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Sevdaliza (184251).jpg
Sevdaliza performing in Oslo, June 2016
Background information
Birth name Sevda Alizadeh
Born (1987-09-01) 1 September 1987 (age 30)
Tehran, Iran
Origin Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • piano
Years active 2014–present
Labels Twisted Elegance

Sevda Alizadeh (Persian: سِودا علیزاده‎; born 1 September 1987), known professionally as Sevdaliza, is an Iranian-Dutch singer, songwriter and record producer.[1] In 2015, she released two EPs, The Suspended Kid and Children of Silk. While her music is typically in English, she released her first Persian-language song "Bebin" in early 2017 in protest of Executive Order 13769. Her debut album, ISON, was released on 26 April 2017 via her record label, Twisted Elegance.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Sevda Alizadeh was born on 1 September 1987 in Tehran, Iran.[2] She moved with her family to the Netherlands at the age of five. At 16, she left home after obtaining a basketball scholarship, eventually playing on the Dutch national basketball team. She went to university, graduating with a master's degree in communications.[3] Sevdaliza is fluent in Persian, Dutch, English, French, and Portuguese.[1]

2013–present: The Suspended Kid, Children of Silk and ISON[edit]

In March 2014, Sevdaliza released her single "Clear Air" along with a music video.[4][5][6] It was later followed by "Sirens of the Caspian" and "Backseat Love".[7][8] In January 2015, her extended play (EP), The Suspended Kid, was released, which she had worked on for over a year and half. The title of the EP is about how people responded to Sevdaliza in social situations, saying "I realized that those things that deflect me from social situations—not getting along with your coach or your boss or whatever—it made me realize I had to choose a different path."[3] The Suspended Kid was produced by Sevdaliza and Rotterdam-based producer and frequent collaborator, Mucky. In September, a music video for the last remaining track on the EP, the industrial R&B[3] "That Other Girl", was released.[9] On 19 June 2015, she released "Marilyn Monroe", which served as the lead single from her second EP, Children of Silk. The song has been characterized as trip hop[3] and was accompanied by a music video which was released on 30 March 2016.[10] Children of Silk was released on 24 November 2015. Sevdaliza cited textures such as skin, glass, and silk as the main inspiration behind the EP.[11] In late May 2016, Sevdaliza released a short film titled The Formula,[12] which tells the story of how "the pain of losing an unborn child destroyed balance in marriage and leads to tragedy."[13] Directed by Emmanuel Adjei, the short film features three songs by Sevdaliza, "The Formula", "The Language of Limbo" and "Mad Woman";[14] the latter was released as a single the following year on 6 October.[15] A new single titled "Time" was released in October 2016.[16] In the following month, another single titled "Human" was released along with a music video.[17][18] "Human", "Marilyn Monroe" and "The Language of Limbo" would later be included on Sevdaliza's debut studio album, ISON .[19]

In January 2017, Sevdaliza released her first Persian-language song, "Bebin",[20] in response to Executive Order 13769. She stated, "In protest of the inhumane political climate, I could not rest my head in privilege. I wrote 'Bebin' in Farsi, to solidify. I stand strong with love. In this case I choose to avoid mainstream media, because I have no interest in part taking in a victimized concept. Take this message without lights, camera, action. I am solely a messenger. In the brain of love, there is no place for racism nor bigotry."[21] In February, a music video was released for "Amandine Insensible", which showcases the limited roles women are expected to fill in modern culture. Sevdaliza explained, "The story of Amandine explores the concept of 'identity' in a contemporary world that is rapidly changing due to the disappearance of 'boundaries'. Amandine is everything you want her to be. An extreme extraction of average life, representing a world where we have become so universal all feelings have disappeared. Paradoxically, this makes you feel uncomfortable. Her life takes place in an infinite white space, composed with minimal objects that represent different facets of the cycle of daily life."[22] In April, "Hero" was released as the second single from her debut studio album, ISON.[23] The album was released on 26 April 2017, and is named after Comet ISON, a sungrazing comet.[1]

On January 31 Sevdaliza released a new track "Soul Syncable" and it was released on the day of the super blue moon. As she has said on her Instagram before, she is passing from RED tones to the BLUE ones, giving us a hint that the theme for her new era will be blue. “Soul Syncable” is the first song from Sevdaliza, following her debut album “ISON” (2017). On February 26 she released the track “Human Nature”. "Soul Syncable" and “Human Nature” are part of her latest EP The Calling, which was released on March 30, 2018.

