Published Oct 16, 2009As conventional routes to even nominal success in the music industry become more and more difficult to define, making genuine, personal connections with an audience at the street level is now mission one for any artistic hopeful. But for Toronto, ON-based soul rock siren Saidah Baba Talibah, settling for the type of cursory interactions earned through MySpace and Facebook simply won't cut it.
Her latest offering, frankly titled The Phone Demos, offers listeners a glimpse at the type of midnight musical machinations no doubt every songwriter endures during his or her creative processes by serving up just what the title suggests: cellphone-recorded song demos. The collection includes bare-bones versions of tunes destined for her upcoming debut full-length, due early next year, replete with that innocent, nostalgia-inducing crackle and grit familiar to any of us who recycled old cassette tapes back in the day.
"The Phone Demos came along because I was writing songs for the album, and it actually sounded kinda cool the way they were recorded on my phone," Saidah tells Exclaim! of the process that sparked this uniquely raw and revealing EP. "People responded very positively to them, so I thought, 'hmm, why not release them?' because it would be another way for people to get to know me, and for me to just be me."
Allowing people to know who she is on such an intimate level is definitely more important to Saidah than most, as the completion of her planned long-player may literally depend on it. Following the cues of pioneering hip-hop politicos Public Enemy, the singer is employing an ambitious fundraising tactic, dubbed Make Me Wanna (S)Cream, that employs the financial contributions of her fanbase in exchange for a host of gifts, ranging from complimentary dinners to a gracious performance in the living rooms of truly generous souls.
"[Public Enemy] are working on, what, their 13th album and they're looking to raise $250,000, and they've got people investing anywhere from $25 to $100,000. So the whole model of making an album and reaching your fans - or the consumer or supporter- is changing, and I just thought it was a great [way] to connect with people, and essentially what will happen in the end is that, when the album's done, everybody who's invested in it will get an album. It's not like they're just giving money away for free - they're actually getting the album [they've helped create]."
Look for The Phone Demos to drop October 20 on iTunes and other digital music providers, and learn more about Saidah's Make Me Wanna (S)Cream loyalty program here, if you feel your inner philanthropist fighting to scratch that charitable itch as we fast approach the upcoming holiday season.