You Gonna Know My Name with SATE
Artisans Exposed Projects presents: One Flow: A series of short interviews with uniquely passionate performers and artisans. By: Jojo D Houseofjoartistry.com
"Good Evening! How you doing? my name is Sate and I'm so happy to be here. I hope you guys are ready to get sweaty, dirty, greasy, funky, skanky...all the good stuff. Will you sing with me?" Sate, Live in Concert, Germany 2017
sing, act, dance, create
When: really young, 6 or something
I do what I do because I saw my mother, my uncle, aunt, sister, and cousins do it -- plus I really love being a performing artist/creating art.
I open my mouth words come out with a melody attached, my body moves to the music and I sweat, growl and smile while doing so
ONE: existing, acting, or considered as a single unit, entity, or individual,
being a particular, unique, or only individual, item, or unit.
What Tribe do you belong to?
first generation Canadian, born and raised in Toronto - mother is African American and Indigenous American - father is Kittitian (St. Kitts - African + Indigenous Caribbean) and German.
Tell us about your upbringing/childhood
I was a shy kid, but super creative. I danced in class and in my living room mostly. I really wanted to be a dancer. I sang too, with my mother (Salome Bey), mostly or I'd watch her sing, act and direct
At what age or phase-of-life did you start to develop your art?
I was 12 when I went to Claude Watson School for the Arts. That's when I really started to get serious about my art. I was a dance major, minoring in visual art and playing tuba in the orchestra, did the same in highschool, but I sang a little more, especially when people found out that I could sing.
Did your upbringing in a musically famous family influence your decision to pursue music? Absolutely! It was all I knew so, naturally I went there, plus I felt nurtured and supported.
Was there any other defining moments that let you know that you were on the right creative path? After highschool, I said to myself, if I don't get a job in singing/acting/musical theatre, I'll go to school to study just that, and within the year I got cast in Showboat, and I never looked back.
Tell us about your first real opportunity to shine publicly? And what was the experience like? Wow, um, I truly can't remember the first. Maybe it was doing AfroPunk in Brooklyn (2016), Paris and London (2017). I mean, it was the first time where I felt that I could just BE onstage and not have to prove my worth. I could sing my songs and the audience heard me. The only other times I felt that was touring in Europe. So I guess I'd say the last couple years.
FLOW: A mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. To move or progress freely as if in a stream.
Outside of your band what other musicians have you collaborated with?
Kirt Godwin - guitar/vocals
Marlon Pennant - bass/vocals
Tom McKay - bass + produced my last album, RedBlack&Blue
Ricky Tillo - guitar
Joel Joseph - keys
and in terms of female collaborators, at one point I had a predominately female band:
Donna Grantis - guitar/ musical director
Hill Kourkoutis - keys/vocals (and Hill just produced my newest album!)
Vaness - keys/vocals
Heather Crawford - guitar
Irina Angelov - keys/vocals
Meg Dolovich - bass
Jewelle Blackman - vocals/violin
Nicole Brooks - vocals
Abena Malika - vocals
Alex McMaster - cello/vocals
+ then the dudes:
Roger Travassos - drums
Rob Teehan - sousaphone
there are many more musicians that I've played with and written with, too many to name.
What does being a Canadian musician mean to you?
It means access to a variety of sounds, kinda like the culture and food that we are exposed to in this country.
How do women fare in Toronto's Music Scene?
I think women fair the same in any music scene, there are obstacles no matter where you go.
What advise can you impart to up & coming Black female musicians that you wish someone had imparted to you when you were coming up?
Be all the things that you are as a black girl human being, and don't let anyone use all that you are against you. Be proud, be loud, be soft, cry, smile, sing, dance, speak in your many different tongues, cast your magic.
Who are some of your favorite female musicians?
here's a shitload!.....
