Interview with ReverbNation Winner, London’s SALIO!

1.Who are you as an artist? What is your story?

My name is SALIO and I am a singer from the Republic of Georgia. I have been singing all my life and I am very lucky it has taken me to places all over the world. I was born in Tbilisi and wrote my first hit song ‘Varsklavebi’ or ‘Stars’ when I was 11 years of age which is now almost considered a national anthem in my home country.

My home country is poor and there have been a number of influences which have caused violence and death personal to me. I wrote a song called ‘He Flew Away’ after my friend Giorgi was shot and killed outside my house a little while ago. This broke my heart and I think about him daily.

Through my songs and lyrics I am trying to encourage people to think out with their own normality and explore new ideas and thoughts which may offer new opinions and perspectives to them aswell as make people happy in their reflection.  

2.Who are some of your favorite artists and music influ-ences?

I grew up listening to Janis Joplin, Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald. These are my teachers and I sing with them in the shower every morning. When I was younger the only CD in our house was Rocket Man by Elton John so I spent a huge amount of time pretending to be in space and singing with my sister. I always got to be the singer and she always had to pretend to be a journalist, something I feel a little sorry for her about. I was older so I got my way but still it is no excuse. Sorry, Elene.

Other influences would include many including the Future Sound Of London and Massive Attack. Fourtet and Radiohead are also on my playlists regularly.

3.What is makes your music worth it? To the world? To your fans?

The deep sense of emotion I feel when I am at my piano and singing from my heart is what makes my life worth living. I have never tried to do anything else except sing. I am happiest on stage and when you see people are hanging on your every word and note and you connect with an audience in that way the feeling is amazing. I hope that my fans understand what I am singing about and can feel the emotion in the songs and help them explore places in their minds and thoughts where they may not have thought about going before.

4. What is the future of music and the industry?

This is a difficult question. I know there is a new streaming site called wegetmusic which is currently being tested. This site will pay much more money per stream than the typical sites and will pay more comprehensively aswell i.e. anyone and everyone involved with the production and recording of the music will be entitled to something, however big or samll. The designer, Barry Coffing, is confident that it can change the music industry as we know it to allow independent artists to be more easily discovered, be streamed and generate more revenue than the monopolised services at the moment. I would also like to believe that people would be open to paying a little for music and not just rely on receiving it for free all the time from youtube. Or maybe youtube could stop making billions and start sharing some of the wealth. We can all dream.

5. What surprises you the most about the music industry?

In this day and age not too much. I have however noticed that the central areas of the industry are in places outside Georgia and no matter what I do here, I know I will always have to go to places like New York and London to meet the people who can make the difference.

6. What’s your Poison?

Food. I love eating and have a constant battle with my weight due to my inherent nature of ‘if it tastes good, eat’.

7. How is your Art “your religion”?

Without it I have no meaning to my life. I wake up everyday and think how do I feel and how do I capture this moment in my heart and soul in melody and rhyme? Then I sit at my keyboard and the process starts. I love performing live to any crowd big or small, street or theatre. Without knowing that this is my life I know that I would feel much emptier and deeply restless.

8. What are you truly creating with your music that changes the world, changes society?

I am trying to get people to think about the issues we face as humans today spiritually and emotionally. I am not trying to make people feel negative, quite the opposite, but I feel that it is important that we don’t just sit in a bubble of our own making thinking that life only revolves around ourselves and that we are the only people with problems worth thinking about. I really think that an empathic approach to one another which is not purely through digital communication is something that we as humans are starting to lose and needs to be brought back to power again. Sit together, speak, share, not be constantly itching to see what our phones are telling us to think about and ignore the mass media’s constructed perception of reality.

9. What is the message of your music?

As I have stated before, the message of my music is very simple…think, think some more, try and understand, feel the emotion and think some more.

10. Have you been “lucky” or “gifted” in the music industry so far? Tell us more:

I have been very lucky in that I have had a number of people support me through their belief in my talent as a singer. I was selected to record in Baltimore by Songbuilder Studios and the Studio Sessions EP is the product of their generosity and time. I was also invited to perform at the Springboard Festival in Houston where I had an absolutely wonderful time and met some truly magical people. Hi Darryl! Hi Barry! Hi Crystal!

All my producers have worked for free up until now and have spent all their free time writing songs with me out of love of music and a deep belief in me, not money. My friends have always supported me in playing on demoes and teaching me piano for nothing except fun.

Very recently Joss Stone’s team called me up while she was in Georgia on her Total World Tour and invited me to record a video collaboration at Petra Fortress where she did incredibly well in singing one of my Georgian songs in Georgian with me! I feel exceptionally lucky and privileged that all of these people have taken time out to support and help me along on my journey and me, theirs.

11. What do you really think it takes to make it in the music industry? Tell us 3 keys.

Perserverence. Commitment. Passion.

12. What is your main inspirational philosophy in life? Fa-vorite quote?

Share everything you possibly can with anyone who will accept and learn as much as possible on your journey. Never be afraid to listen and question everything. My favourite quote is that of Einstein, ‘Imagination is more important than knowlege’.

13. What do you regret the most in your music and would have done differently?

I got lazy for a few years and felt that it was because other people were not doing their fair share of the work. I am now in a position where I realise you cannot blame your own failures and/or lack of productivity on other people or the circumstances you find yourself in. You can only rely on yourself and if you perceive it to be more difficult to learn the piano than rely on someone else to play for you you will quickly you realise you are wrong.

If I could do things differently I would have spent lots more time being much more studious in my study of instruments, especially the piano instead of sitting there in frustration thinking why don’t these people come round and write with me?

14. Where do you see your career going in five years? 10 years? Next year?

Good question. I am currently going to record a collection of ten songs in America and approach some people with the hope of investment and belief in the music who will help me reach a much larger audience. Bentley Records will be releasing the ‘Studio Sessions’ EP shortly and promoting it through their channels globally. I am hoping to put together a band in Houston with musicians who are prominent members of the industry with the aim of creating a touring unit of exceptional talent to play to bigger and bigger audiences.

With the songs I am currently writing I would hope to have an album of consequence and have it publicised in the correct manner and to notable effect to ensure as many people as possible get the opportunity to (hopefully) enjoy it as intended.

15. Legacy: At the end of the day, how do you want your fans to remember you and your music?

I would like people to see that no matter your circumstances if you work hard and never give up you can achieve your dreams whether you are born in Georgia, Eritrea or the United Kingdom.

I would like people to remember my music from a perspective of honesty. That being, this woman had something to say, never gave up on her artistic integrity to follow a market for record sales but was always promoting the idea that intelligent music will help people think more intelligently and through that she managed to bring people together under a common understanding of love, tolerance, understanding and peace.

As far as I am concerned I would love it if people remember me as a a singer with messages of interest and not as someone who likes to eat!

Find SALIO at...