Seela Misra is a singers singera musician whose voice lets her transmit life truths comfortably in a wide variety of genres. As a songwriter, she uses this voice to convey a unique perspective on everything from love and loss to her deep, unwavering faith often exploring lofty themes with a light and playful touch. As one song from her new record Track You Down, makes perfectly clear, her voice is her primary instrument and she is committed to lifting it up in both praise and love, even while acknowledging her messy, imperfect humanity:
Mustard seed goes through the motions. Wash your feet, get undressed. A pretty day to be a pilgrim. A pretty day to be a mess. Welcome to my fathers house. And I come ready to sing away everything. Come ready to sing.
webshotBorn in Ontario to Indian immigrants, Seela found her way to Austin after college in the usual way: with a guitar and no real plan. Inspired by Austins live music scene, she was experimenting with her own songwriting at home on a borrowed four-track recorder. One day, she wandered into a basement jazz club called The Elephant Room on a quest to experience the unfamiliar adult world of happy hour. She immediately got hooked on The Jazz Pharaohs, was cajoled into singing with them and inevitably became part of the band. At the same time, while performing open mic at the Cactus Caf and other storied venues, Seela met her lifelong people within Austins close-knit music community. In the years since, she has sung back-up, collaborated with and cracked wise among dozens of musical heavyweights from Austin and beyond, sharing the stage with those such as Freedy Johnston, Sean Hayes, Ari Hest, Bob Schneider, Matt the Electrician, Ian McLagan, Kevin Lovejoy, Ephraim Owens, Stan Smith, Beaver Nelson, Stephen Doster and Jon Dee Graham. In addition, her genre-bending solo career has comprised sultry jazz crossings with her band TOrcH, as well as rocking folk songs and soulful gospel revelations that elicit goosebumps and inspire gratitudes.
With the release of her latest album, a gospel-soaked collection of love songs, Seela blurs the lines between the personal and the spiritual with an unprecedented depth of feeling and purity. Co-produced by guitarist/whiz-kid Anthony da Costa and featuring a star-studded ensemble of talent, including Adrian Quesada, Kevin Lovejoy, Anthony da Costa, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Jeff Plankenhorn, Andrew Pressman and Jon Greene, Track You Down is a sonically solid, vulnerable offering that evokes the enduring mystery of the meaning and transformative power of faith.
When she's not performing, Seela can be found at home in South Austin with her dreamy-drummer husband Jon, their magical dog Liza, something simmering on the stove, and a garden full of flowers & vegetables.