Ami Saraiya and the Outcome
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Ami Saraiya and the Outcome

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Americana Cabaret


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Ami Saraiya and the Outcome @ The Hideout

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Ami Saraiya and the Outcome @ Mayne Stage Theater

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Ami Saraiya and the Outcome @ Chicago Journey Men Plumbers Union, 1340 W. Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

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"Ami Saraiya ventures to some dark places on her latest EP. In just 3 songs, she portrays a circus performer tempting death (Hanging by A Thread), sings of stone-cold corpses and red-hot fires (Purging Purging), and on Cattleprod Hands, turns out a bit of a nightmarish surrealism that sounds like it could have lept from the the brain of filmmaker David Lynch." Andy Downing, Chicago Metromix. - Chicago Metromix

Saraiya sings with a beautiful, mystical, smoky voice that makes one feel like he is sitting in a night club across from a Humphrey Bogart character in a Film Noir movie...Experiencing Saraiya in concert is more than worth it for music lovers...."

Ami Saraiya sings with a beautiful, mystical, smoky voice that makes one feel like he or she is sitting in a night club across from a Humphrey Bogart character in a Film Noir movie.
A sensational singing voice alone, however, does not distinguish a young female artist from the thousands of other hungry, young artists out there. The reason Ami Saraiya is more deserving of this article is because of her intangibles.
Saraiya makes herself more than just a young woman with a gifted voice. She does more than just exercise a skill; she opens her creative mind, and she effectively uses her vocals in a myriad of ways to maximize her ability to emote precisely what feeling she intends to convey. Saraiya’s most effective style is blues, but she proves on “Memphis Train” that she can belt out a gritty rock vocal if she feels like it. So many modern artists have tremendous voices, but they do not have the creative range to shift genre and style. Critics often compare Saraiya’s voice to the immortal Billie Holiday, a tremendous compliment in itself. She, however, has also been vocally compared to singers ranging from Edith Piaf to Bjork to Tom Waits. The ability to exercise a larger spectrum of vocal style allows Saraiya much more freedom to effectively bond the soul of her songs with listeners.
Saraiya’s music, similar to her singing style, depends on the feeling she wishes to emote through a song. Her debut album, Archaeologist, displays Saraiya’s musical range as often as it does her vocal range. Despite being an underground artist with presumably fewer resources for recording a studio album than someone signed to a big label, the production value on Archaeologist is fantastic. Each instrument fits its respective song and never overwhelms any given track. Every bluesy song is cleverly orchestrated from the strings to the often used accordion. Saraiya’s acoustic sound feels down to earth and complements her voice very well. Clearly, Saraiya has many talented friends that worked with her on this album. And, judging by her Myspace page that includes a video of the late, great comedian Bill Hicks ripping advertisers and marketers, Saraiya is more than pleased to prove that not all artists need to be affiliated with a big label to create beautiful and polished music.
It seems as if the majority of today’s most talented young female artists are emerging from the Anti-Folk scene in New York; however, Ami Saraiya, a Chicago native, represents an anomaly to that notion. Experiencing Saraiya in concert is more than worth it for music lovers in the Midwest. - Frequency Magazine

"Saraiya’s simultaneously smooth and sultry singing voice will tickle your ears and make you giggle just a bit while it tugs at your aural temptress, a siren with a jazz lounge-worthy voice accompanied by piano, guitar, upright bass and plenty more. It's the lovely sounds that emerge from Saraiya herself that grab the listener’s attention first, and then you’re hooked. Give in to Ami, you'll be happier." -Sean at Wounded Jukebox - Wounded Jukebox

If you took Billie Holiday, added a little Lhasa, some Bjork, and a smattering of Tom Waits (just to taste), you’d have a vague idea of what Ami Saraiya’s voice sounds like. It’s full-bodied and playful, edgy and lithe; it roars and growls, belts and thrashes, and, every so often, purrs. It settles on no particular mood for more than a few seconds, continually rousing the ears with its contortionist capabilities….Because of their epic, mythic elements and Saraiya’s conscious tapping of various historical genres (rag-time, jazz, blues, country, Indian folk) at once, her songs radiate with the energy of some treasured long-lost thing rediscovered. Upon first listen, you get the feeling you’ve heard these songs before -- not in their present incarnations, sure, but they resonate somewhere. The exceptional thing is that while they sound familiar, they sound entirely new.

- Coke Machine Glow

"I don’t invoke names like Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday lightly, but I also don’t come across voices anywhere near that caliber very often. You’ve just got to hear Ami Saraiya to believe it. She’s able to pull emotional strings across the musical spectrum: her cabaret is romantic, her blues gritty, and her rock downright sinister. The orchestration is exquisite, with occasional strings, muted trumpet, guitar, and heavy doses of accordion. You can’t help but be swept off your feet by this album." - Jeff Pinzino, Casual Listening - Casual Listening

Ami Saraiya of Radiant Darling has one of those voices that gives you a bit of pause when you first hear it because it seems that so few vocalists truly have that special something that can turn heads on their own. Musically, the group plows their way through everything from eastern-tinged atmospheric chamber pop to jazz and even a dash of Americana, but it's those vocals that truly take it up and over to the next level, making good songs great ones and interesting ones outstanding.

Originally only a duo of Saraiya and Scott Blackburn (guitars and programming), the group expanded to a foursome (as well as other guest appearances from some friends) for Cryptomnesia and now includes multi-instrumentalist Casey Meehan and violinist Savoir Faire. The disc opens with the soft swagger of "The Outcome," and Saraiya belts out a country inspired track backed by brushed drums, subtle bass and acoustic guitar. After the slightly more atmospheric "Familiar," the group really hits their stride with the vibrant "Marmalade," which clicks along with speedy percussive work and horns that give it a soulfull southwestern flavor.

