Saalik Ziyad who is the founder of The 5 after 7 Project is also a member of the AACM: Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.
Saalik A. Ziyad, a native of Chicago, is no stranger to performing. He began his singing career at age seven with the Chicago Children's Choir and under the choir's tutelage performed with Willie Pickens, Charlie Haden, Amina Claudine Myers, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (under the direction of Zubin Mehta and James Levine). As a member of the Choir, Saalik toured extensively in the United States, Poland, Russia and South Africa and has performed for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Mayor and Mrs. Daley, Archbishop Demond Tutu, Cicely Tyson and Richard Dreyfuss. While in high school, Ziyad also performed and toured with the Kenwood Academy Concert Choir. He continues to support the Chicago Children's Choir as an alumni guest soloist. Saalik began music training at the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians' (AACM) School of Music at the age of eight; studying with Edward Wilkerson, Ernest Dawkins, Mwata Bowden, Vandy Harris, Ann Ward, and many other AACM faculty. Saalik, a new member of the AACM (October 2005), has been able to explore various types of music. His major influences are John Coltrane, Edward Wilkerson, Eddie Jefferson, Jon Hendricks, Joe Williams, Miles Davis, Gil Scott Heron and many others to name a few. Ziyad, who is also working on his Bachelor of Vocal Performance degree from Northern Illinois University (NIU), has regularly performed in NlU's classical, opera and jazz ensembles. He has performed the roles of Elder McLean in the opera Susannah, Vicomte Cascada in the Merry Widow, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, St. Stephen in the opera Four Saints in Three Acts the role of the Rabbi in the musical Fiddler on the Roof and the role of Sammy Davis Jr. in the production of The Rat Pack Live. Ziyad was also the lead jazz vocalist with the world-renowned NIU Jazz Ensemble. While performing w