SAADI, the musical pseudonym of the radiant Boshra al Saadi, is an eclectic and transcendental artist with a unique ability to create harmonious tunes tiled from fragmentations of both empathetic influence and detached curiosity. Drawing early influence from sources as diverse as Bob Dylan, classic 80's synth pop, traditional Arabic music, punk rock, Nigerian music and Brian Eno, SAADI assembles her musical creation to form what is fundamentally her own. This collision of pop-smarts, exotic influences and fearless eclecticism spawns music which sounds both sophisticated and delightfully accessible.
Songwriter Boshra AlSaadi was born in a tiny village in Damascus, Syria before relocating and growing up in a rainy suburb of Pittsburgh. At the tender age of 17 she moved to NYC's East Village where she has resided and created music ever since. Having developed her New York roots with Serious Business band, Looker, SAADI has come into her own with the upcoming 12"/EP titled "Bad City". Due for release in March 2010. Prepare to dance.
"There's something beautifully unsettling about the music Syrian-born rocker-turned-synth-queen SAADI makes. Sure, it's jaunty, canorous, and massively danceable. But it's also composed of broken-down doll melodies, tainted by screwy pops and wormy schizophrenia. It's weird. It's different. We dig it." RCRDLBL
Strobe lights, sparkles and roller rinks are totally our thing. So when we came across Saadi's latest video, 'Daddy You're On My Mind', we lost it. She's a NYC-based electro-pop diva with an angelic voice, on track to making waves on the global underground scene. Her 12'' Bad City EP drops this month, so get ready for a cosmic journey through synth-pop goodness. Just don't forget the sparkles...or the rollerskates. Swagger: Paris
One of the most annoying things about American Idol is the fact that the performers always switch the gender of the songs, because apparently it's too weird for a guy to sing "Son of a Preacher Man," so he changes it to "Daughter of a Preacher Woman." Saadi's gender flip on Bob Dylan's "Daddy, You Been On My Mind," in description, set my blood a-boiling, but this is so hazy and vaguely creepy (the fact that "daddy" is used adds a weird layer here) that I hardly recognized the original. Which is basically the best case scenario for covers, because you don't want listeners to solely be thinking about the source material. Prefix Mag
"It’s one thing to be experimental, quite another to perform a successful experiment. The first is a compulsion, a personality quirk like generosity or reckless driving. The second is something people other than your mother should pay attention to. Boshra al Saadi, a songwriter with visionary aesthetics and a voice in the birthing stages of becoming legendary, from Damascus, Pittsburgh and currently the Lower East Side, is something everybody—even, maybe, your mother—should be paying attention to. For every shitheaded musical algorithm you could throw this artist’s way, like if Cornelius had a sex change and re-recorded Tusk, or if, you know, Regina Spektor had ousted Aaliyah at the Timbaland audition, there is really only one accurate way of encompassing the emotional kick these tracks deliver. Maybe it’s a thing about eponymous musicians, Prince, Madonna, whatever. But here’s the catch: I don’t want to just listen to SAADI songs or go to SAADI shows; I want to be SAADI. After you hear the A and B sides, you’ll probably feel similarly, and we can start a creepy support group for one another where we dress up and write borderline fan fiction.
Let’s start with “Pollen Seeking Bees,” available in physical format this March on the Bad City 12” released by our buddies at Serious Business. What’s cool here is how potentially terrible that opening piano bang could have become. Think about it. No one really needs more fey, post-post-post K Records kiddy-ness on his or her iPod even if 10th grade was terrible and you never got to build that treehouse with your best friend before he moved to Utah. But here, from the four-second mark on, we know we’re in the hands of a master technician, a performer who knows not only how to excoriate a cliche but how to twist one into all kinds of cool new balloon animals. That expertly syncopated scratch, those eternal Glaswegian “aaahs”…it’s the kind of mix-up that allows you to accept that this song, like a particularly charming drunk or a Higgs boson, will probably do whatever the fuck it wants.
A promo page on Serious Business says that SAADI, “draws from sources as diverse as Bob Dylan, classic 80’s synth pop, traditional Arabic music, punk rock, Nigerian music and Brian Eno.” That’s all well and good, and she probably does. But the point here is less the specificity of these taste-wise impulses—did you hear that Chief Ebenezer Obey sample?, and so on—than the sense of sonic transience and mutability their even-illusory presence inspires. We are getting to the point in popular music—thanks Internet!—where genre has become an essentially empty category, and all that really matters is posturing and shout-outs. Record digging, for most of us, is a dead art, and Google is the new back of the CD store. It’s no big deal that one band can sound like Dinosaur Jr. meets Cybotron, or The Byrds meets John Cage. On the other hand, it is a big deal when influences stop being predictable, where the historical fabric of layered tracks and takes slides off the sewing machine. “Pollen Seeking Bees” sounds like a bunch of things: rainy-day pop music, club rap, musique concrete. But the fusion is fluid, not forced. The songs set their own terms, and the classification scrambles to catch up.
