INTERVIEW: Saidah Baba Talibah

by Gregorio Vincent

Saidah Baba Talibah has started a revolution. The Toronto rock soul songstress had her recent single placed in a Chevy Volt commerical, bringing her voice to the masses and people are starting to take notice. The daughter of Tony and Grammy nominated jazz/blues singer, Salome Bey, Saidah continues her family’s artistic legacy while offering the people a piece of her soul within her music. In this interview with the Couch Sessions, Saidah talks her family, Toronto’s pipeline of great artists, and “raunchy soul”.

The Couch Sessions: Hey Saidah. How have you been?

I’m good. We just had Canada Day. It’s independence day for Canada so there’s of course BBQs and parties. I performed in front of 20,000 people outdoors and with fireworks afterwards. It was a lot of fun.

The Couch Sessions: That sounds awesome. How was it growing up in a musically gifted family? 

Hmm well it was very nuturing. Also there was sometimes pressure because they’re so gifted. You ask yourself ‘Do I measure up?’. I was trying to find my own voice within the heavy weights. My uncle’s a grammy nominated singer as well and my cousins were tearing up the stages on Broadway so it was a hard act to follow.

The Couch Sessions: Wow I had no idea who talented your family is. What made you consider a career in music?

I don’t think I considered anything but music. I was surrounded by it and inspired by it. It was music, dancing, painting; everything.I thought about being a doctor, but i didn’t want to do it. Since I came from a such an artistic family, there was no question that I was going into this industry. If I told my family that I wanted to be a doctor, they would have been confused.

The Couch Sessions: Ha ha, I know what you mean. With the rise stars from Toronto like Drake and the Weeknd, do you feel that it’s Toronto’s time to shine?

I do, I do and little does the world there’s a heck alot of good shit in Toronto. Melanie Fiona is from Toronto and also Deborah Cox. That’s only scratching the surface. There’s so much music in Toronto; the city’s bubbling. It’s really cool that Drake has shined a huge light on Tornoto. Especially when it comes to Americans, I ve spent alot of time down there and I’ve ran in to people and they’re like ‘Where’s Toronto?’. Now their like ‘Oh, that’s where Drake comes from’.

The Couch Sessions: Ha I guess our education system is failing us in teaching geography. Let’s talk about “Revolution”. Watching the video I loved the imagery, the people, and the message. What inspired you to write it?

It was written with a couple of guys. It was being pitched to Chevy. It got picked up and we decided to finish the song. That’s how it came out and just that alone is very revolutionary. To write a song like that, it can be dropped into any situation in the world. With the commercial, it was simply about putting a face or name to the voice.

The Couch Sessions: So at the Couch Sessions we like to feature artists who don’t fit in any particular box or category, how would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard of you?

I like the term raunchy soul.

The Couch Sessions: Oh wow thats a new one.

It gives some edge to the soul. I’m not smoothed out at all. I like to keep it raunchy, hard edged , rough around the edges, spread my legs, and growl .

The Couch Sessions: Ha ha nice. Finally, when will we hear your next project?

The new album has an open ended timeline right now; we’re just feeling it out. It will be titled Red, Black and Blue and should be released some time next year.