Canadian blues and jazz vocalist Shakura S’Aida was wrapping up a one-week tour of Australia and preparing to travel to France when she learned that she won the Indies Blues Artist of the Year award.
The winners were announced at the 11th annual Independent Music awards last Saturday night at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
“I screamed my head off when I learned I had won,” said S’Aida who was one of the headliners at the one-week Port Fairy Folk Festival in Victoria, Australia. “I thank everyone who logged on and voted for me. You all made my sun shine.”
This has been quite a rewarding year so far for S’Aida who won the Maple Blues Best Vocalist award last January.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Switzerland before coming to Toronto, S’Aida began her professional singing career with a local band, Mystique, and was the lead singer for the 13-piece band Kaleefa before embarking on a solo career.
Her debut 11-track album, Blueprint, released in February 2008 takes listeners on a journey through the 1940s and 1950s blues and is infused with her signature voice and sultry interpretation of the music.
S’Aida’s second album – Brown Sugar – was released a year ago to coincide with her first European tour in 2010. Recorded in Tennessee and produced by Jimmy Gaines, the album includes 10 songs co-written with her guitarist Donna Grantis.
A back-up vocalist for Patti LaBelle and Rita MacNeil, the versatile S’Aida has also enjoyed a successful career as an actress, appearing in George Boyd’s Consecration Ground in 2004 and Sudz Sutherland’s Doomstown two years later.
S’Aida’s eight-day French tour ends on March 26. She performs in Germany on March 28 and 31, in Luxembourg on April 1 and the following day in France before returning home.
She makes an appearance at Peter’s Place in Gravenhurst, Ontario on May 7.