From London to Sydney…and Back Again!
23 Nov 2009
Sarah Sayeed is a British Asian MC and singer opening doors for young people in the music industry.
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Sarah Sayeed is a British Asian MC and singer opening doors for young people in the music industry. While covering new ground in the performing arts, she is also using her record label, Sister Elements, to develop young talent. Fresh from her involvement with an intercultural arts project in Australia, Sarah launched her new single, Black IsÖ, in September and is currently working on her debut album.
‘I wrote the track when I was 20 but it still resonates for me,’ said Sarah, now 30, who started MCing while studying at university in Manchester. ‘It asserts the need for making a stand against cultural assumptions, focusing on ideas around fighting prejudice related to ethnicity,’ she explained.
Jonzi D, a leading UK hip-hop theatre figure, picked Sarah as one of the artists to be involved in the East London West Sydney’ project. As a director, Jonzi D was looking to explore the choreo-poetic form with artists that are from polarised spaces in the world but who connect with similar struggles.’
For four weeks, UK and Australian performers from diverse cultural back-grounds, used their skills to create a new piece of theatre. ‘It was really great to be chosen,’ Sarah commented. ‘We came up with an hour-long, devised, directed and staged piece that pushed form, lyricism, choreography and overall performance.’
The emphasis of the project was on survival and creativity at the margins of the city, through word-flow and story-telling. Facilitated by the Information and Cultural Exchange organisation and British Council Australia, East London West Sydney’ was showcased in August. As a continuing project, it will be presented at a Sydney venue in 2010.
Sarah has also set up and managed arts education projects. These include co-ordinating a number of young people’s theatre productions. For her, the next few months are about the young generation. ‘I’m hungry to be around their energy, to encourage, enthuse and bring a different flavour to what I do.’
Sarah now plans to focus on directing groups of young women in particular, towards skills in lyricism, the spoken word, acting and dance. ‘I don’t like all the misogyny in this industry,’ she states. ‘Ultimately, it’s about the skill you’ve got. It’s not cool to talk about women in a derogatory way, in life or music.’
Meanwhile, Sarah maintains a strong sense of responsibility for her art. ‘It’s so important to instill a work ethic into young artists and equip them with skills to negotiate, produce and manage their work’ she says. ‘I love doing what I do.’
Singer and MC, Sarah Sayeed
Photo: © Mun Lai Photography
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