Musical Style and Influences[edit]

Critics have likened Sevdaliza's music to the likes of FKA Twigs, the trip-hop of Portishead with string arrangements recalling Siouxsie and the Banshees circa "Dazzle" and Homogenic-era Bjork.[24]

According to Sevdaliza, "I think my sound would mostly be described as pure and raw. I'm not necessarily drawn to a genre, but to a process, or towards a certain mood like melancholy. The interesting thing is that the music my music gets compared to is not necessarily music I've listened to, which makes it super interesting. I was performing once, and a conservatory professor came to me after the show, saying that he could really hear that I draw inspiration from old Persian singers. I asked him, "Wow, that's really interesting. How do you hear that?," and he said because I use certain semitones and microtones when I sing. But I've never had a singing lesson in my life, and I've never listened to Persian music in my life! It's really interesting to me that some things just come to you unconsciously like that. It's like you have this brain and it's unconsciously and consciously registering everything and in combination with your DNA it just becomes... something."[25]

Sevdaliza's music is inspired by ideas of womanhood, identity, and motherhood.[26]


Music Videos[edit]

Since the release of her song DelftsBlauw in 2012 each of her singles have an accompanying video. Her album, ISON, is a visual album and has a video that is 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 28 seconds long. Unlike similar visual albums, the film is abstract and meant to be viewed in one sitting, as it subtly changes like a "moving painting".[27] Her general goal with her music videos is to "make it vulnerable and more than human at the same time."[25]


Sevdaliza appears to be a satyr and an erotic dancer performing in a semi-abandoned large building with classical detailing in front of an audience sitting on a mezzanine. The audience consists of only men, who are clearly wealthy, being served food and receiving this seemingly private and exclusive performance. The time and place that this is occurring remains ambiguous, mostly because of the mysteriousness of Sevdaliza's semi-mythological character, who is dancing on dirt that has been plowed as in preparation for an animal race. Additionally, her outfit recalls Debra Paget's outfit in The Indian Tomb from 1959, a nod to old Hollywood nostalgia and popular roles women play catering to male sexual desire.[28] The audience members sweat and watch cautiously, as if scared of her. Her video on YouTube is accompanied by the quote, 'the basic human need to be watched was once satisfied by god'.

"Amandine Insensible"[edit]

Sevdaliza performs several archetypal figures of women in contemporary society. These archetypes are all solo and set against a bright white background, with watermarks and are meant to represent the limited roles accessible to women. As a commentary on the commercialization of everyday life, Sevdaliza sold clips from the music video to Shutterstock. There is the "confident, powerful woman active wear", "professional woman operator call center business", "glamorous sensual woman in silk garment", "confidant ethnic woman leather suit umbrella", and "glamourous woman wow white fur piano". Sezdaliza says that "The accessibility of information and matter has created a new universal language, in which commercial brands play a key role."[29]

Album Art[edit]


The album art for ISON features a hyper-realistic bust of Sevdaliza herself, barely superimposed and upside down over a mannequin copy that appears to be covered with fresh bright red paint. The hair that is hanging upside down, drapes over the shoulder of the bright red bust. Both appear to be sweaty or wet. The silicone sculpture is by sculptor Sarah Sitkin. Stikin says "The idea is based around Sevdaliza being the mother to herself and her past lives. It carries her vulnerability stoically. Her features distorted, some omitted, some emphasized. A new form is repeated through her 16 children (number of songs) surrounding her."[30]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details

Extended plays[edit]

