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Making waves

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Selah Sue actually got to take a vacation – well, sort of.

“I only had one gig on this trip and then a week of vacation,” she says during a phone interview from Tokyo. “It’s uncommon, but I’ll take it. The time was so relaxing.”

Selah Sue is a Belgian singer-songwriter who is just starting to make waves in the United States.

Her self-titled 2011 album has sold more than 700,000 copies in Europe alone and nearly half a million in the United States. She’s had some chart success with her singles, “Raggamuffin,” “Crazy Vibes” and “This World.”

With that stepping stone, Sue is beginning her trek into the United States.

“I’ve played some shows on the East Coast before and they were great,” she says. “It was a humbling experience to see that the audience knew my songs, even without me being a big name there.”

As the tour brings her to the West Coast, Sue says she’s been inspired within the past month and has written a lot of songs.

She’s completed about 20 demos and is waiting to see which producers she will work with on the next album, which she plans to have out next year.

“I feel more confident with this album,” she says. “I’ve got the work done and I’m going through a list of producers. I won’t give any names, but I want to work with a producer who will bring out the best in the songs.”

Although Sue is from Belgium, her influences are found heavily in R&B.

She started listening to Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and The Fugees, as well as a little bit of reggae.

“I remember my voice not being as big as it is now,” she says. “It was difficult for me to sing R&B. Around the time I was 15, my voice developed more and I began to think about a career in music.”

Sue has been able to tour with Ed Sheeran and Beth Orton and will open for Jason Mraz for his show in the Duke City.

“It’s been amazing to open for all of these musicians because it introduces me to a new audience,” she says. “I’m the new kid on the block and barely getting started here.”