The last few years have been something of a slow-burning success story for Sudanese-Scottish artist and songwriter Eliza Shaddad. Through a series of well-received EPs, and her 2018 debut album, Future, Eliza has built a loyal and expanding fan base for her distinctly modern take on the folk-music genre. Along the way, Eliza has found acclaim from both online tastemakers and radio DJs, including the likes of Lauren Laverne, Guy Garvey and Gideon Coe. Eliza is currently building towards the July release of her second album, The Woman You Want and recently shared the latest single from it, The Man I Admire.
Discussing The Man I Admire, Eliza has suggested it is, “a story of a romance amongst the melancholy of modern life”. This feeling is reflected in the lyrics that seem to find Eliza burrowing down while the world around her burns, “oh those demons are really whispering and they don’t seem good for my health and I ain’t in the mood for listening”. Musically, the track arrives on a cyclical guitar part before building around a second guitar that seems to almost mirror the vocal melody. The slowly building layers of melody gradually lift the track, bringing to mind the likes of Laura Marling or the most poppy moments of Joni Mitchell’s back catalogue. The Man I Admire serves as a stunning introduction to Eliza’s album at large, a record that seeks to understand womanhood, the multi-faceted existence of being, “an artist, and independent boss, a daughter, a granddaughter, a friend, a wife”. With the album release looming large and live dates planned before the year is out, 2021 might just be a break-out year for Eliza Shaddad, a unique musical visionary at the start of a very special journey.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Eliza Shaddad?
Hi! I’m a Sudanese-Scottish musician and songwriter, currently based in Cornwall, who studied philosophy and jazz before finding my happy way into a kind of confessional ethereal grunge.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Ha I’m not sure if this counts but the first performance I remember doing was at 8 at school. I’d written an acapella song on the bus rides home about unrequited love and I sung it a school assembly.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I’ve sung since birth pretty much and I think it’s kind of a natural thing at this point. If I’m happy I’m humming or singing, if I’m sad I’m writing – so it makes sense for me:) I love doing other creative bits too but music is the thing I connect with the most.
FTR: What can people expect from the Eliza Shaddad live show?
Raw emotion, huge dynamic shifts, crunched guitars, varied line-ups – I love playing solo and I love playing with a full band, either way it’s usually an intense journey, for me especially ha:)
FTR: What’s next for Eliza Shaddad?
The album comes out on July 16th!! And I’ve had a super special live-stream show in the works for 9 months which is going to be really fun – then, fingers crossed – we’ll get to do some of the planned festivals – and then a bit later in the year – a 12 date UK tour:)
They Listen To…
Sharhabil Ahmed – Argos Farfish
Martha Tilston – Silver Dagger
Hole – Northern Star
Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddamn (Live at Westbury Music Fair)
Kacey Musgraves – Butterflies