Hill Kourkoutis @hillkourkoutis
Ursula Rucker @urucker
Zaki Ibrahim @zatakiwon
Nikki Hill @nikkihillrocks
Kimberly Nichole @kimnicky
Deap Vally @deapvally
Leah Fay @leah_fay
d'bi young anitafrika @dbiyounganitafrika
Nova Twins @novatwins
Joan Smith @joanersmith
Andrea Ramolo @andrearamolo
Militia Vox @militiaismyname
Alison Mosshart @amosshart
Band Of Skulls @bandofskullsofficial
Liza Colby @lizacolbysound
Mother Feather @motherfeatherofficial
Claire Mortifee @clairemortifee
Teedra Moses @teedramoses
Nikka Costa @officialnikka
Tank and the Bangas @tankandthebangas
PJ Harvey @pjharveyofficial
Damhnait Doyle @damhnaitdoylesongs
Bif Naked @theoneandonlybifnaked
Betty Black @sylvia_sees
Kam Franklin @bamitskam
Sophia Urista @sophiaurista
Nattali Rize @nattalirize
Cree Summer @iamcreesummer
Steffanie Christi'an @xosteffchrisxo
Juliette Lewis @juliettelewis
The Damn Truth @thedamntruth
Dallas Frasca @dallasfrasca
Samantha Martin @rootsnroll
Donna Grantis @donnagrantis
Toronto is your home. Is there another place you would love to live or create in & why?
New York, I've always loved it. It's just magical to me. I always feel alive and electric there. I love the trains, walking, the food, the people. I feel so free there, so inspired and so at home.
A close second, I considered (still considering) moving to France, it's very similar to New York for me, but older and a different language. magic.
Do you play any instruments?
I play piano (enough to write a song)
Tuba (but I don't play it anymore) and I learned to play cello for a play that I did. I also played accordion once.
List some of your favourite venues to play locally, and why
Horseshoe Tavern - it's legendary
Bovine Sex Club - it's grimey, really rock & roll and punk to me
Cherry Cola's - it's a sexy rock & roll club
Lee's Palace - it's legendary and grimey
Rivoli - love the sound there
Your music is rooted in jazz, rock, funk and soul, all feeding your passions and embracing the different sides of you. Can you elaborate on this?
My music is rooted in the black experience, so that includes blues, jazz, soul and funk, but it's expressed through rock & roll with a punk sensibility. My music reflects the sounds that move me physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Tell us a bit about your creative process..what does a day in your life look like?
first thing I do when I wake up is, write three pages stream of consciousness -- I like to call my 'morning dump'
I'll then do a workout 30-45 minutes weights/high intensity interval training
Then, I either have a collaboration session with another writer or I'll write solo -- depending on the session, I'll be prepared with a lyric, phrase or a feeling, a melody or a chord progression idea or, the other person may have one of those things. How we would get started on an idea is to choose something that we both resonate with and then go from there.
When I first listened to your music I immediately thought of the great funk soultress Betty Davis. I adore her music. What does she mean to you?
Oh WOW! Thank you! I adore her and her music. When I discovered her, saw her, heard her, I said, THIS is what I want to do. She gave me permission to be raw, raunchy, aggressive, hard, soft, sexy, free, all of that while being a black womxn. I loved how perfectly imperfect she was, how human she was. I continue to use her spirit and body of work and my muse and my fuel. And after seeing her documentary, even more, I made up my mind that I do what I do for the legacy of my mother and for Betty.
Tell us about your recently released, well anticipated REDBLACK & BLUE album
RedBlack&Blue was actually released in 2015 and has taken me to some places I never imagined. I wrote the album to save me, really. I was battling my own depression and fight to not fall into it due to the fact that I was watching my mother battle with dementia, my daughter battle with depression and I was estranged from my sister. I had so many things bottled up inside that if I didn't get them out, I know that I would've gone insane, so I wrote RedBlack&Blue. At the same time I was getting messages from the red robin, the black panther and the blue butterfly, hence the title. These creatures were essentially ushering me to the other side.
Recently, I finished a new body of work, called THE FOOL, about the Fool's journey in the Tarot. Essentially, we're all fools on a journey towards enlightenment, completion, resolution, understanding, self confidence and just trying to find our place in this world. How we matter. So, that's what's about to come.
I'll be dropping the first single sometime this summer, and then rolling out more singles until I release the album, along with some other goodies, that you'll have to wait for me to announce. But I'm super excited for this project. It was produced by my dear friend, Hill Kourkoutis. We created a big sounding, emotional, clit in your face kind of record.
check my website stateofsate.com, sign up for my newsletter
The Warrior in you says....
keep going. keep going. you're so fucking close to whatever you want. the universe is conspiring in your favour to make your dreams come true -- whoever said it would be easy?
Share your Flow!
with Artisans Exposed Projects & G5 Canadian Urban. AEP features interviews with Toronto’s Entrepreneurs of the Art. If you’d like to be featured in One Flow, send a brief bio to firstname.lastname@example.org.