About Eliza Shaddad
Known for her yearning, experimental folk, Scottish-Sudanese singer/songwriter Eliza Shaddad initially honed her skills as a street busker and solo performer in London. However, it was her work singing with the electronic outfit Clean Bandit on their breakthrough 2014 debut, New Eyes, that brought her to wider public attention. Buoyed by the exposure with Clean Bandit, she soon garnered praise for her own expansive, deeply nuanced EPs, 2014's Waters and 2016's Run.
Born to a father from Khartoum, Sudan and a mother from Perth, Scotland, Shaddad was raised in a multi-ethnic family with deep artistic roots that stretch back to the 1800s and her great-great-grandfather, famed Scottish landscape painter James Paterson. Growing up, she lived in various locales including Europe, Africa, and the U.K. where she was exposed to an eclectic mix of sounds including Scottish and Irish Folk, traditional Sudanese music, Slovakian Christmas music, and more. She began singing at a young age, and started out on piano lessons before switching to guitar at age 16. However, it wasn't until studying philosophy at Birmingham University in England that she became dedicated to pursuing a music career. Inspired by rock bands like Radiohead and System of a Down, as well as folk artists like Nick Harper and Martha Tilston, she began developing her guitar skills, and writing her own songs. She then spent a post-graduate year studying jazz at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she further expanded her creative reach. Busking and live shows followed. She also joined fellow musician Samantha Lindo in co-founding the female arts collective Girls Girls Girls, and producing multi-disciplinary events to empower women. In 2014, she issued her dark, folky debut EP Waters on the indie label Beatnik Creative.
It was around this time, while busking in Shoreditch, that she caught the attention of Clean Bandit's Jack Patterson. Patterson brought her on board for his electro-classical outfit's 2014 debut album, New Eyes, which reached number three in the U.K., and hit number six on Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Over the next year she performed with Clean Bandit, appearing on BBC Radio 1, and opening for Rudimental, SBTRKT and Alt-J. In 2016, she returned to her own work with her second EP for Beatnik Creative, Run, which found her embracing a harder, electric guitar sound. Two years later, Shaddad issued her debut full-length album, Future. Recorded in Devon with Mercury Prize-nominated producer Chris Bond, it featured the single "White Lines." ~ Matt Collar