Saidah Baba Talibah
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Saidah Baba Talibah

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Soul





Here is a link to press clippings PDF - CLK Creative Works

"Localiez Magazine"

August 2012 - (Page 17) Saidah Baba Talibah join the revolution S aidah Baba Talibah has brought upon Toronto a fiery musical insurrection. This badass ...
- Localiez Magazine

"Saidah Baba Talibah Wakes up the Genre with a (S)cream"

Saidah Baba Talibah (twitter/facebook) has released the video to her single (S)Cream. Which is also the name of her debut album, that was released two weeks ago. She brings a welcome change, and realness to the genre. She is an artist that uses real instruments to compliment her infinitely ranged voice. The reason that I say that she wakes up the genre, is that she isn’t afraid of the electric guitar. For some reason, if we hear an electric guitar we are turned off. If you do that, in this case, then you are really missing out on what she has to share with you.
The range in her talent can be really realized, when looking at the power of “(S)Cream”, then the subtleness of “High”, and finally the warm and inviting “”Good Morning Baby”. Again, don’t be afraid of real instruments, and miss something great. Let Saidah Baba Talibah be your guide to this new world. As I listen to her music, her album is hooking me with each song. It’s like getting a little sweet in one bite, and a little spicy in the next. -

"(S)Cream Review"

One of the biggest problems in the music scene today is that most artists are afraid to take chances, musically speaking. Most keep themselves straight-jacketed in their respective genres, whether it's jazz (usually smooth), rock, or neo-soul (rarely pure soul).

That is not the case, however, for Saidah Baba Talibah. The Toronto native isn't afraid to "go there", musically, incorporating multiple genres, including rock, classical, jazz, soul and funk to make music that you can see, touch, feel, and taste as well as hear. Music so pleasing to the five senses is a rarity in today's music world, so when you hear it, you really hear it. Saidah's album, "(S)cream", set to be released August 2nd, draws you in, but you have to stretch out and tap into your inner rock side to gain entrance.

The first three songs on the album, the title track, "Bang It Back", and "So Cool", dive deep into rock, but in uniquely different ways. On all three songs, Saidah is cleverly, racy, suggestive and saucy, teasing you with tantalizing lyrics that can easily have dual metaphoric meanings. "(S)cream is a racy tune where Saidah draws you in her rock world, bringing heavy guitars and live bass drums, but with a groovy feel. "Bang It Back" is a mid-tempo hard rock tune that touches on funk, while "So Cool" puts rock/funk in it's proper perspective.

And then Saidah turns the corner. "High" gives you a rock intro, and then travels into organic soul, complete with changes in tone and texture, leading you into the beginnings of symphonic soul. "On My Knees" is a rhythm rock tune that would make bands like the Doobie Brothers and Credence Clearwater Revival proud. "Good Morning Baby" is a mellow and deep and soulful song that touches your inner being.

And then Saidah shifts gears, yet again, going into some P-Funk stylings with "Do It". "gittaknowya" is a supple, mellow tune that paints beautiful pictures, retro-nouveau style. "Place Called Grace" is a funky rock & soul with a 60's Motown twist. "No More" is pure live, unmitigated soul. "Fall Again" gets all early 70's Funkadelic on you, with changes of pace and beat, that takes you on a funky ride.

The daughter of Tony and Grammy-nominated jazz/blues singer and actress Salome Bey and the niece of Grammy-nominated musician Andy Bey, Saidah Baba Talibah has kept quality music in the family, and carved her own path in the process. "(S)cream takes you places that some might not be comfortable going in the beginning, but they'll find their groove as the album goes on. Saidah has a bit of something for everyone, and lovers of good, good music will embrace this album, if not initially, then ultimately. -

"Bounce-Worthy: Saidah Baba Talibah"

