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How Global Influences Shaped Uptown’s Own SAEED

Written by on March 19, 2020


Uptown-based MC, SAEED, has been creating music since his high school days. Now, with the recent drop of his first EP “My Unorthodox Love,” he’s trying to stay creative amidst COVID.

The 20-year-old rapper, singer, song writer and record producer is looking to carve a name for himself amongst a talented Chicago backdrop. Saheed Shane Falomo, better known as SAEED, spoke to us about his Nigerian upbringing and influences, today’s musical landscape, and the makeup of his creative identity.


How would you describe your work to someone in a few sentences?

I am an introverted kid that loves to experiment with and make music. I would describe my work as dark, fun and narrative, whether all together or separate. My work is full of emotion and the goal is to always have that feeling – whether it’s a song, artwork, or a video.

Are you from Chicago originally?

I am from Chicago – the Uptown area to be precise. Both my parents are Nigerian, but I was born in Chicago. I moved around a lot growing up [and] spent most of my childhood in Abuja, Nigeria.


How has Chicago’s music scene influenced the work that you do?

There is really only a handful of Chicago artist that have influenced the work that I do in some way, shape or form. Artist like Kanye West for sure, and then some of my peers like RAB Native, Azizz, Curfxw, Novasad, Corlie, L Roman, Elijah Love and a few more.

What do you think is missing from today’s music landscape?  

To be honest, I feel like people are afraid to try different things or to execute new ideas because they fear people might not rock with their creative ideas or because it might not be cool or trending. Because of that, it makes people sound generic, boxed in and limited.

Everyone wants to hop on the same beat and it defeats the purpose of putting people in separate positions where there is room for competition and excitement. It makes the game boring, you know.

What other mediums, genres, or art forms make up part of your creative identity?

My creative identity comes from various amounts of genres but my main go-to would always be hip-hop and R&B. And when I mean hip-hop, I mean everything about it: trap, boom bap, the memes, the dances, the art and the content.

Also, Afrobeat plays a large part in my life and my identity being a Nigerian. There’s this emerging genre coming out of Nigeria that we call the Alté – keep an eye out for that because that’s going to be big worldwide.

Outside of that, I draw a lot and I am a big anime [and] Marvel/DC fan, which really influences the graphic and design branch to my identity.


How has the covid-19 situation affected you as an individual and as an artist?

To be honest, the memes and jokes are entertaining during these hard times, but at the same time I feel like people should take this situation more seriously. As a student, it has affected me a lot with everything switching to online till further notice. As an artist, the shows that I had spots to perform [at] have all been cancelled. Videos and photo shoots have all been cancelled or moved to a further date. It also affects networking as I am unable to move around freely to meet people.

How is creativity helping you to cope during this anxious moment? 

The positive side is that you get more time to think creatively, plan and get more stuff done. Being idle helps the thought-process positively – there is so much time to just note things down and experiment more.


What’s next for you? 

Just expect more content. More singles for the year, a lot of visuals and more. I want to build a cult following and bring more to the city of Chicago and beyond. I want to wow people and stamp the name SAEED on the mouths of everyone. For right now, keep rocking with my debut project, an EP called “My Unorthodox Love.” Bless!

Follow SAEED on Twitter and Instagram

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