Scottish-Sudanese singer-songwriter Eliza Shaddad is known for her experimental folk. She honed her skills as a street busker and solo performer in London. She gained notoriety for her work singing with the electronic outfit Clean Bandit on their breakthrough 2014 debut, New Eyes. The exposure Clean Bandit gave her, soon gained her recognition for her solo work with her nuanced EPs: 2014’s Waters and 2016’s Run.
Born to a father from Khartoum, Sudan and a mother from Perth, Scotland, Shaddad grew up in an environment that encourages artistic development – her family had deep artistic roots that stretched back to the 1800s and her great-great-great-grandfather was famed Scottish landscape painter James Paterson. Growing up, she lived in various locales that included Europe, Africa, and the U.K., where she was exposed to a great eclectic mix of sounds including Scottish and Irish Folk, traditional Sudanese music, Slovakian Christmas music, and much more. She began singing at a young age and took up piano before switching to guitar lessons at the age of 16. While studying philosophy at Birmingham University, she began to develop an altitude for music. Inspired by such rock bands like Radiohead and System of a Down, as well as folk artists like Nick Harper and Martha Tilston, she began to hone her guitar skills and started writing songs.
A couple of years later and with two EPs under her belt, Shaddad is on the rise for even greater things.
Her debut full-length album, Future, was recorded in Devon with Mercury Prize-nominated producer Chris Bond. “White Lines” and “This Is My Cue” are the first two singles to come off of the album.
“White Lines” is an edgy track with a fast-paced drumming beat. With a raw-driven sound, this is an exciting song that exudes a great indie and alternative folk vibe. Grounded by the coalescing of drums, electric guitars, bass, and percussions, the energy pervading from the track is mesmerizing. Shaddad’s vocals, here, are pure and vulnerable with a tender appeal. This is a soothing rock ‘n’ track with a dark and folky cadence.
“This Is My Cue” contains a dark, rich sound filled with a startling melancholy riff. The haunting, dreamy rock vibe has a luminescent quality to it with an ethereal and airy feel. Soaring electric riffs undulate in the refrain. This is a slower-sauntering slow burning song.
Eliza Shaddad’s sound on these two singles are both dark and terrifying, oftentimes exploring the shadowy and gloomy depths of a murkier world. In contrast, Shaddad’s vocals are vulnerable and at times arresting with a propensity to embrace the darkness with an exciting rawness.
This is edgy music filled with a restraint that gives these songs a stripped down and unadorned air.
Each track culminates with a retinue of guitars, bass, drums, and percussions. Profound and raw, this is swaying and powerful music with rich possibilities.