While I usually like my soul music smooth and sensual, sometimes you need something rawer, edgier...different. If that's what your ears have been missing, then get to know Saidah Baba Talibah, the Toronto-born songstress who effortlessly straddles the genres of soul, funk, and rock, incorporating everything in between. Growing up as the daughter of GRAMMY and Tony nominated jazz/blues singer Salome Bey and the niece of GRAMMY nominated musician Andy Bey gave Saidah the confidence and drive to step out on her own and forge a solo career. In addition to providing backing vocals for Canadian R&B stars Jully Black and Divine Brown, Saidah has self-released a critically acclaimed EP, The Phone Demos, and has funded her upcoming album, (S)Cream, via a Kickstarter-like campaign where fans could back the project with cash donations. Critics have described Saidah as Erykah Badu meets Living Color and she cites Betty Davis, Chaka Khan, Minnie Riperton, and Steely Dan (as well as her mother) as influences, so that goes some way to giving an insight into what you can expect on (S)Cream. However the music speaks for itself so jump into "Place Called Grace" below (which you can grab for free here), and then make sure you check out the video for the album's title track after the bounce, which is one not to miss. -

"Dawson’s Peek: Saidah Baba Talibah ‘(S)Cream’"

It was three months ago that we introduced you to Saidah Baba Talibah, giving you a sneak peek of her upcoming Last Gang Label/Universal project, (S)Cream, which will be available on August 2nd.

To get you prepared for the Canadian sensation’s drop date, the official video for “(S)Cream” is ready for your viewing pleasure. In the clip, Talibah, who’s been categorized as “Living Colour-meets-Erykah Badu,” gives you a taste of what to expect from the project, delivering high-octane vocals while flaunting her sexy, adventurous side.

Director Maya Bastian does a great job capturing the essence of Saidah, using the universe as a backdrop, while focusing intently on the singer’s eyes and lips. Those features show the sexy side and help you focus on each lyric as they’re delivered, while the almost four minute long interaction with a snake (YES. A snake. On her FACE!) is an edgy visual that would make most folks want to (s)cream. Heh.

It also lets you know that with Saidah, anything–and everything–is fair game.

That’s what you should know about the artist, who describes her sound as a “collection of dreams, daydreams and realities.” That anything is possible. That sometimes, it’s more than OK to scream into the universe. Take control.

After the jump, check the clip and prepare yourself for all that Saidah Baba Talibah has to offer. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did. Enjoy.
- Dawsonink

"Saidah Baba Talibah, Delivering Real Music With a New Brand of Raunchy Soul"

When a writer puts pen to paper and gets lost in the picture she is attempting to create, this is obviously a problem for the writer. It speaks volumes about the artist being profiled. While there are terms available to introduce an artist to the audience, none seem sufficient when discussing indie rock artist Saidah Baba Talibah.

She has great depth and has allowed life experiences to guide her through her journey, even the hard ones. She is accomplishing all of her dreams while working through the slipping away of one dear member of her family of musicians. Her mother, the legendary Salome Bey, is suffering from dementia. On her website,, she writes of the journal her mother kept that she has used to stay connected to the woman that she once was, and in some ways, still is. “It’s not easy to watch my mom in the state that she’s in. Saidah has to remind herself that, “this is what I do”, and it is what her mother wants her to do. “But it’s hard”, she says. Like Bey, it is almost impossible to tie Talibah down to one style or genre. She has always known she was meant to perform. Since she began walking she has been blessing others with her voice, which is simply amazing. There is nothing else that could be called simple or straightforward when it comes to the singer-songwriter. It seems that there is not a move that she has made that has not been deliberate; everything seems to mean something, even her name. Her first name means happy and fortunate, Baba means born on Thursday, and Talibah means seeker after knowledge.


The artist thought on a higher wavelength when financing her latest work, “(S)Cream”. The “Make Me Wanna (S)Cream” campaign allowed fans to put their money where their “like” buttons were by investing in the project. These supporters were, in turn, rewarded with unique gifts, pampering, and the knowledge that they were a part of the Saidah Baba Talibah movement.

Talibah’s talent is not limited to making music. She is a trained dancer who has been a part of Showboat, Ragtime, and others in the theater. Saidah was also a member of the Canadian Idol Band for three seasons. The experience, “was great training ground”, says Talibah who worked hard learning new songs each week. She has been touring recently as a background singer for multi-platinum country artist Johnny Reid. Julie Black and Divine Brown have also benefitted from her background vocals and the singer loves the role.

