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Every so often an artist emerges that captures our attention, makes us sit up and take note of what pure talent and soul looks and sounds like. Sapphyre Blu is truly one of those artists. One listen and you will never forget that voice.
Sapphyre Blu first came to our attention back in 2006; then going by her birth name Arielle, at first as the dynamic soprano voice behind up and coming gospel sensation Vadia Rhodes; and in 2008 with national gospel recording artist Melinda Watts. Even from the background Arielle’s powerful, yet angelic voice seemed to stand out front. In 2009 she took the leap of faith to step down from background vocals and step into her own solo platform. “Turning away from being background was scary, but I knew it was time. I always knew what I was destined for this since I was 3 years old, but I let insecurities, other people’s judgments, and lacks of support instill doubt and fear in my mind.” “I was always in chorus whether it was in school or in church since elementary school.” “I loved to sing and wanted to do it for the rest of my life. I could do that unnoticed and comfortably from the background so that’s what I did, or should I say attempted to do.” “Somehow even from the back, behind such a dynamic talent as Vadia and Melinda, people still took notice of my voice no matter where we went, so I knew it was time for me to have faith not only in God but in myself.”
She quickly found herself opening up at local clubs, events, and concerts with headliners such as: Angie Stone, Dave Hollister, Sacramento and Bilal just to name a few. In 2010, just one year after venturing out on her solo career; Arielle took home “Best Female Soul” at the BMAs, HGSS Artist of the Year, and the coveted title of 2010 Sacramento Idol; where she came in 1st place besting 400 other hopefuls. “For me, winning the Sacramento Idol was where I first really started believing in myself and my talent. There were so many amazing talents! Some my peers that I felt could out sing circles around me, and they didn’t even place?” “I remember thinking when I made the top 30… ok this was fun, thinking, I’m not going any further. Then when I was top 15, I was like ok; well I’m definitely not going any further than this. Then when I was top 5, then top 3, I still didn’t believe I would win, I’m sad to admit, smh.” “When I won I was completely shocked, but it lit a fire under me.” “I knew from that moment it didn’t matter if I was a misfit; if my music, and my voice, was accepted and embraced by the people, then so was I.”
To cap off her year in 2010 she released an EP; “Shades of Ivory”, a tale of love, lost, and restoration in self. Although the album was released on a smaller scale, the piece is a timeless classic. “Unforeseen incidents occurred and I couldn’t get the production to the quality I would prefer to share with my fans, so I didn’t push it too hard; but the writing I believe, is some of my best!” “I was in an unfavorable relationship and writing and recording was my healing.” stated Sapphyre. “One song on my album, “Release Me”, produced by Joe Archie received honorable mention in the Nationwide 2012 Songwriter of the year competition.” “I’m really proud of that accomplishment, my first songwriting contest among thousands of contestants and I placed so closely to the top, it helped motivate me even further!”
“In the song Release Me I experimented with a style that I had come to love, Rock. I grew up listening to all genres of music. My mom was an eclectic music lover but she favored jazz amongst all; so my sound is really sultry and jazzy; which is accredited to my mother and her constant playing of: Nancy Wilson, Phyllis Hyman, Gladys Knight, Chaka khan, and my personal fave Tina Turner just to name a few,” she recanted. “Which thinking back, It’s where my first love for rock and roll really started.” “I’m a late 80s baby so of course along with my mom’s choice of music, I listened to my 90s R&B; SWV, Silk, Mariah Carey, Tamia, Jodeci, R.Kelly, Brandy, Aaliyah, TLC and Destiy’s Child as well; on top of growing up in church and singing in choir, then later background for Vadia, so all these artists and genres are what helped shape my sound and vocal styling.”
“I’m always looking for ways to reinvent myself and be musically set apart, so I really went back to the drawing board on what artist I want to be and what message I want to send across, “she explained. “I was always being compared to Jill Scott, Ledisi, and Chrisette Michele, and although they are beyond dynamic, I want my own voice,” she explained. “So I started researching new genres and artists that I didn’t usually listen to, but had deep lyrical content, because that’s my thing”, she chuckled, “I’m a lyricist.” In her quests she fell in love with Alanis Morrisette, Aerosmith, and Evanessence just to name a few. I also discovered a growing love for roots reggae through of course the legendary Bob Marley and sons, Bonny Wailer and the list goes on…so accentually the birth of Sapphyre Blu emerged.
“I loved the music!” “The lyrics, the truth, pain, and joy behind them; how it made me feel when I sang along, I was sold,” explained Sapphyre. “I knew this was the direction I wanted to go with my artistry, blending my jazz, gospel, R&B and soul ties with my new love for Indie Rock and Reggae; I conceived a new concept of my very own, I like to call Neo-Rock and Soul.” “The journey of discovering my true self as an artist also consisted of discovering my true self as Arielle first. I had to come to terms of the things I was lacking; confidence, self-love, health, and purpose. All those things are essential in assuring I’d be able to successfully endure the hardships that come along with the industry and life in general. So I took about two years off to get myself together.” “I relocated from Sacramento to Atlanta, and had some time to be away from it all; the bad relationships, the haters, just everything negative I was dealing with and that was distracting me,” she explained. “Through renewing my mind and my relationship with myself and God, I was able to gain a better grasp of who I was, what I wanted to be, and what God’s purpose for me was. It all became very clear and helped me embark on a more sure journey of self and what legacy I want to leave behind on this earth,” she explained. “I want to leave a legacy of change, power, restoration, timeless music and most importantly love.”
Fast-forwarding to today; Sapphyre has moved to Houston Texas. Restored and better than ever she has totally revamped her look and vocal style. Now more healthy physically and mentally Sapphyre is ready to give the world all that she has; adding the feature of her own band she named “Blu”, which she will soon be hosting a nation-wide search for in collaboration with New Culture Entertainment alongside Matthew Knowles and Music World. Which she is sure will bring the missing element to the movement. “I’m excited!” “I can’t wait for the auditions; we’ll be hosting them in 3 major cities, Atlanta, Houston, and Los Angeles at the end of this year, then its rehearsals and preparing for my upcoming promo tour: “The Rebel Project.” “It’s all happening pretty fast, but It’s long overdue and I couldn’t be more ready and anxious!” “I’ll finally be showcasing my new music for the world to hear!” “The Rebel Project” is so important to me, it’s more than the title of my album it’s a movement of peace, unity, love, wisdom, and self-empowerment! All things that the world is in dire need of today.”
End result - a clear direction for her music and artistry. There is an impressive quality to Sapphyre’s artistry that belies her young age. Anchoring it all together is her one-of-a-kind voice and incomparable range. And the minute you hear that raspy yet silky voice you know you’re witnessing something pretty special. The command of her gift is amazing! The unique and absolute beauty of vocal arrangements against the grunge of Blu’s instrumentation makes them stand out from anything on radio today.
Sapphyre Blu is clearly an original with a vocal style and personal charisma that is all about love, truth, empowerment, and embracing your purpose. “I would describe my music as “Heart Cries” says Ms. Blu. “It’s music from my heart about the One(s) I love the most, the evolution of loving more completely, and empowerment to overcome obstacles in that journey… it’s just me, it’s just real.” Look out for her new single “Hold Me” playing on 103 Jamz with DJ Jack of Spades.