Eliza Shaddad’s singular artistry was not formed in any one crucible alone, her work is the flourishing product of modernity without borders. Born to Sudanese and Scottish parents, she’s the descendant of a long line of progressive artists and poets dating back to the 1800s. She also speaks four languages and holds an MPhil in Philosophy and spent a postgraduate year at the Guildhall School studying Jazz Vocal Improvisation. Not beholden to the politics of indie or commercial regionalism, every facet of her music, from vocals to lyricism to performance and production, is the purest distillation of herself.
Even without the fascinating esoteric trivia that radiates from of her unique background, Eliza is a musician fit for the world stage. Having released two EPs on indie label Beatnik Creative, her music has found acclaim amongst the loftiest tastemakers. On the airwaves Shaddad’s slick songwriting has gained followings from all the key tastemakers across Beats 1, Radio X and BBC Radio 1, 2, and 6Music, along with critical support from publications as diverse as FADER, Sterogum, i-D, Nylon, Wonderland and The Sunday Times to name a few.
Her latest single ‘White Lines’ is the first to be taken from her upcoming album Future, which is produced by her Mercury-nominated longtime collaborator Chris Bond who also worked on her Run and Waters EPs. With it’s chorus-soaked guitars and throbbing leviathan bass grooves, it grips with a vitality and cleverness that’s rarely seen in indie of any period. Nothing feels spare in Eliza’s impassioned performance as she voraciously co-opts a nostalgic love of classic melodic-pop songwriting into her effortless alt-rock soundscapes. On writing the song during a spell of solitary travelling up Australia’s east coast Eliza says: “White Lines is about the jubilation felt on finally being brave, making the right decision, and heading into the great unknown.”
Key to Eliza’s illustrious output is the fact that she manages to be both a serious grafter and a well-rounded person. She has written for and featured on Clean Bandit’s top 10 debut album ‘New Eyes’, and with them she has supported Rudimental, SBTRKT and Mercury-prize winners Alt-J, and performed live on Radio 1 with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Outside of music she’s co-founded the six-year-strong female arts collective Girls Girls Girls with fellow musician Samantha Lindo. The collective works to empower women within the arts through special cross-disciplinary events across the UK, and to raise awareness and funding for the anti-Female genital mutilation charity ‘Orchid Project’.
All things considered Eliza’s extraordinary fanfare is well deserved. In her inspiringly fresh approach to music and her positive outlook she has the unique staying power of a true artist. This year will most certainly be in her favour as the feverishly anticipated Future enables Eliza again to redefine our expectations of an exciting new indie artist.