Chad Saaiman and Mariechan on their latest collab: ‘It was inevitable’

Chad Saaiman and Mariechan. (Photos: DL Photography and supplied)
Chad Saaiman and Mariechan. (Photos: DL Photography and supplied)

Cape Town - They crossed paths at an audition more than 16 years ago and have often shared a stage to deliver dazzling performances.

Which is why Chad Saaiman grabbed the opportunity to work with an artist he describes as one of the best singers in the country. 

The local muso teamed up with Mariechan, who made her name as one third of girl group Jamali for an R&B duet called Are You Down


We caught up with the duo to chat about carving their way in a cut-throat industry, working together in studio and why they believe the track tells a story everyone can relate to. 


What was the inspiration behind Are You Down? 

Chad: It’s inspired by moving on from that phase just before a relationship becomes official. It’s when the relationship is still a “something-ship”. It’s about getting that affirmation you both want to make this work and written in that time and space. I’d like to think we could all relate. 

How easy or difficult was it to work together in studio?

Chad: It was super-easy! Mariechan is a master of her craft and spends a lot of time in studio. The energy was always right in the room and that’s pivotal to the delivery and success of the record. 

Mariechan, you’ve spoken candidly about how difficult it was to find your own sound after the Jamali split, but it seems you’ve managed to do so. How would you describe your sound now?                              

Mariechan: It’s definitely a Pan African sound fused with my R&B roots. Music is ever-changing and so are we. Artists can never be boxed to one sound or genre. We have the freedom to express ourselves in different shapes and sounds – and I love a good suspense! 

How hard was it to find that sound and carve your own way in the industry? 

Mariechan: I went through four phases: 1. I was staring at an empty bank account more often than not. 2. My biggest challenge was identity. Who was I outside of the group? It took many months of isolation, writing and reflection to find the artist in me again 3. The nail-biting task of reintroducing myself and how I’d be received 4. Mastering my gift and putting myself out there attracted artists to me. The power of collaboration contributed largely to my transition and reintroduction. 

You’ve given fans lots to get excited about with your releases since going solo (she launched her EP Cherry Blossom in October last year). Do you have anything else up your sleeve?   

Mariechan: Apart from the grind and collabs with some cool artists, I’ve been underground working on my debut album with some of the freshest producers from across Africa and beyond. I can’t wait to share this body of work!                                                                

Are You Down is one of those catchy songs you listen to once but then sing under your breath for the rest of the day. What do you want fans to take from it?

Chad: The music is for the people. We create it for you to feel it, to embrace it, to sing along to it, to own it and to use it when you can’t find the words.

I would love to see more love, caring and respect among our people and I hope this piece of music can assist. I want people to not be afraid to take that next step.

Are You Down is available on all digital platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and Joox.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24