Saidah loves rock, soul, and, “everything, including country.” Chaka Khan, Pink Floyd, Bjork, Radiohead, Dead Weather, Jamie Lidell, and Chicago’s Pelican are all influences on her as an artist. This diverse group obviously contributes to her unique style. As a solo artist, she is comfortable in her own skin and has a strength that gives a feeling of calming serenity when she is in the driver’s seat taking audiences through the stories of her ballads. She then puts the performance in their laps as she ramps up the energy, bursting into pure rock. She connects with audiences and rocks them out, bringing them to their feet.

Her costumes range from simple to elaborate, all fitting her style perfectly. As a musician she focuses on each part of the music as it comes together. At times her face shows the awareness of each instrument as it joins in, her arms spread wide, and her body moves with the music. She truly appreciates each part of the work.

(S)Cream was released at the beginning of August and has been making quite a splash. It features eleven songs, including the title track which has an electrifying video directed by Maya Bastian. The visual effects compliment the song and the star teases viewers with her striking eyes as a snake trails her face. The lyrics speak of a lovers touch as it makes her “mountains reach their peak” as her “earth gets a sticky dew”. This is a grown up song from a strong, grown woman whose delivery is raw and ethereal. Real music is what this album delivers. The voice is true and accompanied by a sousaphone, string quartet, horns, guitar, and keyboards. She calls her work a “soul rockestra” and her style “raunchy soul”. And there is no better way to describe either.

If we can classify the work as we walk through it let us start with the tracks that lean to the rock side. “Bang it Back” starts off as clearly a rock song and shows off a deep and guttural sound to her voice. In “Place Called Grace” she takes on the role of storyteller to a rock-soul beat. “Do It” is a rock-funk song that is a throwback, sure to please a variety of audiences. In “So Cool” Talibah’s energy is on display and it gives you a good idea of what her show is all about.

As we venture over to the rhythm and blues side it is apparent that this artist is a rare find. She takes on what she feels and brin - Houston Examiner

"Saidah Baba Talibah Talks the Long Road to '(S)Cream'"

For her keenly anticipated full-length debut album, Saidah Baba Talibah comes out kicking and (S)Creaming. The Toronto-based rock/soul songstress released (S)Cream this week on noted Canadian independent label Last Gang, home of the likes of Metric, Death From Above 1979, and Chromeo.

As Talibah recently explained to Exclaim!, she is quite comfortable being on a label best known for its rock acts. "That is the kind of audience I like to be part of," she says in an interview. "I don't necessarily fit the mould, but I can rock with them. I just do what I do."

Talibah had actually completed the album prior to signing the record deal. To fund its making, she followed the increasingly popular route of asking friends and fans to invest.

"I had no clue who was going to buy into it," she recalls. "It is a shot in the dark, a risk. What if no one bites and it's 'I stink!' but I got so much support and excitement from people. There were people from the States and Europe I don't know buying into it. They hadn't seen me live. Then there were others here who knew me but had never seen me play either, and they invested just as blindly. The response was really heart-warming."

The album certainly defies easy genre classification. Its songs range from raunchy and funk-inflected rock to soulful ballads, and Talibah is committed to stylistic diversity.

"I wanted to make sure the record had a lot of what I think I am on there, and what a lot of people are. They have those lustful thoughts and actions, but there is also that tender side to people. We're not all one-dimensional, and those different things dictate how the music will sound, to me anyway."

The choice of Michael Johnston as co-producer on (S)Cream is a left-field one, given that Johnston is a roots-oriented singer-songwriter (and a member of the Skydiggers). He tells Exclaim! that the pair met at Toronto club Lula Lounge in 2007, as part off a one-off band termed Sweet Sangria Orchestra.

"Our first meeting was grounded in musical discovery, and we set off to writing new songs, as well as polishing some older material she'd written," Johnston says. "We spent many mornings writing songs, listening to Minnie Riperton and Owen Pallett, talking through arrangements, and becoming friends.

"In some ways, my job producing Saidah was a cross between being one part copy editor, and one part Tony Robbins. Over time I've learned that the very best singers -- and I consider Saidah to be one of them -- can be so hard on themselves."

Talibah adds, "When I was writing with Michael, it felt just so easy to be myself. I didn't feel I had to fit into anything, so that is largely why I approached him to co-produce. He gave me the freedom to make a lot of decisions so it felt like I was producing myself."