B-side “3 am (Black Lodge)” is similarly, um, different; an acoustic guitar figure, an electric wash that sounds like dividing cells look like under a microscope, SAADI’s centered voice the constant that holds it all together. It’s not hard to imagine this as some late-career live recording by an artist you’ve been told a million times to listen to but never have. There’s an effortless confidence at play here, a sort of fan service for fan-base that’s still being created. It catches you up like an American at a European soccer match, shows you slides of an imagined community that you suddenly feel and will forever feel a part of.
SAADI, in the vein of other transcendently forward-thinking female artists like Bridgitte Fontaine or Lizzie Mercier Descloux, doesn’t have a hypothesis of what might sound amazing if interlaced at the right ratios. The experiment is concluded. Here are the results."
-The Ampeater Review
"There is a sense of worldliness in Boshra AlSaadi’s recordings, but not in the sense of lifted instrumentation or copped rhythmic devices. Rather, the young songwriter’s work possesses an ineffable maturity and well-formed center of balance which makes it spellbinding upon first listen. SAADI, as she prefers to be called on the solo front, was born in Damascus, Syria before moving to Pittsburgh and later Manhattan’s East Village, the place she still calls “home.” As the vocalist for Looker, SAADI is no stranger to the microphone, but on her upcoming debut she has truly stepped into her own. Serious Business will be releasing the Bad City 12″ EP this month, and with its myriad influences and cohesive sound, it seems destined to find lots of appreciative ears.
Of the four original songs and one remix on Bad City, “Pollen Seeking Bees” is sandwiched in at the third slot. The track is premised on two main elements: SAADI’s vaporous vocals and a plucky piano rhythm that burbles throughout the two and a half minutes. When SAADI sings “fading into ether that transmogrifies a heart, the fog is knee deep,” she may as well be referencing the song itself, which floats through an entrancing haze despite the crispness of the production. “Pollen Seeking Bees” is simply the sort of cut that sucks a listener in, immersing one in the world the song is actively constructing. There are shades of Cocteau Twins and Asobi Seksu at work, but SAADI retains a clarity to her sound that neither of these acts was ever concerned with. Rather than achieving ethereality through walls of fuzzed out reverb, SAADI concocts the same dreamy feeling with the delicacy of her voice and instrumentation." One Track Mind
"How is it?
The EP starts off with the title track “Bad City,” which is led with a heavy bass line, followed by layers of vocals with zipping synth drizzled on top. “Pollen Seeking Bees” has the best piano line Regina Spektor never wrote, while SAADI adds her distinct vocal style to the mix. “Birds” is my favorite song from the EP, clocking in at under two minutes, but offering a fun and upbeat vibe, led by heavy synthesizer beats. Closing the disc is a cover of the Bob Dylan classic “Daddy You Been on My Mind,” and she surely takes a sharply contrasting path from the original. Following down the Imogen Heap rabbit hole, SAADI loops her voice to create the scene. With multiple “Oh’s," and "Ah’s” she finishes strong in true yuletide fashion, with bouncing vocal arrangements that would make a church choir shiver.
Although the Bad City EP may be short, it is definitely sweet. SAADI offers a lot of promise to a genre that is growing, but not at the right pace, nor in the right direction. She is a shining light on music that has been kept in the dark."
"You may recognize Boshra AlSaadi, the group's Damascus-born songwriter and namesake, as the leader of the New York pop-punk outfit Looker. AlSaadi brings some of Looker's aesthetic to her solo project, but tosses in the kitchen sink as well. "Birds" sports thick synth sounds in the vein of the Rentals, some Lady Gaga-esque filtered vocals, and an echoey inside-out drumbeat straight out of the Flaming Lips' Yoshimi" -WNYC
"Musically the EP is all over the place with the tender slow burning “Pollen Seeking Bees,” being followed up with “Birds” a roller-coaster ride on the synthesizers. The Dylan cover is just bizarre when viewed through the lens of the rest of the dance-oriented music, but on its own actually holds up quite well as a tenderhearted, soul-bearing meditation on loneliness. The EP’s title track is its showcase joint, a mix of bangin’ beats centered around a hodge-podge of vocal harmonies that skitter every which way. It’s a pretty good jam but it’s put to shame by the included Serious Business remix, which throws in some horns, Latin rhythms, and discordant strings to make the tune really pop. Still, credit where it’s deserved, the remix team had some pretty good material to work with in the first place. " -Reviler