Her voice is sweet and her lyrics are filled with emotion. Her music digs deeper than the surface, and is crafted with precision. Her name is Sza and she is here to share her music and herself to the world. Take a glimpse inside her mind in this interview with Giant Step contributor, Andrea K. Castillo.
I first became familiar with your EP through Giant Step and I immediately downloaded, and I listened, and listened, and thought, “Wow, this is really great! Let me learn more about this girl.” So I read all your press stuff and decided to do an interview, so here it is. We’re in the time of Sza. Your EP, See Sza Run, has been out for a few weeks now, tell me a little bit about the process, I know you worked with a bunch of different producers, how was that experience?
Sza: Super. A lot of these happened by chance. You’d be surprised at how any people don’t give you beats or don’t give you permission for anything, so I pretty much stole three-quarters of my project. Once they [the producers] heard it, they weren’t as angry with me. It was definitely interesting, I was like “That sounds good, MINE!”, and just ran with it.
So it’s seven tracks, and when listening it is very atmospheric and I can see what you are talking about. It’s a little dark, but I like that, and your lyrics are very refined. How long have you been writing?
Sza: That’s a really good question. I’ve been a writer, prior to singing or anything, for a very long time. That was my strong suit. Even in high school I was in AP English…writing is my thing. I’m a serious reader and heavily into poetry, so before I even opened my mouth and thought “Maybe I should try to translate this into something, it’s crowded in here”, I had to find a way to get these thoughts out of my brain.
You paint a picture with your words, and in regards to your visuals, I noticed across the board there are a lot of flowers; the album artwork, the music videos. Can you tell us more about your choice to use floral imagery in your work?
Sza: My mom was somewhat of a botanist, so gardening, plant life, that’s all her sh*t, and my dad was super into science. I went to school for science, so I love plant life and wild life. Knowing a lot about flowers and what they represent and the energy they bring…I use a lot of tiger lilies in my work because they used to grow in my backyard all the time; those are my favorite, they’re so pretty.
The UK med student turned soul sensation Emeli Sandé is winning hearts everywhere with her heartfelt lyrics and brilliant voice. Her debut album Our Version Of Events is out in the US today. Finally!
When you hear Sandé, you'll be swept back to glimpses of Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, and Lauryn Hill.
To add to the excitement, Emeli is offering a free single via iTunes! Also, be sure to catch her on tour - dates below. Another taste of Emeli's sounds can be found via the video for "My Kind of Love" below. There's plenty of goodness to go around, so take your pick.
Jun 05 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY
Jul 29 - TD Garden - Boston, MA
Jul 30 - TD Garden - Boston, MA
Aug 01 - Palace of Auburn Hills - Detroit, MI *
Aug 03 - Izod Center - Rutherford, NJ *
Aug 04 - Izod Center - Rutherford, NJ *
For those of you that have been rocking to Emeli Sande's videos on repeat, you can now also look forward to watching her live on select tour dates with Coldplay in the US.
Above is a little taste of what to expect from Emeli - here's Emeli performing "Heaven" on Later with Jools Holland. Enjoy!
Apr 4 Norwich, UK UEA headline show
Apr 5 Leeds, UK O2 Academy headline show
Apr 6 Aberdeen, Scot Music Hall headline show
Apr 9 Liverpool, UK Academy headline show
Apr 10 Glasgow , Scot Old Fruitmarket headline show
Apr 12 Manchester, UK HMV Ritz headline show
Apr 13 Cardiff, UK Solus headline show
Apr 14 Birmingham, UK HMV Institute headline show
Apr 16 London Shepherds Bush Empire headline show
April 27 Tobago Tobago Jazz Experience Festival play with Janelle Monae and Angie Stone
July 23 Toronto, CAN Air Canada Centre opening for Coldplay
July 24 Toronto, CAN Air Canada Centre opening for Coldplay
July 26 Montreal, CAN Bell Centre opening for Coldplay
July 27 Montreal, CAN Bell Centre opening for Coldplay
July 29 Boston, MA TD Garden opening for Coldplay
July 30 Boston, MA TD Garden opening for Coldplay
Aug 1 Detroit Palace of Auburn Hills opening for Coldplay
Aug 3 E Rutherford, NJ Izod Center opening for Coldplay
Aug 4 E Rutherford, NJ Izod Center opening for Coldplay
Aug 7 Chicago, IL United Center opening for Coldplay
Aug 8 Chicago, IL United Center opening for Coldplay
Aug 10 St Paul, MN Xcel Center opening for Coldplay
Aug 11 St Paul, MN Xcel Center opening for Coldplay
The 2009 All Points West Music and Arts Festival in New Jersey’s Liberty State Park was kinda like an open-air high school lunchroom where shaggy rockers, glittery rappers, and freewheeling artsy kids all held court in their respective corners. Spotty showers soaked the first day of the weekend-long festival which left dedicated (a.k.a. fool-headed) fans tramping through glutinous mud to the sounds of Vampire Weekend, The Knux and Peanut Butter Wolf. The Pharcyde rocked loopy hits like “Runnin’” and “Passin’ Me By.” The original line-up was in full effect – including a formerly dreadlocked Tre sporting an appropriately Jersey Corleone hat – and showed love to J. Dilla by playing Slum Village jams like “Raise It Up.” Q-Tip deployed his trademark energy, grooving through Tribe’s hits and busting out a quirky yet charming cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.”