The bulk of the album was recorded at Canterbury Music Company in Toronto, with a live-off-the-floor approach. "Most of the time we did it piece by piece," recalls Talibah. "But I like the human contact, knowing there are people there and at work, playing off each other. I thought it'd be awesome to do it live off the floor, then whatever we needed to fix we'd fix. It was organic and real. I'm not a perfect person, so I wouldn't want my music to sound pristine. Auto-Tune would sound foreign to me, as I've spent so much time getting used to my own voice. To put a mask on top, that's not me."

A large supporting cast contributed to the album, including members of her powerhouse band. Fiery lead guitarist Donna Grantis is a key contributor, with most of the songs on (S)Cream being Talibah/Grantis co-writes. Sousaphone player Rob Teehan is an integral part of her live band and is featured prominently on the disc (Saidah recently contributed a guest vocal on "Rock Me," a tune on Don't Bring Me Down, the imminent debut CD of Teehan's band, the Heavyweights Brass Band). Other musicians featured include drummer Roger Travassos (Jacksoul) and pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo.

Some of the material on (S)Cream surfaced earlier on Talibah's 2009 EP, The Phone Demos. Literally recorded on her cellphone, these songs were presented in very rough early form. "It's something for people to take home and get to know the raw beginnings of the songs," she explained at the time. "It's important to me that listeners are privy to that journey."

Talibah is also an accomplished dancer and actress in such productions as Showboat and The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God, but it was likely inevitable that she would pursue music, the family business. She is the daughter of legendary Canadian jazz/blues singer/actress Salome Bey, while her uncle, Andy Bey, is a Grammy-nominated American jazz vocalist. Talibah performed with her mother from a young age, even appearing at Massey Hall at age six.

"I had no time to get stage fright," says Talibah. "This is something I was born into. I was rolling a -

"Disc of the Week"

There's something refreshingly out of fashion about Toronto soul-rock diva Saidah Baba Talibah. While her take on R&B is steeped in the roots of the genre, she’s not stuck in that 60s throwback sound so many have mined since Amy Winehouse struck gold with the formula. Instead, she has more in common with the psychedelic hard rock tangents groups like Labelle explored in the 70s. But even they didn’t think to replace funky bass guitar with pumping sousaphone, one of the many small touches that make (S)Cream both alien and familiar.

Talibah is the daughter of jazz and blues legend Salome Bey, and has the pipes to match her lineage. She brings to mind a less ?tortured Mary J. Blige, while her backing band is as likely to slide into a shredding guitar solo as a slinky funk groove. Those wailing guitar heroics (courtesy of Donna Grantis) seem odd at first, but who says you can’t combine head-banging with hip-swinging?

Top track: Place Called Grace - NOW Magazine

"Fans Help Saidah Baba Talibah Phone Home"


"An Interview with Saidah Baba Talibah"

"Talibah phones home"

There’s a high probability that you’ve already heard Saidah Baba Talibah sing and didn’t know it. The Toronto soul singer (and daughter of Canadian jazz and blues icon Salome Bey) has belted backing vocals for everyone from Maestro Fresh Wes to country singer Johnny Reid, and even put in three seasons with the Canadian Idol band. Her impressive resumé makes it all the more surprising that it’s only recently that she’s begun to focus on her own solo material.

“I’m a perfectionist, and I had to get over the voices in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough. Standing on the same stages and being in the same career as my mother and uncle (pianist Andy Bey) and being compared to them was intimidating.”

She did manage to partially let go of that perfectionism last fall when she released The Phone Demos. As the title suggests, it’s a collection of recordings made on her cellphone, documenting songwriting sessions with her guitarist, Donna Grantis. The no-fidelity tracks sound like 1920s field recordings made using decidedly 21st-century techniques, and are way more listenable than they have any right to be.

“They are beautifully imperfect, and I was ready to embrace the flaws as a kind of perfection. Along with being a perfectionist, I’ll also try anything once. Sometimes I’ll just jump and see what happens. If I hit my head, then I’m not going to do that shit again.”

