Meet the Sudanese singer pioneering neo-soul and R&B.
Few COLORS sessions stick in your head after watching, leaving you obsessively humming the tune for days and singing the lyrics in your head. Sudanese singer Gaidaa left us breaking the repeat button with her stunning performance of her hit single “Morning Blue”. With groove-inflected rhythms merged with touches of soul and jazz, the singer showcases her unique presence and undeniable talent.
Reaffirming her bold and confident demeanour, the rising star drops her debut EP, “Overture” today. Guiding us through raw vulnerability and acoustic R&B, “Overture” is an introduction into rediscovery and lets us know who Gaidaa is. We sat down with the neo-soul singer and talked about the EP, being a part of the iconic COLORSXSTUDIOS, and what she has in store for the rest of 2020.
Check out the interview below…
Hi! How has lockdown been treating you? How have you been staying creative?
It’s been a rollercoaster. I live in The Netherlands so right now it’s kinda weird but lockdown is essentially lifted, and I’m able to be out and about and do sessions and stuff again which is nice. But when I was really in lockdown it was pretty confrontational, both in good and bad ways, I learned a lot about myself. I’ve been painting a lot, trying to learn how to produce music. Honestly the sun and just seeing where the days take me, has been helpful in staying creative.
How has your heritage and where you grew up influenced your sound?
I’m not sure, to be honest. I think it’s something that influences me subconsciously, but I can’t really pinpoint anything super-specific. I think my love for rhythm and drums comes from being Sudanese, and maybe my openness to a lot of different genres comes from growing up in an international school and being exposed to a lot of different cultures from young.
How would you describe your genre?
I have no clue haha. Kinda R&B, kinda Neo Soul-ish kinda Jazzy. If I had to describe my music it would be warm, but I guess I would say ‘soul’? Not necessarily the genre soul, more like – honest music, if that makes sense and thus in that way soulful. I love live instruments if that counts as an answer!
Congratulations on your debut EP – why is it called “Overture”? What was it inspired by?
It’s absurd to me that it’s actually out! When I was like 14 or 15 I randomly came across the word and over the years the word just stuck with me; anytime I wrote a story or made a magazine for school, I would always name everything “Overture”, my Tumblr was called ‘Overture’, I even wanted to use it for a band name. At some point, I decided that whenever I have my first project I wanted to call it this. The word itself has a couple of meanings; it describes the opening piece of an opera, but it also means an introduction to something more substantial. I found this very fitting. Throughout the creation of this EP, the word started kinda taking its own meaning in my life. To me ‘Overture’ is not only my introduction to the world, but my reintroduction to myself. My realisation that there is more to me, and that this is only the beginning. ‘Overture’ is the beginning of my story, the start of me becoming me.
In the past you’ve used your music and opportunities in order to make a political stance – why is this important for you?
I think we should all use our voices when we can. With “Morning Blue” I was given the opportunity and a platform to say something and raise awareness about something that was important to me, which I will always be grateful for. My music isn’t necessarily meant to be politically charged at all, I just try to encourage people to think for themselves and nurture the things that matter to them. If what’s important to me happens to be something politically charged, then it is what it is, to me it’s just important I speak my truth.
You notably are multilingual and sing in both English and Arabic – why is it important you incorporate both parts of your heritage into your sound?
I wish my Arabic was better so I could do more of it already, but I do want to try incorporating Arabic into my music more in the future, we’ll see how it goes. More than singing in Arabic, I want to try and work with and incorporate Sudanese melodies and rhythms into my music more as-well, I think now I do it by accident sometimes haha, but I would like for it to be intentional.
How did it feel being part of the COLORSXSTUDIOS project of Sudanese artists singing about what their home means to them – was it quite emotional?
It was pretty emotional to be honest, but really rewarding as well. This was my debut into the world essentially (after ‘A Storm On A Summers Day’ with Full Crate), and it was a very unsettling and uncertain time for a lot of Sudanese people. Like most of the Sudanese diaspora around the world, it was very easy to feel helpless or like I wasn’t doing enough. Through writing this song, and being given the platform to share it, I was reminded of how much I actually care for my country and the people in it, and how badly I wish for a stress-free and fulfilling future for my people.
How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
That’s up to them. I don’t really want anyone to feel a specific way I guess, my music is just an expression of my experiences and the things I feel. I hope that people can find themselves in my music, even if it’s just a little bit. If people can take anything from this EP I hope it’s the understanding that vulnerability is not a weakness and can instead be your biggest strength. I want people to tap into their own vulnerability and not be afraid to get to know themselves more, you’d be surprised what you’ll find.
What’s next for you? What are you excited about in 2020?
My first ever headline shows are coming up which is exciting, and just making music again with people. I don’t know, these days I just feel very blessed with where my life is at right now, somehow I don’t think I’ve ever felt freer. I’m excited to do this music thing man, I mean I’m doing it, but to continue doing it with the support of my family, my friends, and myself. It feels like I’m in some kind of new era of my life, I’m really pursuing my passion and it’s the first time where I feel like I got this you know. I feel like I’m ready for whatever the world throws at me at this point, so we’ll see what happens.