THUNDER BAY — In just a few short years, Thunder Bay singer-songwriter Siedd has captured a big following with his faith-based music.
His music videos have been streamed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, including his latest number Remember Me.
That recently-produced piece has also brought world-wide attention to the magnificent interior of the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, where it was recorded.
Remember Me has been viewed almost 400,000 times since it was posted in mid-December.
Siedd, who is Muslim, says all his songs reflect his core values.
"In a lot of my songs, there's no reference to any faith...they're meant to be more universal, but some are more specific to my own faith," he explained.
The inspiration behind recording his latest performance at the auditorium was rooted partly in the happy experiences Siedd has had there over the years, including high school and university graduation ceremonies.
"There were many moments of joy there," he said. "Standing on that stage was almost a physical reminder for me of all the blessings that I've experienced through life."
Siedd said he wrote the song to inspire other people and give them hope during a period of uncertainty around the world.
"It's about someone striving to come out stronger through all the adversity with the help of their faith. We're told that if we take one step toward God, he comes to us running, and that's kind of the essence of the song."
The Pakistani-born artist, now 26, spent his early childhood in Mississauga before moving to Thunder Bay with his family at the age of 14.
At Hammarskjold High School, he took up guitar lessons and joined the school choir, then started delving into music-making computer software.
Siedd's long-time friend Hikma Sherzad serves as his manager and does the camera work, among other things.
The pair have launched their own label, Makkah Records, with the goal of bringing other artists on board, and possibly producing or writing for them.
Although Siedd now has a degree in mechanical engineering from Lakehead University, he's staying focused on his music career, which he calls his passion.
He said he never imagined he'd be as successful as he is, adding that he still gets surprised by the positive feedback he receives.
Siedd credits the management and staff at the community auditorium for the assistance they provided to ensure a successful recording session.
For TBCA General Manager Bob Halvorsen, it was a no-brainer to lend a helping hand.
Halvorsen said “As a venue we constantly hear from national and international entertainers about how much they love the building. In my opinion, it's even better when we can use that status to provide a forum for local artists to take their craft to the next level."