She’s hasn’t forgotten about traditional recording, though, and is close to finishing her proper debut in more conventional studio settings. That said, her band definitely doesn’t have your typical lineup. As you’ll hear when she plays Harbourfront’s Kuumba Festival on Saturday (February 6), she’s replaced the usual bass guitar with tuba, and takes risks like arranging blues tunes around a cello. She’s also taking an unorthodox approach to funding the album, letting fans invest in it through pre-purchasing. For a larger investment, she’ll even prepare you a raw vegan meal, perform a private dinner concert and bring along a burlesque dancer.

“Nobody has taken me up on that yet, but I did get someone who wants me to record their favourite song, which will be interesting. I still haven’t found out what the song is.”

By Benjamin Boles - Now Magazine - Feb/2010

"Sultry sounds of Saidah Baba Talibah,"

Q: First, I would like to say thank you for giving us this opportunity for
us to interview you. Can you tell Stilo a little about yourselves?
A: My name is Saidah Baba Talibah. Saidah (Sa-EE-dah) means
happy and fortunate. Baba means born on Thursday (which I was).
And Talibah (Ta-LEE-bah) means seeker after knowledge or student. I
was born with this name. My grandfather on my mother’s side was
Muslim, so that’s how I got the Muslim/Arabic names. Much of my
family (as you’ll see in the answer to the next question) is in the arts.
I went to a school for the arts as a dance major, although lately I’ve
been focusing heavily on music.
Q: What attracted you to music?
A: My mother, Salome Bey, she is a singer herself. But many creative
people surround me in my family. My uncle (Andy Bey), aunt (Geraldine
de Haas), my cousins (Aisha & Darius de Haas, Ronnell Bey,
Marven Jefferson, Cara Page, Denese Matthews) and my sister (Tuku
Q: How long have you been a songwriter and a musician?
A: As I said, music has been a part of my life since before birth. It’s
like being born into a family of doctors. I’ve been writing and creating
music since I was little, but I really only started to take myself seriously
a little over 10 years ago.
Q: What is your greatest source of inspiration, when writing your
A: Life is my greatest inspiration – everything all around.
Q: Which is your favorite, Writing or Performing?
A: The whole process of creating something new is beautiful and exciting,
but I ADORE being onstage, so I’ll say performing. It’s all about
the collective energy shared between my band and the audience and
then the fact that performing affords you the opportunity to interact with
different energies, so it makes for a whole new and fresh experience.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Toronto, Canada
Q: Do you feel that your culture has had an effect on your music?
A: Most definitely my culture has an effect on my music, because my
culture is part of my life experience, so that will dictate what I want my
music to feel like, sound like, taste like and smell like. This is my culture
coming from Canada as a child of an American mother and a West
Indian father, but the West Indian father came to Canada (from St. Kitts)
when he was eleven, so that is my culture. It is a mish-mash of many
different elements.
Q: What are the Phone Demos and when is it coming out?
A: The Phone Demos are out now and available wherever you can
buy music digitally/online. The Phone Demos are simply demos I
recorded on my cell phone. I was in a songwriting session with my
guitarist, Donna Grantis, and we had no means of documenting/demoing
the ideas for the songs that we were in the process of writing,so I just recorded it on my phone. I ended up uploading one song to
myspace, and played it for a bunch of people and the songs, sound
quality and vibe were all met with intrigue and positive feedback, so I
decided to release them.
Q: When are we going to see a video from SAIDAH?
A: Well, I’m in the midst of completing a few videos for The Phone
Demos, sometime within the next few months and spring.
Q: Are you signed to a label? If yes, how is it going? If no, what are
your plans around that?
The only label that applies to me right now is DIY (Do It Yourself), so
no; I’m not on a label. In fact, I’ve chosen the route of fan funding my
album – you can go to -- basically,
I’ve set up a loyalty support program where people can pre-purchase
the album and in turn every dollar goes towards finishing the album.
There are nine different tiers and the more you give, the more gifts you
get for helping to make this album (ie. exclusive t-shirts, posters, buttons,
autographed pictures, living room concert, dinner, etc;)
Q: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
A: In five years, I see myself having finished at least a second album,
possibly onto a third – touring A LOT all over the world. I see myself
possibly having moved from Toronto to somewhere else in the world,
either the States or Europe.
Q: What is the plan for 2010?
A: The plan is to finish and release the album, (S)Cream, tour it and
create a profile on the world’s stages.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish as a musician?
A: Longevity, Loyalty, Growth and Respect.
Q: What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
A: My greatest accomplishment so far is simply putting one foot in front
of the other, taking the steps towards my dreams, every one of them.
Q: Who is your role model, how have they influenced your decisions
in your life?
A: My parents were my biggest role models; they shaped what influenced
me in music and life. They allowed me many different life
experiences in the comfort of my own home and outside of it as well.
I was and still am, a very observant person, so I saw a lot, took note,
followed suit or didn’t, but in the end, I had them to give me everything
I ever wante - Stilo Magazine

