elizashaddad.com/ / Facebook
At present Britain is lucky enough to be graced with a healthy number of talented singer/songwriters that with varying degrees of success (the pinnacle currently being a certain Ms Marling) ply their trade where maybe ten, fifteen years ago there wasn't such a market. Despite its many pitfalls when it comes to musical sharing, one thing no one can deny is the Internet allows an increasing number of artists to reach an audience that traditional methods of releasing and gigging would not, for example Google stats tell me this blogs third most popular country in terms of audience is Germany, with Ukraine and Japan also in the top ten. Would fifteen years ago a guy from Staffordshire living near London get to hear a Scottish / Sudanese singer/songwriter whose likewise made the trip to London? I don't know, what I do know is I came across Eliza Shaddad a few weeks ago and was immediately spellbound by her debut four track EP, 'January ~ March'
Eliza writes beautiful songs with really thoughtful, honest lyrics and sings them with a graceful and warm simplicity, backed on the whole by her own delicately plucked guitar the EP is understated, heart-felt and one hundred percent captivating. It's hard to pick a favourite, the third track "From The Boat" is possibly it. Stripped-back and bare-boned, where a gently plucked circling acoustic melody provides the subtle platform for Eliza's smooth tones to steal your heart, clean and natural it enthrals from the outset and by its conclusion you're likely rendered speechless.
"Seven" weaves its own spell, a dense web of poetic, story-telling lyrics which display style, vulnerability and contemplation and the darker "Brackets" which provides a show-stopping conclusion, it ebbs and flows with intricate guitar melodies which suddenly ignite with bursts of sharp, dramatic increases in intensity and drums. Though, it's Eliza's rich and commanding voice you remember the longest. If you still need proof as to her vocal ability, listen to the 'hidden' final track on the EP, a haunting acapella track that sends shivers down your spine.
'January ~ March' came out towards the end of last month and can be purchased digitally via bandcamp now with a lovely cardboard digipack CD available of shows... and speaking of shows, the cherry on the cake for me at the least is the news that Eliza will play for one of my Beautiful Strange nights, on May 4th at The Gallery Cafe's gorgeous Chapel Room (watch this video for a glimpse at just how wonderful it is).
Full details of the evening will be announced very soon over here: beautifulstrangepresents.tumblr.com/, put it in your diary, it promises to be a special, special evening.