Concerts

SAIAH Became an Artist After the Shroom-Induced Voices Said They Should

SAIAH, whose hot tub time machine-type travels made them the artist they are today, will be making a debut stop in Dallas this week.
SAIAH, whose hot tub time machine-type travels made them the artist they are today, will be making a debut stop in Dallas this week. iinferno
SAIAH gained a significant following over the past year. The Los Angeles-based artist (who uses they/them pronouns) will be making a stop through Dallas on tour with Sad Night Dynamite to promote their new single, “Blue,” released on Nov. 11. The concert, to be held on Thursday, Nov. 17, at The Studio at The Factory, will be the artist's Dallas debut.

The single, produced by  fearofmakingout and Henry Was — named Spotify Fresh Finds Producer of the Year — is a warm, contemplative and mature piece of music that embodies elements of dream pop, rock and psychedelia with R&B undertones. It relies on a peculiar mix of dynamics that work together to obscure any distinguishable influences, and is the perfect track with which to ponder liminal space. In other words, if Coca-Cola’s new Dreamworld flavor had a sound, this could possibly be the remix.

Raised in Phoenix and in Pittsburgh, SAIAH attributes their personal evolution from an introverted high school athlete to artist through the opportunities and ideas afforded to them by the internet.

“Internet culture is crazy," SAIAH says. "I feel like without the internet I would not have found myself the way I did. It really impacted my lifestyle because it taught me progression."

In high school,  while living in a suburb of Phoenix, SAIAH was a stand-out athlete who was almost recruited by the University of Southern California to receive a football scholarship. Before football took front and center in that brief time, SAIAH's father bought them an acoustic guitar at the age of 15. Their passion for music swelled after learning how to play the song “Sweater Weather” by The Neighborhood.

“I feel like in that moment, it was the time I decided to do music the musician way, so my dad bought me my first guitar," SAIAH says. "I specifically remember learning ‘Sweater Weather,’ and playing it in my grandma's living room. Finding The Neighborhood as a freshman in high school was life-changing.”

SAIAH soon put together a two-piece local project with a friend while still a high-school student, and released their first track on SoundCloud. The song gained local popularity as the artist used platforms like Telegram to learn how to create and produce music.

“My senior year I started to dabble in music," SAIAH says. "I really didn’t have any idea what I was doing, and it’s hilarious because I was anti-social and always on the internet. We came out with a song, and released it and I lived in a small suburban town at the time, so every person in the town that heard it at parties played it."

While enjoying friends, music and athletic achievements in Arizona, SAIAH would often go back and forth visiting their father in Pittsburgh. After the prospect of a football scholarship at USC dissipated, and after having some difficulty finding a place to continue writing and recording music, SAIHA decided to relocate to Pittsburgh. It was here that the artist experienced a different side of their existence, far from the suburbs.

“My house was chaos, so I would escape with music and video games," SAIAH says. "When I went to go live with my dad it was my most difficult time. I wanted to be a singer, but no one around me believed in me. I spent eight months straight, alone in my room forcing myself how to learn to sing.”

It was during this time juggling unrealized potential and a new breakup with a recent love interest that the artist had a vision for life, induced by a hot tub and psychedelic mushrooms.

“Before I moved I decided to make a song called ‘Sad Girl’ after an ex-girlfriend and I just broke up," SAIAH says. "I was chilling in the hot tub at a friend's on shrooms when I started freaking out. The hot tub water turned into lava, and I got out and started walking home because my car wouldn’t start. All the sudden I had a voice in my head saying, ‘What are you going to do now? You’re only 18. You have your whole life ahead of you. Are you going to spend the rest of it moping around being sad?’ I decided then and there what I really loved in life and that I was just going to do music.” 

“The world is very scary for me as a Black person from Pennsylvania ... I was raised in the suburbs by my mom, but my dad lives in the hood to this day." – SAIAH

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The epiphany experienced in the hot tub was a game changer for the artist. They are now dedicated  to making music full-time. Their motivation also brought a crystal-clear vision: The music was to become genre-defying and bring social awareness, and both political and personal passions to light. It was a plan that seemed to work, as SAIAH secured a distribution deal with Good Partners, located in Nashville.

“The world is very scary for me as a Black person from Pennsylvania," SAIAH says. "I was raised in the suburbs by my mom, but my dad lives in the hood to this day. I get scared because I see the healthcare system hurt my mom, the politics of big pharma, and see a lot of my family members fall into that. I just feel like we need more people out there pushing progression.”

While some view the internet landscape as a vast swampland of misinformation, dystopian ideals and a no-consequences platform for edgelords living in their grandmother’s basements, SAIAH chooses to sift through the chaos with optimism.

“When it comes to me, my culture, my skin, my brain, I speak on it," SAIAH says. "I feel like I figured out how to not be brainwashed by all the stuff on the internet you don’t need. I want to help people spread love, either through music or whatever way I can. I want the people who are listening to my music and supporting me just to have fun.”

The new single “Blue” just may be a segue to a new sound for the artist, as they cite both Kurt Cobain and Chino Moreno of The Deftones as recent musical inspirations.

“I’m staring at straight rock," SAIAH says. "I’ve been listening to a lot of Nirvana and Deftones, especially [Deftones album] Diamond Eyes. I personally just really want to stick to rock. ‘Blue’ is indie, but the next stuff is really going to the thrashing in a beautiful way." 
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