"Fans show ’em the money"

As we brace ourselves for the 2010s, the music industry’s future — one unsettled during this decade with illegal file sharing — is experiencing a bit of nostalgia.

The Times recently buzzed about the single’s resurgence, since we’re all shopping for individual .99 cent iTunes tracks that we’ll more or less blast on our smartphones.

But we still take music for granted as free, and — like it or not — our favourite musicians continue to get caught out in the cold, trying to spare a dime. Yet, just as musicians were the first to feel online’s free culture — remember Napster? — they’ve also found a new way to pay for their craft: fan funding.

As more musicians break away from record labels, they’re increasingly appealing to loyal fans to support their touring, recording and promotions. The incentive? Fans’ donations follow an online tiered system that grants an immersive experience: autographs, sitting in on recording sessions, and even having a say on what makes it onto an album.

Take Saidah Baba Talibah. The Canadian singer/songwriter has sung backup on Canadian Idol and for artists like Tom Jones and Enrique Iglesias, and while she’s a critical favourite, mainstream success and major label support have so far eluded her.

Until now: In October, Talibah digitally released The Phone Demos. The EP is the basis for a comprehensive strategy to encourage the fan-funding of her spring 2010 album, S(C)ream.

“I noticed that a lot of people in the folk and songwriting communities really called on their supporters to help get stuff done, be it recordings or even touring across the States or Canada,” Talibah says about her strategy.

“It’s so important for artists to have a connection to their supporters and to the world, on their own terms.”

Talibah has the usual Facebook/MySpace/Twitter set-up to help promote her musi, but she’s exposing S(C)ream’s process in the hopes it’ll bring fans close enough to donate money to help cover the album’s recording and rehearsal costs. Her strategy (at just $15, you get a signed CD and private concert invite) has been incorporated into the videos and live photos she regularly posts online.

Some have been critical: In a Boston Globe piece on the subject, Dave Kusek, vice-president of Berklee College of Music, has noted the danger of not delivering what fans want. “They’re effectively loaning you money in the hopes that they’ll get something in return. So if you don’t come through, you’re running the risk of alienating your fans and eliminating those relationships.”

Talibah feels she’s still getting something out of fan-funding: A better understanding of her audience, and exposing her fans to making an album.

by Rea McNamara - Metro News


Saidah Baba Talibah was born to be a performer. Her style and presence emanates from her entire being. I met her at a Danforth coffee shop on a beautiful evening to discuss her art, inspiration and her latest album, RedBlack&Blue. I was immediately struck by her beauty and fantastically theatrical outfit: short shorts, high boots, and a top hat. In this little café, the ensemble could be considered over-the-top on anyone else except Saidah.

Singing is in her blood: her mother was “Canada’s First Lady of Blues” Salome Bey, the legendary songstress who managed to grab a Grammy and Tony award nomination. Her aunt, uncle, cousins and sister are also vocalists. So, music was simply a way of life. Surrounded by music since the womb, it seems almost inevitable that she should inherit the gift of song; and where many people train throughout their childhood and youth only to face years and years of struggle before they get their first break, Saidah was professionally performing theatre.

She’s sung alongside legends Skunk Anansie and Bootsy Collins (my personal punk and funk heroes, respectively) and has travelled all over the world, performing her unique blend of rock, soul, and blues. Now, Saidah is set to release her second album, RedBlack&Blue, a follow up to her debut (S)cream. The album was financed through the crowdsourcing platform for musicians called PledgeMusic.

