Lhasa de Sela (born 1972), better known as Lhasa, is an American Canadian singer and songwriter who was raised in Mexico and the United States and now lives in Canada.
Lhasa was born in Big Indian, New York, of a Mexican father and an American mother. Her first decade was spent criss-crossing the United States and Mexico in a converted school bus with her parents and three sisters where they were home-schooled by her mother. She started singing in a Greek cafe in San Francisco when she was thirteen. At age nineteen she moved to Montreal and sang for five years in bars, where she developed the material that eventually became her first album, La Llorona, released in 1997. La Llorona, which mixes traditional South American songs with original songs, was strongly influenced by Mexican music, but also Eastern European gypsy music and alternative rock. The album was released by the Montreal independent record label Audiogram and brought her much success, including the Félix Award for "Artiste québécois — musique du monde" in 1997 and the Juno Award for Best Global Artist, in 1998. After touring in Europe and North America for several years, Lhasa left her singing career in 1999 and moved to France to join her three sisters in a circus/theatre company named Pocheros. She eventually reached Marseille, where she started writing songs again. She then returned to Montreal to produce her second album, The Living Road, which was released in 2003. While La Llorona had been entirely in Spanish, The Living Road included songs in English, French and Spanish. A two year tour followed the release of "The Living Road", taking her and her group to seventeen countries. She was a guest singer on the Tindersticks' track 'Sometimes It Hurts' off their Waiting for the Moon album, and later joined Tindersticks' singer Stuart Staples for a duet on the track 'That Leaving Feeling', found on his Leaving Songs album. She has also appeared as a guest on the albums of French singers Arthur H and Jérôme Minière, and the French gypsy music group Bratsch. Lhasa received the BBC World Music Award for Best Artist of the Americas in 2005. The accumulated worldwide sales of her two albums are nearing one million, promoted mostly by word-of-mouth.