Half Egyptian, quarter Swedish singer-songwriter XSARA (pronounced Ex-sar-ruh) spent her childhood in Mississippi influenced by the Blues. Now her band performs her cocktail of Jazz, Funk inspired Pop mixed with tongue-in-cheek lyrics and attitude with a dash of madness and mayhem.
XSARA has played twice live in session on BBC Introducing, on Q radio, Shoreditch radio, many local stations and featured and praised by Emerging Icons.
"...XSARA is a wonderful performer and her voice really captivates a room ...The singer has always stood out for me as different. With the amount of indie, alternative and electronica bands who contact me, XSARA is a breath of fresh air...Are There Dragons In Your Heart? is an eclectic mix of light-hearted fun, soulful serious confessions and some cynical social commentary...it will probably make you laugh and cry. She really has included all emotions and I can only imagine that it must have been a rollercoaster to write"
"Are There Dragons in Your Heart?' is XSARA at her best and is, I'm sure,
exactly what her fan base are both hoping for and expect...In typical XSARA style,
it's rich in sultry tones and jazz-influenced feels... vocals with a real
Paloma Faith-esque tone... which soon picks up with a real Nina Simone backdrop
to the music..."
"With a distinctive, gutsy voice and fresh twist on the blues / jazz genres, XSARA stopped us in our tracks. 100% catchy and one to watch.’
"Startling looks and a personality the length of the Yellow Brick Road have been known to divert attention from an average voice - but in Xsara's case it's the voice that somehow upstages everything else. Her show at The Dublin Castle was the most colourful and engaging gig I've been to this year."
"Bright, colourful, and effervescent- Xsara is a musician renowned for her dazzling live performance. With a style that incorporates blues, cabaret, jazz and pop; this is a show woman with the full package- a striking look, incredible songs and one helluva voice. Her inspiration from enigmatic performers such as Kate Bush, Tori Amos and Janis Joplin shines through- they are all strong, forthright females who refuse to compromise on their creative identity- and neither does Xsara. Having been tipped for big things by BBC Introducing, Q Magazine and most importantly- us- we highly recommend this show if you need a night with a bit of sparkle."
~Emerging Icons (Quote #1)
"XSARA writes unique and inspiring music. Labelling herself as "circus pop" she goes beyond that title, producing truly engaging and innovative songs. I have played her music twice on my unsigned show on Shoreditch Radio."
"Blues-jazz-pop-ette, Xsara...extravagantly dressed with a big voice and personality to match, this lovely lady is ready to take the music industry by storm. "
"Lottie & I absolutely loved XSARA's music on Cambridge 105 Breakfast, she has a unique voice and an intriguing style!"
"When a year begins with a date playing a set for BBC Introducing it’s probably safe to assume that things may very well be on the up. XSARA, and her specialist brand of ‘blues, jazz cabaret inspired pop’ is bound to make an impression on anyone who comes into contact with it... XSARA is a performer with an image as strong as her sound. Gathering together an orchestra of strings, piano, brass and plenty of glitter, her live performance has been described as ‘the most colourful and engaging gig I've been to this year’ by Q Radio. Her latest video for ‘The Scriptwriter’ kind of explains where such a comment may have come from… and we’re looking forward to hearing a lot more from this lady. "
-Emerging Icons (Quote #2)
"XSARA never failed to engage her audience with her strong stage presence, finely crafted evocative songs and jazz filled voice...'Are You Living In A Paradox?' is new, vibrant and oddly comforting, like a breath of fresh air-just what the London scene needs."
"There was glitter, there was glamour, there was razzle, there was dazzle – and it all came gift wrapped in the form of the girl known as XSARA! This was showbiz at its VERY BEST. From the outset, Xsara, had the audience in the palm of her hand with a spellbinding performance – and this girl can’t half sing as well! An effortlessly audacious blend of cabaret, pop and jazz laced with brilliantly executed twists of blues from her harmonica player and band.
To say she stole the show would be an understatement… Xsara was the show!"
"Xsara strode onto our stage with the majesty and grace of a major visiting dignitary. from start to finish she delivered walloping bluesy numbers ina manner that sometimes evoked the much missed Amy Winehouse. Her personality is as big as her tunes and we'd like to think she'll be playing much larger stages than ours anytime soon. "
"This girl is one to watch... Singer songwriter Xsara and her band have the best lyrics..."
"Xsara certainly knows a thing or two about stage presence, quiffed in a shocking red hairdo and festooning the stage with roses and glitter before singing a note. It’s better than four ordinary band blokes in tea towel shirts any day. When she does, on electric piano, also covered in flowers, she’s backed up by twin brass section and band, and the Xsara sound is reminiscent of the Dresden Dolls doing a New Orleans jamboree... It’s 21st century cabaret-jazz with a hint of gothic melodrama but with a nod of respect to Amy Winehouse and her peers....
Music useful for making out on the coffee table tp than lying on it.”
XSARA.. a fabulous and funky fusion of pop, blues, and cabaret sounds... The Scriptwriter' is a progressive and quirky jazz-riddled pop song that is only fully justified when enjoyed visually as well as audibly. XSARA showcases her great vocal range before brass swells and a soloing-harmonica bring the track to life, atop a grooving rhythm section. It's a real toe-tapper and one I'm sure is just as suited in a dark and dingy jazz-cellar as it would be in a bright, sassy burlesque club."
"It makes a change to have a song with a lyrical intensity of poetic proportions... Musically and vocally it brings to mind Bjork... taken to its extreme by Herbie Hancock’s Rocket track...great attitude in its looseness and the intensity of the power that builds within the vocal... quirky for sure but it has character and individuality which is all too rare these days. ."
"Now for something very different to almost everything that I’ve ever featured... killer combination of her out-there look and her tongue-in-cheek lyrics. it’s clear that we should definitely be paying attention to this girl...Full of simple, classy pianos, show-stopping vocals and blasts of brass topped off with the scream of the harmonica, this is a flamboyant cabaret act that you’ll find yourself falling in love with again and again."
"I was blown away by her voice. At that time there were no videos, none that I could find. The quest not being helped by that ubiquitous car with the same name. But now I've found one and it is too good not to be shared. Enjoy the marvelous voice at the heart of Xsara."
"Powerful voice, songwriting with attitude and great stage presence..., one lady to definitely keep an eye on.
"Clearly a talented individual with just the right amount of bite"
"Xsara was a bit leftfield or odd depends on your take"
Copyright © Xsara Helmi 2010 no copying or distributing without consent, this includes all music, logos, designs, writing and photos.
Songwriter- Xsara Helmi
Drums- Ed Kontargyris
Bass- Simon C Paton
Trumpet- Anna Rawlings
Sax/Bassoon- Ben Donnelly