When asked about the significance of her album title, Saidah tells me that the three colours are representative of her mother, sister and daughter, under the spiritual guidance of her totem animals: The Robin Red Breast, the Black Panther, and the Blue Morpho Butterfly. Totem animals represent different aspects of a person’s being and help guide them through whatever comes their way in life. Just from sitting with Saidah, I can see these three animals reflected in her essence: the persistence of the robin, the sleek and subtle strength of the panther, and the grace of the butterfly – which can also describe her new album (just listen to the recently released single High on YouTube).

PRODUCT Toronto Issue 10 (28)

While Saidah may have met her PledgeMusic goal, you can still contribute and receive perks such as the RedBlack&Blue album itself, merchandise, and more. You may very well be contributing to the making of another Canadian legend, and 10% of money raised above and beyond the goal goes to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Visit PledgeMusic to see how you can get involved. - Product Magazine

"Red Black and Blue"

On a hot summer day at a studio in Toronto, Saidah Baba Talibah is getting her makeup done, clad in garments by American Retro and rocking Chanel combat boots. Her manager, David ‘Click’ Cox, sits nearby and is responding to an email.

“Would your mom be pissed if someone called her a blues singer?” he asks.

The content is for a book about blues. Talibah isn’t having it.

“I wish my mom could talk right now. She’s not just a blues singer, she’s not just a jazz singer…”

Rather than succumbing to a sole label, the multi-instrumentalist, whose main tool is her voice, prefers to omit the word ‘genre’ from her vocabulary. Born and raised in Toronto, Talibah is one of the city’s most polytropic artists. She leaves eardrums ringing, wanting more, with an idiosyncratic mix of edgy, raunchy soul, but will always be the daughter of Salome Bey – “Canada’s First Lady of Blues.”

From being the frontwoman of 90s metal band Blaxam to her Chevy commercial hit, “Revolution,” Talibah believes that “whatever touches us, resonates with us,” regardless of chord and verse.

“We don’t listen to one type of music because those genres would not thrive. But because we are humans, we have to see certain colours or touch before we taste. That’s human nature, but if you don’t like it, keep it moving.”

Talibah is doing just that. Her next record is all about “finding your place, finding your voice and speaking your truth.” RedBlack&Blue, scheduled for release in 2014, is a sonic memoir of familial connection. The album’s concept is shaped by the influence of three women: Talibah’s mother, sister and daughter; and three animals: the red robin, Black Panther and blue butterfly. What the vocalist initially called a “crazy idea,” the animals aren’t necessarily symbolic of three people, and the context is neither good nor bad.

“It’s how they’ve influenced and inspired my life and how I have moved from that,” she says. “We are all dealing with different kinds of adversities and it’s about how we get through them.”

The greatest challenge in Talibah’s life now is witnessing her mother live with dementia. Although Bey’s struggle has been an emotional journey, the singer believes that compressing inner battles isn’t a way to gain support and grow. For when she encounters rough waters, that’s when she finds clarity to write a good song.

But Talibah witnesses Bey on good days, too. The songstress that once belted “I Never Knew” can sing and groove when she’s present. This has taught her daughter the art of patience and gratitude.

“I miss my mother and miss spending time with her,” Talibah says, wiping water from her eyes. “I am learning to appreciate each moment as it comes as opposed to just taking it for granted because you can’t get it back.

When Talibah found out that her mother also had epilepsy, she was told to keep it on the down low. But the constant oppression of bottled-up frustration made her realize that RedBlack&Blue required the opposite. Hesitant to begin the project of raw, vocal expression, she valiantly decided to take the first step by discussing the issue openly in a status update on Facebook.

She pressed enter. Tears flowed. People responded.

“That’s when you figure out that there’s a thread that connects all of us. We all have to know that there is support.”

On the morning of the shoot, she walked by a homeless man asking for money, and realized: “How many emotions must you go through before you get to a place where you’re standing on a corner asking for help?” The artist now finds herself in his shoes, seeking the support of her fans to produce her next album.

RedBlack&Blue is funded by Pledge Music, a “direct-to-fan” project that assists the artist in creating the record while providing audiences with exclusive content. Talibah’s audience will choose up to six songs from three EPs – Red, Black and Blue – which will be narrowed down to 10 tracks for the final production.

