What is your name and role within Saritah?
My name is Saritah (lol) and I am a singer, songwriter and musician.
How did you start?
I was lucky to receive a musical foundation of classical piano lessons, and was in choirs in school, then got my first guitar at 15. From there it was a natural progression to write, play and sing my own songs.
Where are you based?
For the past few years I have been mostly based in California.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
Each song is different and has it’s own way of coming into being…most often I will have a vocal melody in my head, with lyrics and rhythm. I will then usually get the acoustic guitar (because that’s normally the closest instrument as I am on the road so much) and find a chord progression that works under the melody. Sometimes a bassline or a beat will come first though, it really depends on the song.
What are you working on right now?
I have a new single called HERE WE STAND coming out in early November, which I’m really excited about. It’s an anthem for Mother Earth, and a call to action to protect her from the onslaught of greed that continues to pollute oceans, rivers and air, clear forests and drain the Earth of life. It will be released together with a video that was filmed when I was in Aotearoa (NZ) earlier this year.
What is your gear setup?
It depends on the tour or show. I often perform solo with my beloved 1983 Maton BG808 acoustic guitar, along with a Wazinator stomp box to add a layer of rhythm. I run my guitar through an Alguilar Octamizer (octave pedal) so I can rock some bass lines.
For band shows I have a drummer, bass player, guitarist and keyboard player, which frees me up to focus on singing.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
I love to visit epic nature spots – the ocean, river, forests. I have a daily spiritual practise which helps keep me aligned and grounded and gets the chi flowing; I love to read, learn, and inform myself on what is going on in the world around me. I am passionate about plant-based living, and love to visit my favorite vegan restaurants, and to discover new ones! I love to share time and space with my favourite people who all inspire me. Everything is connected, and so yes, all of this influences the music I make.
How would you describe your music genre?
Essentially I am a singer/songwriter. The music I make is very much inspired and influenced by different flavours of reggae music, from roots and rocksteady all the way through to dancehall. It could also be described a having elements of acoustic soul, RnB and popular music.
Do you know any music theory?
Yes, I did music theory for several years when I was in school.
What are your plans for the future?
To continue to evolve as a singer, songwriter and musician, and to continue to write, record and tour. I would love to tour and build in South America soon – thanks to the internet I have a growing fan base there. I would also love to find a nice little spot I can get my hands in the dirt and grow some food!
How did you get into music?
My parents played a lot of music in the house when I was growing up, lots of classical music, West African music, and well known aritsts such as John Lennon, Tracy Chapman and Paul Simon’s Graceland for example.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been listening to a lot of my talented friends’ music! Sahida Apsara has released some wonderful new singles recently, produced by Dub FX, including a song I featured on called Radiant Star, and I love it! Another good friend of mine, Jasmine Fuego, just dropped an EP I’ve been loving also. And yet another friend, Yungg Trip, has released some incredible music this year! Also in rotation have been Kabaka Pyramid, Jah9 and Prezident Brown’s new album.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
Oxun. Kuan Yin. Erykah Badu. Meshell Ndegeocello. My Mother.
When are you playing next?
I have just finished a month-long tour of Spain and France, which was super epic! I’m working on new music in California for most of autumn before heading to Australia at the end of the year.