If you’ve ever had the unique pleasure of seeing Toronto musician SATE perform live, you know that the genre description on her Facebook page is about as close as you can get to nailing her particular brand of music: Bluesy Raunch & Soul meets Dirty Rock & Roll.
At what can only be described as a mind-blowing performance at the Bovine during NXNE earlier this summer, I witnessed firsthand just how much power can be packed into a sweaty club gig. A small group had gathered up front as the striking musician took the stage – two songs in and the assembly of clamoring fans had pretty much doubled…then tripled. By the end of the night, the crowd was literally out the door, drawn in by both her vocal prowess and energy-packed performance. And everyone was (almost) as sweaty as SATE herself, exhausted and reeling from what they’d just witnessed.
It’s all in the name.
“’Sate’ means to satisfy, to the fullest,” she smiles. “Almost beyond full. It’s referring to the live show, to the recorded music…it’s everything and it’s where I’m at right now. It’s saucy and bold, sexy, punchy…it’s strong.”
Born into a creative family, performance was just a given for her; and SATE also has a background in theatre.
“My experience in theatre has absolutely translated to my live show,” she says. “I can’t get rid of it. You get to become something new onstage. Enhance, up, or intensify yourself. And that’s kind of where the theatre comes in – setting an intention of what I want.”
Growing up in a city like Toronto provided her with both opportunities and challenges. “I think Toronto is one of the greatest cities to live in as a musician, because you get a chance to touch a lot of different cultures and a lot of different people from different walks of life,” she says. “There are so many incredibly talented people and the community is very diverse. But because there’s so much talent and because we get so much music, we’re kind of snobs, you know? We don’t really appreciate what we have here and we don’t appreciate what we get either. Because we’ll always get it – and we always have it. So it’s challenging.”
And as for the musicians who share the stage with her, SATE knows exactly what she needs to keep her A-game going.
“I’m really picky about the musicians who play with me. It has to be high energy and always there, always going. Just because I’m the front person doesn’t mean I carry everything. If they’re not there, then it’s just me. And that’s a lot of work. So I need people who are at 11 with me or at 20 with me. And willing to go further and push me further, you know?”
In terms of her debut album, stay tuned. Three EPs of six songs each (Red, Black and Blue) are being whittled down to 10 tracks, all part of a crowdfunding campaign via PledgeMusic. One of those tracks will certainly be her single “Warrior” which pretty much sums up her creed.
“I feel like what the world needs is people who are passionate about what they do,” she enthuses. “I think it would change the world if we were happy, passionate and doing the things that we love and love with a vengeance. There’s so much bullshit going on in this world – we really need some love and some happiness. And I think we’re all entitled to that happiness. That’s what ‘Warrior’ is about. It probably is utopian, but I’m an idealist! I’m such a dreamer that I’m going to keep putting that dream out there.”
You can next catch SATE live at the Rivoli on Thursday, August 13 or at Toronto Urban Roots Fest (TURF) on Sunday, September 20.