(S)Cream, Talibah’s debut record, was also released through crowd funding. She has complete faith that RedBlack&Blue will be just as successful, if not more, as she reciprocates the support to a cause close to her heart

The artist will donate 10 per cent of the money raised to The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada. Talibah likes the format of Pledge Music because it shows a percentage, rather than a dollar, which “gives a sense of being a part of a big picture.” Currently over quota, things are looking pretty good.

The search won’t be over, even after the album is released. With a surname that means “seeker of knowledge,” Talibah lives up to her name in all aspects of life and is guided by her craft.

“It’s the ability to bring a sense of unconditional love to the surface,” her voice says with vigor. “That’s what I am seeking through music; talking with and connecting to people.”


This piece was first published in the Fall 2013 issue of CHLOE Magazine - Chloe Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



Theres Rock n Roll. And then theres the Rock n Soul of buzzy Toronto-bred vocalist Saidah Baba Talibah, daughter of Tony and Grammy Award-nominated icon Salome Bey, Canadas First Lady of Blues.Strong bloodline notwithstanding, Saidah is a fierce artist that isn't afraid to combine rock/funk/soul in all of her performances!

Want proof? In 2011, riding the critical acclaim of her debut album (S)cream, a seamless blend of rock, blues and raunchy soul, Saidah won Torontos inaugural Soundclash Music Award handily defeating 300+ other city-wide independent bands, across genres, based on pure talent pocketing $5000 in cash. Securing key local live dates supporting Little Dragon, to nailing a noteworthy support slot with fellow otherworldly musical talents like Bootsy Collins (Parliament-Funkadelic) at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival worked to cement her local legend and international music industry types are taking notice.

After being handpicked as one of the best new Canadian acts to showcase for Asian music executives at Music Matters in Singapore, showcasing at MIDEM (Cannes), snagging a slew of prestigious music festival bookings from Trans Musicale (France) and Reeperbahn (Germany), all the way to Afro Punk (USA), its clear that while her early musical output is ahead of its time, she is looking to command respect today.

With a Grammy-nominated uncle (Andy Bey) who was once cited by John Coltrane as being his favorite vocalist, producing unoriginal vocal music and lackluster live shows that lack high artistic integrity was just never an option in her mind. Whether channelling a new school Betty Davis 2.0, or conjuring up images of high wire, genre-defying acts like George Clinton or Fishbone, Saidahs penchant for producing live concert experiences that are both raw and real typically provoke a WTF (What The Funk) reaction like most good art should.

While (S)creams artsy and accessible musical template got you High, took you to a Place Called Grace, and made you wanna(S)cream right after you moaned Good Morning Baby, Saidahs much talked about follow-up 2012 digital single Revolution (as heard in the 2012 Chevrolet Volt commercial) is a song recorded to keep her hardcore faithful happy as she works towards completing her sophomore full length concept album steeped in blues-rock sounds, slated for an early to mid 2013 release.

Saidah is now known as a rare breed of crossover performer whose music, much like songs on your iPod playlist, could simultaneously play to alternative music lovers, across genres. Not a surprise, given that her musical hybridity was formed in Toronto, arguably the most multicultural city on the planet. I growl. I purr. I go to pretty places, harder places and naked places in my music, she says embracing such contradictions. I wish you joy, despair, heartbreak, inspiration and to be turned on.

Boasting striking good looks, sartorial splendor (just google her), and a flamboyant image that actually matches her talent, whether in the studio, or live on stage, Saidah marches to the beat of her own drummer. Her preternatural punk attitude, which has seen her recording songs on her smart phone for The Phone Demos 2009 pre-release, to championing a raw vegan / healthy food lifestyle, the sky is her limit. Forward thinking, but rooted in old school sensibilities gleaned from her Grammy Award-aligned lineage, Saidah produces hard rocking outsider music, with insider charm. And if theres one thing you can say about Saidah theres no other musician that sounds, looks or feels like her.

There's something refreshingly out of fashion about Toronto soul-rock diva Saidah Baba Talibah.
4 / 5 **** Now Magazine, Canada's largest weekly newspaper

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