Indie rock artist Saidah Baba Talibah, like her mother the legendary Salome Bey, is nearly impossible to tie down into one style or genre. Talibah served with the Canadian Idol Band for three seasons and has recently toured with multi-platinum country artist Johnny Reid as a backup singer. Julie Black and Divine Brown have also benefitted from her background vocals and the singer loves the role.
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.
(S)Cream, her latest album, 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 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.
“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 brings it to listeners in whatever style that song felt like coming out in. She will not be boxed into a category and this switch is not choppy, somehow it just seems natural and makes sense. All of these styles are true to this artist and she fully enjoys each of them. On “High” her voice is gentle and the lyrics are vulnerable, the honesty is felt in this love ballad. The sensual “On My Knees” shows off the strength in her voice – never forced, just real. “Good Morning Baby” reminds one of a Floetry joint that meets with Jill Scott. It is a sensitive song that R&B lovers will call their favorite the moment the first verse is played. “Gettaknowya” is sexy and playful and “No More” touches those that struggle to walk away from a love they know is no good for them only to fall back and start the struggle all over again in the morning. The last track, “Fall Again” has a jazzy feel and shows her incredible control.
Saidah Baba Talibah has a gem of an album on her hands and she is the answer to the question, “Where are today’s true artists?” She was awarded Toronto’s Sound Clash Music Award this summer and the diverse Canadian masses “love it. They get it.” In the US she is “starting from scratch.” It is only a matter of time that her American fan base soars to match her Canadian popularity. If it is, in fact, true music that America is searching for – they only have to look to Saidah Baba Talibah.
Find Saidah on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her website www.sbtmusic.com.