Title Tracklist Details
ZwartGoud [31]
  • 1 Intro
  • 2 Wapenfeiten
  • 3 Paradijs
  • 4 Aicha
  • 5 Zwarte Held (featuring Yootha)
  • 6 Verhalen
  • 7 DelftsBlauw (bonus track)
  • Released: 20 November 2012
  • Format: Digital download
  • Production/Beats: Dox Kenzo
The Suspended Kid
  • 1 That Other Girl
  • 2 Sirens Of The Caspian
  • 3 Clear Air
  • 4 Backseat Love
  • 5 Taste
  • 6 Underneath
  • Released: 28 January 2015[32]
  • Label: Twisted Elegance
  • Format: Digital download
  • 'Taste' and 'Underneath' were later deleted
Children of Silk
  • 1 The Inside
  • 2 Amandine Insensible
  • 3 Marilyn Monroe
  • 4 Men Of Glass (featuring Rome Fortune)
  • Released: 24 November 2015[33]
  • Label: Twisted Elegance
  • Format: Digital download
The Calling [34]
  • 1 Soul Syncable
  • 2 5D
  • 3 Soothsayer
  • 4 Energ1
  • 5 Human Nature
  • 6 Voodoov
  • 7 Observer
  • Released: March 30, 2018


Title Year Album
"DelftsBlauw"[31] 2012 ZwartGoud
"Colorblind"[35] 2013 Non-album single
"Race Against the Machine"[36] 2013 Non-album single
"Lions"[37] 2013 Non-album single
"Clear Air"[4] 2014 The Suspended Kid
"Sirens of the Caspian"[7]
"Backseat Love"[8]
(Stwo featuring Sevdaliza)
2015 D.T.S.N.T.
"The Valley"[39] Non-album single
"One Armed Lullaby"[40] Non-album single
"Time"[16] 2016 Non-album single
"Human"[17] ISON
"Bebin"[41] 2017 Non-album single
"Hero"[23] ISON
"Marilyn Monroe"[43]
"Mad Woman"[15] Non-album single
"Soul Syncable"[44] 2018 The Calling
"Human Nature"[45]

Guest appearances[edit]

Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Thunderclap"[46] 2013 Subp Yao Bottles Poppin
"Silly Boy"[47] Boeboe Buy Sell Bye Cell


Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director(s)
"DelftsBlauw"[48] 2012 Gino Gervaes
"Race Against the Machine"[49] 2013 Atlynn Vrolijk
"Lions"[50] 2013 Gino Gervaes
"Clear Air" 2014 Gino Gervaes[51]
"Sirens of the Caspian" Atlynn Vrolijk[52]
"Backseat Love" Atlynn Vrolijk / Lisette Donkersloot[53]
"That Other Girl" 2015 Pussykrew[9]
"The Valley" Zahra Reijs[54]
"Marilyn Monroe" 2016 Hirad Sab[55]
"Human" Emmanuel Adjei[18]
"Amandine Insensible" 2017 Piet Langeveld[22]
"Bluecid" Sevdaliza and Zahra Reijs[56]
"Hear My Pain Heal" Ian Pons Jewell[57]
"Duality / DITA Eyewear"[58] 2018 Emmanuel Adjei


Year Title Role Director Notes
2016 The Formula Zillah Emmanuel Adjei Short film


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  5. ^ Mark (8 March 2014). "Sevdaliza – Clear Air". Retrieved 25 June 2017. 
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  31. ^ a b Internet Archive - Sevdaliza website - ZwartGoud ep
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  33. ^ "Children of Silk – EP by Sevdaliza". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  34. ^ - The Calling ep
  35. ^ NOISEY - Trackpremière SEVDALIZA – Colorblind
  36. ^ Internet Archive - Sevdaliza website - Race Against the Machine video
  37. ^ - Sevdaliza Lions video
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  45. ^ "Human Nature – Single by Sevdaliza". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved 26 February 2018. 
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  47. ^ "Buy Sell Bye Cell – EP by Boeboe". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved 25 June 2017. 
  48. ^ - Sevdaliza - DelftsBlauw video
  49. ^ - Sevdaliza - Race Against the Machine video
  50. ^ - Sevdaliza - Lions video"
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  58. ^ Youtube - Sevdaliza - Duality / DITA Eyewear video

External links[edit]