But with his subtly commanding voice—an otherworldly instrument that drifts from airy falsetto to soulful intonation—that outpouring achieves an indelible elegance. Both dreamlike and disquieting, Saro’s brand of noir-pop ultimately bears a hypnotic power that’s got much to do with the fluidity that defines him as an artist.
«I think that fluidity is one of the keys to great art—blurring lines and blending influences», says Saro. «And though humans will continue putting each other in boxes, the real visionaries will continue to break out to move the world forward».
Originally from the San Fernando Valley, Saro started singing as a child, but mostly kept his voice to himself. «I remember being five-years-old and singing songs to my dogs on the swing set, with all these really sad melodies and dramatic lyrics», he notes. At the same time, music also provided him with a powerful emotional outlet. «Growing up, I always walked the line between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’», says Saro. «I remember stealing my sister’s tutus to perform on the living room table—I was also way better than her at strutting around in my mom’s heels, and my tomboy best friend and I spent our time reenacting Britney Spears music videos. I was scrawny and hated sports. Kids would tease me for having a high voice and for being ‘soft’». At age 16, Saro wrote his first song—an R&B number that came to him in the shower, its lyrics including a nod to Disney’s Pinocchio—and in college started collaborating with a friend who played guitar.
His musical debut was «In Loving Memory», an exquisitely mournful EP was written after losing a dear friend—singer Simone Battle—to suicide. «She was the first person who inspired me to make music and to believe in me as a songwriter», says Saro. «With her death, a piece of me was lost». Executive-produced by Robin Hannibal (Kendrick Lamar, Little Dragon, Kimbra), «In Loving Memory<» also served as his first release under the name Saro (a moniker inspired by a line in «Pretty Girls Make Graves» by The Smiths) and earned acclaim from outlets like Rolling Stone who hailed his single «Test» as «beautiful, dark, twisted fantasia». A year later, Saro poured his sadness, fears and emotions into an elevated sound on his sophomore effort «Boy Afraid» featuring the dark, disco thump of «Eyelids» and cinematic beauty of «Sardonic.» Next camethe hauntingly, beautiful EP «Die Alone which gave< birth to lead single «Please» which had Paper Magazine cheering «Saro’s triumph rests in the fact that his music full of edgy textures, gorgeous turns of phrase and sweet melancholy melodies exists at all» and The Advocate calling him «Morrissey for the modern era»
Saro was hard at work during the quarantine creating what will be his full-length debut album coming this fall. He teamed up with long-time collaborator, Dave Burris for much of the album, including the celebratory kick off single «Daddy I Love Him». The electronic-dipped pop track mixed with intimate, confessional vocals is the «coming out» anthem for 2021. A lot of my early work was lyrically and melodically dark but during the pandemic I needed an outlet for light. I think this song shows a more carefree side of me. «Daddy I Love Him» is a nod to my coming out story. At a certain point I realised that if someone didn’t accept me for my true self, they didn’t deserve me in their life. Luckily my dad was accepting, and our relationship has grown in closeness after my coming out.
Since he began his rise as an artist, he has collaborated with a diverse group of musicians and his feature work can be heard across tracks by Flight Facilities, DVBBS, Slaters, Tinlicker & Helsloot, Zes, Neek and many others. He has also continued to draw attention for the visual elements of his output, including a mesmerising stage show that’s entirely bare in emotion. Past performances opening for Miguel, Empress Of, TR/ST, Moses Sumney, festivals, college audiences and more have allowed Saro to create unique audience experiences both large and intimate. The release of «Daddy I Love Him» will be followed by additional single releases into a fall album. «With my music, I always want there to be some kind of solidarity. Right now, at a time of such adversity, it’s important to be brave and stand up for race and gender equality and not be afraid to express your sexuality. When people hear the new music, I want them to feel in tune with their emotions and feel pride in their individuality. Beauty, love, and even pleasure can be born from darkness, but you may have to shed a few boy tears along the way».