Think Enya with a lot of rhythm and a twist of soul. Razia Said takes you on a ?Magical? journey with her awe-inspiring feel good music. This Afro-Indian beauty?s debut album is just that?simply magic. Born to Madagascan and Indian parents, Razia?s diverse international roots heavily influence her sound. She has developed a loyal following performing throughout Europe and points in Africa. Singersroom decided to have a chat with this up coming songstress. We literally caught her coming off of two European shows, one in Milan and Paris.
Ok, I have to start with this because it caught my eye, I hear that you have a degree in Pharmacy is that true?
Razia:Yes, it is true. I came from a family that wanted you to have a profession. Education was very important. I knew that I wanted to do something with health so I decided to go with Pharmacy.
What made you decide, this is it? Time to pursue music full time?
Razia:I have always loved singing, started singing at an early age. I knew from the beginning that I was going to pursue music, but you have to support yourself in the meantime. I needed to bring home a monthly paycheck. Slowly I started to drift away from pharmacy and dig more into my music the rest is history.
Tell me some of your musical influences?
Razia:I like all kinds of music: opera, classical, R&B soul. I am very eclectic. Growing up, I was raised with Malagasy music. I also listened to the Beatles. I moved to Gabon and fell into Fela’s music. When I studied in France, I became exposed to Bob Marley. I like Al Green. I have a wide perception of music; I discovered Jazz and grew to love hip-hop in the states.
How would you classify your sound?
Razia:If I had to classify it, I would have to say maybe ?Neo Soul with World Music?. It?s kind of difficult to classify because there is no one label for what I do.
Tell me about your debut album Magical?
Razia:The title is something special for me. We (me and my writing partner Jamie) wrote the title track four years ago. It was just the way everything happened to make the album, the whole process?the band, the music, the producers, the energy it just came together. Everything just fell into place.
I know you just came from two performances in Milan and Paris, talk to me about performing abroad and stateside?
Razia:Here I have more of a crowd that I created, I am more comfortable with the crowd here, a lot of repeat performers. In Paris, they are a little more open and they come to see what you are actually about. People in Paris love the fact that I am very exotic and it created a lot of hype. (laugh) Italians just love a party. All combined it feels good.
How have you used your past experiences to influence your music?
Razia:It just comes naturally, it is engrained in you. A lot of Africa is in me and it just comes. I work with a lot of African instruments. I really strive to incorporate Africa in to my music.
There is a tendency to compare new artists to more established artists initially, and you of course are no exception what do you think about the comparison?
Razia:I think it is a compliment. I am compared most often to Sade and Zap Mama. I just try to build on what people would compare. Sometimes people will make the comparison, but when I ask them how they do compare I do not really get a clear-cut answer. For example, with Sade they say it?s just her essence. I do think sometimes people get trapped in that because we both happen to be exotic women. But I love Sade, so it makes me feel good.
So you are a singer/songwriter/actress/pharmacist do you plan to add any more slashes to that? What else do you have on your plate?
Razia:Things just happen. I go once a year to an astrologist, and she said that maybe painting. I know I love painting. My husband is always saying how I need to do an art show because I am always painting. I do believe you have to focus on one thing to make it happen. For me it?s music. Music is the ?magical?, optimal way of making yourself and others feel better so for now the focus is music.
It is clear by listening to your album that it transcends genres, have you found that to be a good thing?
Razia:I am not sure if it would be a good thing, but it would make things a lot easier. It would be easier if my sound were known already. It would be easier for the industry to market. I think its strength because it?s different. The world is different. There?s a lot of luck involved. It could be a good thing because you are then recognized for being different and having a different sound. My music is a bridge between ages. It can be appreciated by a twelve year old to an old granny. Its can be a good thing only when the luck hits.
What advice do you have for someone that may wish to pursue or do what you do?
Razia:Hang on to your dreams. It is what keeps you going. But be ready to work hard, because it is not easy. Don?t give up. Just keep dreaming and keep being yourself.
You can find out more about Razia Said (pronounced Sigh-EEED) by visiting her website at www.raziasaid.com —— By: Interview by: Wainie Youn