SALIO: Sound of Unity

WITHIN THE FIRST THREE seconds of hearing SALIO, we sent her an offer. Her voice is seasoned with a raspy, velvety tone — equal parts emotion and control. Her songwriting is commanding, and holds the depth of an artist who is in tune with her own creative point of view. “Bring Me Love” is a jazzy, neo-soul tune that makes us move, but the rest of SALIO’s playlist is worth a good listen, with songs like the soulful acoustic ballad “Lonesome Tales,” and a smattering of europop dance and experimental electronica songs.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: My name is SALIO, and I am from the Republic of Georgia. I have been writing music since I was 9 years old. I enjoy traveling the world to experience, perform and learn. I am doing my best to spread a message of love, hope and care in a place seemingly, at present, full of envy and greed. Being featured in Deitra hopefully helps us create a stronger force for the positive. That is why I am here.

MUSICAL BACKGROUND: My family is Georgian, so a good old family sing-song is very usual at Shanidze, and has been since I can remember. I was brought up like this and I guess that this is what created my interest in becoming a vocalist and composer. My dad has very big lungs and we have our own harmonic scale in Georgia. We also had two CDs in our house while I was growing up: Rocket Man by Elton John, and a Ray Charles album. I used to love dancing to “Rocket Man” with my younger sister and brother. I also began learning the piano at an early age with a very mean woman who kept telling me how ugly and talentless I was. I was 11 when I wrote “Varsklavebj,” or “Stars” in Georgian, and my parents thought it was a joke. The same piano teacher told me nobody would ever like the song. A few years later, it was a national hit, and is now a song which old and young sing alike in our Republic. For some children, it is the first song they learn, which makes me feel very proud and happy.

FAVORITE MUSICAL ERA: I love listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Etta James, Nina Simone — these are my girls. These are my teachers. I love the sound from that era created by these girls. I like singers and singing with soul.

INSPIRATION: Life in general has made me write and perform music more and more. I find it has been a creative vent for feelings, whether they be sadness, happiness or anything in between. When I was 15, my friend Giorgi was stabbed and killed at 13 years old, leading to my song called “He Flew Away.” It was cathartic for me, as I had felt so empty and lost after his disappearing, and writing this song gave me an opportunity to say goodbye to a friend that I may have not otherwise had. That was a long time ago, though. Mostly, I love that moment when you are lost in the song and nothing else exists. It is electric. When I perform on stage this happens a lot for me, especially now that I have had some time on stage and in studios with serious musicians. Recently [my band in Georgia] put on a performance to provide some funding to help a young girl walk again in Tbilisi. This was a lovely moment in time for us all, I think, and reminded me about the power of music and what good it can — and certainly should — be used for. I hope she walks soon and has the freedom most enjoy without the understanding of the luxury they have.

I am doing my best to spread a message of love, hope and care in a place seemingly, at present, full of envy and greed.

SIGNATURE SOUND: I am still searching for a sound to call “mine.” I don’t ever think I will. I have worked with a number of different producers, especially over the last three years. The Lost World EP was produced by Jonathan Holder and Andrew Hunt in London, and has its own pop sound. Electronic Excursions was produced by another Brit and has had interesting comments made about it, from Bjork comparisons to “completely lacking rhythm.” The Studio Sessions EP was a much more acoustically driven project set up in Baltimore and has a more organic, professional sound. Songs I have been working on recently range from a smooth jazz cover of Ray Charles’ song “Georgia On My Mind,” with Dean James, to commercial dance, to trip hop, to downtempo dub. I don’t care about a “sound,” I just need to feel it. I have only ever sung from my heart.

ON SONGWRITING: I prefer it when I sit at the piano and launch into something with chords and let the harmonies come naturally. The songs are generally about what is going on in my head at the time, no matter the music, which can basically mean anything. My tastes have changed from when I was a child singing about love with Joss [Stone] in the Petra Fortress, to an understanding a child does not have, which I possess now. Joss was lovely, by the way — truly a good soul. I loved singing with her. But inspiration comes from all avenues of life, whether mine or my understanding of others. Whether it be the murders of your friends, a book you have read or merely staring at the ground. It does not matter as long as you feel the soul of each moment. “Where The River Flows” is about death and the uncertainty surrounding it. “Lonesome Tales” is about looking back as your time draws on. “Let It Shine” is about men being so very predictable. 

ON PERFORMING: I love performing live. I love the moment when everyone is hanging on your every word, and you have the ability to set the crowd alight. That is truly a privilege and an honor. I find recording much more laborious. Producers are always trying to get the “perfect” enunciation for their vision of what the lyrics and harmonies should be, and they drive me — sorry for my French, fellas — fucking nuts. The stage is where I feel most at home, with as large an audience as humanly possible. The audience is infectious, and I love feeling their energy and being part of it.

My dream is to take this sound — which is in every one of our hearts — on tour, and spread the same heartfelt message which I know we all have. In unity and respect for each other, make us positive, where everyone can dance and enjoy together, and smile.

FUTURE HOPES AND DREAMS: I would very much hope to start playing more international shows to larger audiences and work with more serious musicians who are not in it to be “cool” or “hip” or too “serious” — people who just get it. I would like to have a show where people stop, take notice and think, “Wow! Who is that?” I am still trying to combine soul music with funk and hard, driven bass to create a performance which works for nightclubs as well as festivals — where people can dance together but still be in tune with a kind of organic feel. My dream is to take this sound — which is in every one of our hearts — on tour, and spread the same heartfelt message which I know we all have. In unity and respect for each other, make us positive, where everyone can dance and enjoy together, and smile.  DM

Web & Social Media Links
Official Website:

Written by Tamara Styer.
Photos property of SALIO and used with permission.

Deitra Magazine has teamed up with the world-renowned online music platform, ReverbNation, on a mission to find standout artists from around the globe. To get featured in this series, head to to submit to our current campaign! Your submission is free with a ReverbNation membership.


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