With his engaging stage presence and storytelling acuity, Shelem entertains as he debunks the right brain/left brain myth by describing how his innovative and creative processes as a civil engineer and as a hip-hop artist are similar and are both connected to his love of puzzles. He details the process of problem solving for one of his engineering jobs and then describes the similar process of writing lyrics for his popular hip-hop song “Suga Wata.” As he breaks down his creative process, he also sings the song for the audience.
Beckley, WV native Shelem is a 25-year-old hip-hop artist known for his hands-on approach to engaging his audience. Born Isaac Shelem Fadiga in Silver Spring, MD to parents from the Ivory Coast in West Africa, he began producing, writing, and recording his own songs at age 14. He attended Marshall University in Huntington, WV to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering. Upon graduating in 2018, he moved to Charleston, WV to begin his engineering career. With innovative flair, Shelem has a knack for bringing his art to life. He has connected with fans as the “Delivery Man,” wrote a song using their words, and held an online game of bingo. His primary focus has always been to bring levity into the lives of people in as many ways as possible. With the success of his 2021 summer single “Suga Wata,” Shelem has continued to expand his reach with a featured article on NPR Music’s Slingshot Series, an unforgettable video release, and performances throughout West Virginia and beyond. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx