In 2011, Devin Moreno, Aaron Marquez, and Josh Gardner met singer-songwriter Nehal Abuelata at an open mic in San Jose. The four of them hit it off, and the rest is history. Nehal was a keyboardist who then created ballads, Devin a Zeppelin-influenced guitarist, Aaron a funk-metal bassist, and Josh a reggae-driven drummer. Combined, they developed a unique sound they called Rock-Soul-Funk, and crazy as it seems, it just worked. The band chose the name Sweet HayaH to emphasize the sweetness of life through music. The word “hayah” means “life” in Arabic, Nehal’s birth language. The quartet started writing music together and playing all over San Jose and the Bay Area, quickly growing a passionate and loyal local fan base. They recorded and released a self-titled EP in 2012, soon to be followed by their first full-length album, “Sweet Awakening” in 2013 and a limited-edition Acoustic EP titled “Raw and Acoustic” in 2014.
Fast forward to 2018, Sweet HayaH is well-established as one of the most popular original artists in the SF Bay Area. In addition to the founding members, the line-up now also includes percussionist Kosuke Okamura and vocalist Will Pappin, and great friend and acting manager Gary Greenberg. The band’s resume boasts a myriad of festivals, as well as opening and supporting shows for impressive and legendary artists such as Robbie Krieger of the Doors, Roddy Radiation of the Specials, The Selecter, and The English Beat. In 2017 Sweet HayaH played in front of 6000 people at San Jose Music in the Park, opening for world- renowned soul-man Brenton Wood. Their fan base now extends well beyond the Bay Area. Sweet HayaH has played extensively in Napa, including multiple Napa Porchfests, Napa City Nights, and the Blue Note Napa. There have been tours to the Pacific Northwest and all along the California coastline, as well as cross country trips to Georgia, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas, including four South by Southwest (SXSW) showcases in 2015.
The band has also added to its original music repertoire. In 2015 they recorded their first fully-produced album, “Gentle Lies”, working with veteran producer Todd Jeremias and a host of other outstanding musicians. With their extensive list of original songs, Sweet HayaH has been known to put on marathon shows, sometimes playing for as long as five hours! They truly set themselves apart through their highly adaptable style, and can engage a crowd like no other, making them the ideal festival band. Nehal is fluent in multiple languages, which is reflected in the bands lyrics, with songs in French and Spanish, as well as English.
Sweet HayaH has attracted media attention locally as well as internationally. Recently a fantastic interview with Nehal was published on the Nile FM Website – the largest English Radio Broadcasting network in Egypt. The band has had success making not only studio albums, but has also released multiple vibrant music videos. In March 2018, their video for the song “Backwards” was released, produced by May Yam, and was well received by fans Worldwide. The band and May Yam had previously worked together on a short film called “Headwind”, which featured Sweet HayaH performances. Sweet HayaH has produced an extensive and continuous body of high quality original work in a short period of time, and the band is only getting started.