New Music  show
Last Featured on this show October 24, 2016

SALIO - "Wayside"
Just occasionally, fact can be stranger than fiction. Salio, a singer songwriter from Tbilisi, Georgia boasts a rags to riches story
more flat-out compelling than most. A remarkably gifted vocalist, she was born into a life of abject poverty, routinely having to
go without food, hot water or electricity.
“We would boil water in an urn, and use candles for lighting,” she says. But this required a dexterity few children possessed,
as Salio one day learned to her cost: “Once I set my hair on fire whilst doing my homework by candlelight.” And when her family finally got themselves an electricity generator....someone stole it.
At the age of six, she won her first singing competition, and, convinced that her natural talent would help her gain freedom from such Dickensian drudgery, and access to a better life, she spent the next two decades ensuring that nothing would stand in her way. Salio is now 28 years old and is at last watching her dream come true with both relief and a certain satisfaction. She is an impeccably cool vocalist, at times reminiscent of Moloko’s Roisin Murphy, at times able to out-gospel Aretha Franklin, and she has already partied with the likes of Jamiroquai, Maroon 5 and Earth, Wind & Fire. And as the video to her sublime single Let It Shine attests, the woman can smoke a cigarette with the poise of the very best cinematic femme fatales.
A true individual, Salio is the most exciting discovery of 2016.
She was born, a month prematurely, in Georgia, a country with a tumultuous history. Life was rarely easy for her cashstrapped parents, and poverty rendered their existence a dangerous one. Hunger prompted unrest, and unrest frequently spilled over into violence. “A number of my close friends have been murdered,” she says, matter-of-factly. She would go on to write a song about one of them, He Flew Away, after a school friend was stabbed and killed, aged 13.
By nine, she had managed to convince a local music teacher to give her singing lessons for free because the teacher believed in her innate ability. Later, when an ENT physician started to cry after examining her throat for signs of infection, the young singer wanted to know what the physician had seen. Was it bad news?
“She said that my throat was anatomically unique, and genetically disposed for singing,” she says.
Salio took the compliment, and ran with it. But her teenage years offered little in the way of balm, and she was routinely forced to subsist on precious little food, and no money: “I would resort to crashing strangers’ weddings in search of a hot meal.”
But still she hustled. She met a woman, claiming to be a white witch, who told her that she was going to be a successful singer, and that she would ultimately use her talents to open charities and help people. She began performing gigs, dressed in second-hand clothes sourced from charity shops, and if dogged determination was on her side, then so too was sheer luck:
once, when faced with an electricity bill she had no way of paying, she used her last five dollars to enter a poker competition.
She won $2000.
But she also made her own luck. When Jamiroquai arrived in her city to play a concert, Salio had no money for a ticket. “So I jumped the fence to break into the after party, and ended up partying with Jay Kay.”
Another time, she happened upon the organiser of the New Orleans Jazz and Blues Festival, Quint Davis, who for some reason was in Tibilisi, and in the same canteen as she. Fate, surely?
“I sang for him there and then, and he flew me out to the festival, where I ended up jamming with Maroon 5’s guitarist James Valentine,” she says.
For someone with her background to suddenly find herself on US soil singing before crowds of music fans was the stuff of fantasy - but a fantasy made vividly real. In New Orleans she wowed her audiences, and sang with jazz, R&B and gospel greats. Later, former Massive Attack cohort Tricky endorsed her music video for Let It Shine on his Facebook page, which sent many people to her own page. From here, she reached an international audience that is growing by the day.
And so no matter that, shortly after the New Orleans festival, she found herself penniless in New York, unable to fund her trip home - she ended up working in a Georgian cafe, singing to its patrons until she raised the airfare - because Salio is on her way at last. Her YouTube channel has hundreds of thousands of hits already, and she is currently in the final stages of recording her album, which will be released later in the year.
The aforementioned white witch, you suspect, isn’t surprised at the upswing in her fortunes; nor, presumably, that ENT physician. And neither, you sense, is Salio herself.
Some people were simply born to do this. Salio was, and now she is.

Notes for the artist: This page will always be here under your ne in "Featured Artists"
You can al
ways send us an updated Bio using 'CONTACT' on Menu at the top of page.