Listen now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0vHXrrBAZM
Sidibe’s “Breathwork” is a breath of fresh air. Sonically, the song is a marriage between soulful, adult contemporary R&B ballad and world music sounds the likes of Enya. Sidibe’s deliberate, airy, vocal tones are slightly reminiscent of Janet Jackson in some instances and Sade in others. Yet, even with vocals that feel so familiar, Sidibe’s sound and vocal sound and style are all distinctly her own. Her vocals shine and match the ethereal feel of the song very well. Her vocals are the icing on the cake.
It is not often that you find a track where the instrumental production and vocal arrangement have many interesting elements and layers happening at the same time without the production in totality overwhelming the feel and listening experience of the song for the listener. This is a rarity in today’s popular R&B music which perhaps lends itself well to this track being a standout among current musical offerings.
As far as the storytelling is concerned, Sidibe croons about the awesome experience of a relationship that flows effortlessly, seamlessly, much like breathing or ‘breathwork.’ In a similar manner, she drifts in an out of metaphoric symbolism and ‘straight-forward’ expressions to get her point across. Opting out of the typical two verses, two choruses, and a bridge, traditional song structure, Sidibe is driving her point home by the time she gets to the chorus. Her decision to use familiar poetic meters for emphasis has you happily humming the melody with conviction even without yet learning the words of this refreshing number. Once you have heard it, Breathwork is sure to be a staple in your playlist.
Sidibe’s roots take her back to Senegal where her parents met during the time her mother was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She was born in Louisiana and according to witnesses, she came out of the womb singing.
Her mother’s job as a wildlife biologist kept them on the move and she found herself singing in the forest as often as she did in small town talent shows. Determined to nurture her creativity and talent, her mother unplugged the television and convinced her it was broken. With no distractions, she filled her days listening to music and singing.
By the time she was in high school, she opted to homeschool so she could dedicate herself to writing and recording music. This led to the start of her career as a professional singer while she was still a teenager. As cliche as it might sound, it all started with a chance meeting at the mall. She signed a record deal, but left when she realized she needed to define her vision for herself as an artist before accepting the one the label had created for her.
After leaving her record deal, Sidibe describes how the subsequent depression led her to make a decision that changed her life forever, “I had reached a low point. Then one day I woke from a dream where I saw myself in Africa and I knew I had to go. My time with my family in Senegal resulted in a rebirth for me and I came back ready to take control of my creative process.”
Another turning point in Sidibe’s journey came with the pivotal relationships she formed with Finnish producer Nico Stadi (Justin Beiber, Kylie Minogue, Jason Derulo, Ne-Yo) and the legendary producer Warryn Campbell (Musiq Soulchild, Kanye West, Angie Stone). Nico Stadi has been a part of all of Sidibe’s music as a producer and co-writer and it easy to hear their shared love and respect for the craft.
Sidibe took on the role of executive producer for her four independently released EPs. It was her You Got the Luck EP and the single “I’m Only Dreaming,” a funky yet dreamy love note that led to her connection with Prince. Prince selected “I’m Only Dreaming” as his Purple Pick of the week and included it in his personally curated playlist. As it turns out, this was Prince’s last cosign before his tragic passing. Sidibe is still unsure how Prince discovered her song. She said, “I was an independent artist with no PR team, so how we connected musically will always be a mystery to me. Nobody sent him my music. I guess I’ll never know. But just knowing that Prince loved my music meant everything to me.”
Her catalog of songs feels like a tapestry of sounds interweaving colors of soul, r&b and jazz. As a testament to her talent, Sidibe could be covering Shania Twain and Jamiroquai in one moment before channeling Sade and Amy Winehouse the next, but still curating vibrations that feel authentic and singular to her.
Weaving intimate and semi-autobiographical portraits of love comes easy to Sidibe who explains, “It’s hard for me to write something if there’s not some amount of truth or experience in it”. At the center of every lyrical soundscape is the five octave vocal range and voice so often described as ethereal, pure and lush. It is no surprise she has said her dream duet would be with Andre Bocelli.
Beyond music, Sidibe’s training in Qigong has brought her a sense of meaning and belonging that has carried over to her current project and newest single “Breathwork”. In “Breathwork”, she gives us a place of respite where we can sample the spirit she puts forth in every song.
Behind Sidibe’s gentle demeanor and vibrant aura, there is a complex woman who describes the perseverance required to navigate her journey as an independent artist. ”In Senegal, people traditionally address you by your family name. Sidibe definitely captures the stronger side of my personality,” she explains. “I am so inspired by the beauty and strength in African culture. As an artist, that strength and resilience has kept me on my path even when I was tempted to wander.”
To steal a few lines from “Ready Enough,” another forthcoming release, Sidibe succinctly captures the essence of her next chapter as an artist: “Everything that I’ve been looking for is waiting for a chance to be, I’m ready enough, I’m already love.”