"The Otherside" finds the group touching on acid jazz as traditional instrumentation and vocals gives way to moments of shimmering atmospherics and filtered vocals. The track veers back and forth between almost old time scat jazz and electronic-touched psychedelic stuff fairly deftly, adding another nice layer to the album. They even drop a twisted circus organ freakout with the bizarre "For Mary," as Saraiya sings and howls over instrumentation that sounds like a close cousin to what Tom Waits gruffs over.

Not all of the experiments from the group click on all cylinders, and while "Versadh" starts out with some great eastern Indian-inspired instrumentation and backing vocals, the song never quite pulls together all the different elements. The group is quite good at what they do, and while some of the programming and processing sounds good and adds to songs, sometimes it does sound somewhat out-of-place given the already developed songs. The subtle effects on a track like "Tears" (where elements sometimes start going in reverse) add much more to the release than more obvious vocal filters and other odd inclusions. The gist of Cryptomnesia is that in nine minutes and just under forty minutes you get a couple torch songs, a couple foot stompers, and several genre-benders that all showcase a great little band with a unique and outstanding female singer. - Aaron Coleman, Almost Cool

t's difficult not to compare Radiant Darling to The Arcade Fire, Bjork, or even Squirrel Nut zippers. There are two reasons for this: Ami Saraiya has a torch singer quality reminiscent of both Billie Holliday (in sound and attitude) and Nico (attitude only); and the music is mostly rickety, ethereal, Old World and acoustic. While there's nothing incredibly new on this CD, the exotic South Asian trip-hop beats and Indian chanting on "Versadh" are a nice touch, and Saraiya's voice really does grab the imagination. - karen m.” - Karen M, 75 or Less

"With a sound that’s equal parts Feist, Billie Holiday, post-modern folk, Rufus Wainwright, and 60‘s pop, this album is wildly delightful and full of surprises. With a strong and nuanced voice, Saraiya is able to bring emotion and personality to every phrase, even when the lyrics involve time machines, judgment day, or kisses. Its warm production is heightened by layers of delicate aural pleasures, like subtle background vocals, surf guitars, or ethereal violins or pedal steel guitar. It's all very beautiful, well-crafted, and excellently mixed. Good stuff all around." - Peter Swenson, editor, CD baby - CD baby

"Intriguing, quirky, daring: these are only a few words of many that can describe Ami Saraiya's Archaeologist, an enthralling album.....No track disappoints, each offering its own beautiful surprise, yet what keeps constant throughout the album is Ami Saraiya's easily observed talent and mastery of both singing and orchestration, arguably in the leagues with other female artists such as Regina Spektor and St. Vincent. I de?nitely recommend Archaeologist for its originality and certainly soon-to-be classic sound." read full article by Sam Weber at Album rating 5 out of 5 - WIDB

"Sultry musical temptations shudder and delight throughout this deep and dreamy gypsy diatribe. Buffeted about on lilting waltzes bring forth a grand display of vocal and rhythmic variety from then and now as well as here and there." Andrew Frey, Maximum Ink. Album rating: 9/10 - Maximum Ink

"Saraiya's album Archaeologist proves that she can legitimately shred on the squeezebox while wrapping herself up in sparse, elegant orchestration (saw, sousaphone, muted trumpets, strings) and minor-key hints of Old World atmosphere. Sometimes she manages to push the sound in more unexpected directions, rocking it up with a surly vocal on "Memphis Train" and quietly letting some tension creep into the swooning prettiness of "Up Down & Charmed...." - A.V. Club - The Onion, A.V. Club

"When you deserve comparisons to Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf, you've got something going. This local's a stunner." - Matthew Pais - Chicago Metromix

Ami Saraiya…has an enigmatic and hard to pin down sound, which is alternately sultry and alluring and heartbreakingly sad throughout this impressive album.” - Jim Derogatis, Chicago Sun-Times


Ami Saraiya & The Outcome - self-titled EP 3/2011 (
Ami Saraiya - Archaeologist LP 9/2009(,
Radiant Darling - Cryptomnesia (released on Tense Forms,



There’s drama when Ami Saraiya and her band, The Outcome, take the stage. It’s a darkatmosphere, but it swings baby—a worldly staging of folk punk and jazz cabaret. And amongst the accordion, the violin and the guitars, it’s Ami’s sultry voice that recalls Piaf and Holiday which takes the spotlight. Then, there are the song-stories—often saturnine, often employing magical realism.

In March 2011, Ami presents her next act: A three-song, self-titled EP that previews upcoming material on a full-length album set for a Fall 2011 release. Teaming up again with producer Mark Messing (Mucca Pazza), Ami & The Outcome recorded three songs that breathe drama but don’t choke on it. Together, they craft songs that open wide with theatrical inspiration but never have it come across as forced. Ami and her band are effortless in mixing up genres, contorting and shape-shifting, much like the circus performers that appear in Ami’s songs. “Hanging by a Thread” is a piece of modern cabaret told from the perspective of a circus aerialist, while “Purging Purging” is a firey rave up. The Musette-style waltz of “Cattle Prod Hands,” a dark tale inspired by recent stories of US torture in Iraq, closes out the EP.

Ami is a veteran of the Chicago eclectic and varied music scene—before she released her first solo album, Archeologist, Ami was a member of pop collective Radiant Darling and R&B band Pelvic Delta, and has toured locally and regionally with appearances at The Hideout, The Empty Bottle, Metro and Double Door. A classically-trained pianist and a former music major at Indiana University, Ami also plays accordion and the guitar. Ami performs live with her band, The Outcome, which includes Ben Gray (Mucca Pazza) on drums, Marc Piane on upright bass, Ronnie Kuller (Mucca Pazza) on violin, and Shirley Caen Rogiers on vocals.