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Simone Ledward Boseman is Chadwick Boseman’s widow. She’s also a singer who worked in music promotion and talent booking for many years. Now she is coming out with her first album the mornings under the name sahn. The tracks I’ve listened to so far have blown me away. It doesn’t fit super neatly into a single genre but there’s jazz and R&B influences for sure. Simone gave an interview to Yahoo where she talked about how she found the stage name sahn (it’s a kind of breathing exercise) and how her late husband inspired her to pursue her own artistic dreams. Even now, the way she talks about him makes me tear up. It sounds like they had such a beautiful partnership, and she says she experiences his presence all the time.
Chadwick’s work as an actor inspired Simone to pursue music: “I always sang on the side, but I think that it wasn’t really until the events of the last few years,” she says, “and being able to watch an artist live as an artist and what that looked like and what it meant to pursue your art form in that kind of way. And it looked more real to me.”
What the name “sahn” means to her: “I think actually Simone’s been becoming sahn for a while,” the singer says. “I would say in the last five or so years, before I had put a name to this persona, I was really just starting to come into myself. I was exiting my twenties and stepping into that new era [where] I felt a sense of self-awareness that I didn’t have [before], and I just started to focus in on what I wanted for myself and how I wanted to operate and move in the world and what I felt God’s purpose was for me. And so she was kind of born out of envisioning the highest version of myself.”
“sahn” is a meditation term, a breathing exercise meant to invoke peace. “It trains that endurance of breath for singers,” she explains.
How Chadwick influenced this album: “It’s hard to say how his spirit didn’t influence the album because it influenced me,” sahn says. “So I think about just the things that I learned from knowing Chad, from loving Chad, from being loved by Chad, from watching the way that he approached his life and his relationships and his work, I learned how to start to trust my spirit. I learned how to start to listen to the right influences… I was learning how to process my thoughts and decide which ones I wanted to listen to, and decide which ones were coming from a higher power and which ones were not… [There were] countless times when I would see certain signs that I kind of associate with being messages from different angels of mine, and I feel like his presence is all around me, all the time. And during the making of this album, it was no different than that, than it is every day.”
They each supported each other as artists: In the public eye, it became clear how supportive she was; but the support was always mutual, sahn says. There was his encouraging words and constructive feedback around her fledgling artistry, and willingness to turn up at her modest gigs in small venues, where he instantly became the center of attention. “Those are not always comfortable situations for people in the spotlight,” she notes.
Her first single, “angelsxdemons,” is riveting and the music video is gorgeous and atmospheric. Simone/sahn has a smooth, elegant voice. While several songs on the mornings deal with Chadwick’s death, it’s not the sole focus. I think that might be why she called it that, because there’s a double entendre with “morning” and “mourning.” That’s just my conjecture, though. “the mornings” is also a spoken word track on the album. “angelsxdemons” is about the duality within all of us between good and evil. As she promotes this project, it’s probably a delicate line to walk for Simone between honoring her late husband’s memory, while also wanting not to be solely defined by her relationship with him. There’s more to her story than just her grief. She is an incredible artist in her own right, and I highly recommend listening to her new record.
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