way High, Selah realized even further the fragility of his sports persona. He was an All-American in football but when he blew out his knee, the major colleges backed away, and only the minor colleges offered him scholarships. He attended Eastern Washington his freshman year on a football scholarship before briefly attending a Christian college in Tennessee and returning to the state to play football for a couple years at Central Washington. When he helped the college win a national championship in 1995 and felt nothing but tired of the game, he knew it was time to walk away.After years of feeling like his life was a masquerade, Selah started opening up to people about himself. He majored in sociology, theology and psychology at Central Washington, and got within 28 credits of graduating before deciding to focus on his music. This is what I'm about, a higher level of thing, he said of those subjects. No more of the shallow side of things but the spiritual side of me.In Hollywood, he started making connections in the music business. He formed his own company in 1996 - originally Kuluwin (Arabic for the all) now called Brand New World Records. He devotes his time to running his company, where he serves as CEO and board president, and writing and recording rap and hip hop music. He performs the single Let's Go with Neb Love of the 5 Footaz and Red Ant Records' Miss Toi on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Harlem Aria, starring Damon Wayans and Malik Yoba. His solo projects, Red Ink Diary and Passion, Pleasure, Pain are due out this year. He recently released the single Round and Round. Selah says he mixes his music up with life. He likes to explore serious issues but write songs that always offer a solution.Why do people murder? Why are you depressed? Why are you happy? What makes you believe in God? What makes you like sex? he asks.Selah appreciates the irony of performing his upbeat rap songs at the place where he used to pretend to be someone he wasn't.The only way to get rid of a bad memory, he said, is to deal with it. If I don't deal with it, what kind of man am I?"

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