Toronto’s Sarah Shafey releases genre-bending fourth album ‘Blackbox Universe’

Photo Credit: Paul Steward
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September 23, 2022 – Toronto, ON: Today, Canadian singer-songwriter, producer and mixing engineer Sarah Shafey is ecstatic to release her highly anticipated fourth studio album Blackbox Universe. This genre-bending collection has garnered Shafey a Gold Award at the LIT Talent Music Awards, and a 2022 Finalist position with The Artists Forum Competition. 


On her fourth album, Blackbox Universe, Sarah Shafey delivers her most theatrical album to date. Filled with big, bold, heavy production including influences of electronic, pop and rock. Shafey brilliantly weaves themes of unveiling different versions of ourselves, her Egyptian roots, women’s empowerment and science fiction, while captivating listeners with her seamless vocals and strong production. 


As an advocate for women’s empowerment, Blackbox Universe is a homage to celebrating the different facets of womanhood. Sarah is proud to have co-produced, co-engineered and co-mixed the album with Hill Kourkoutis; the first female to win a JUNO award in the Recording Engineer of the Year category (2022). Hill has produced for and played with some of Canada’s most notable artists including The Weeknd, July Talk, Serena Ryder, Madison Violet, SATE, Good Lovelies, Dear Rouge, Adam Cohen and more. Mastered by Kristian Montano of Montano Mastering, the album features musician Sekou Lumumba on drums (Big Wreck, Serena Ryder, Bedouin Soundclash, Kardinal Offishall, Thornley), cellist and Grammy-nominated songwriter Michael Peter Olsen (Drake, Funeral, K-OS) and well-known Toronto guitaristMike Celia.


Throughout Sarah’s writing experience she explores different versions of herself, which she has characterized through the singles being released leading up to the album and has curated a Blackbox Universe comic book. With the first single, Competitor, we saw the character Princess Layla (an Egyptian Princess) visualized through the imagery for the single as well as in Act 1 of Shafey’s comic book series. The second single,Pick Up The Phone, introduced Sarah’s audience to Suzy Q (an adoring wife) for Act 2. Shafey then revealed Act 3, Boss Babe (the brainiac and hard worker), and most recently, the final character of the comic series, Alninilaka, brings her Zen and meditative love to the story line. Alninilaka is“the peaceful characteristics that we all want to embody in this hectic world,” explained Sarah. Read the full comic book here.


“We all have different versions of ourselves so I felt the need to explore who they were,” says Sarah.“Some of it was a shedding of skin that I don’t want anymore and other elements are more closely aligned with who I am now and want to be more like.”


Limited physical copies of the Blackbox Universe Comic can be found at The Beguiling in Toronto.

From her previous three albums and a decade-long history in the Toronto music scene, Sarah Shafey has been praised for her sophistication and professional production. She’s been described as powerful, influential and independent, with each release receiving rave reviews throughout the Toronto community and across internet music blogs. Although she has mixed albums for bands across genres in her studio Squeaky Clean Records, her personal sound has grown over the past decade from piano folk-pop to emotive alternative and grungy shoegaze rock, to the present with the pop, electronic, and rock vibes of her forthcoming release. Along with her powerhouse team, Shafey has created a transcendent soundscape with Blackbox Universe, confirming her talent goes far beyond one specific genre.

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