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Sasha Brown: The Singer, Saxophonist and DJ Making Pop with a Twist

We spoke to the London artist ahead of the release of her debut single ‘Parallel.’

14th Jul 2017

Hoxton Radio

Sasha Brown is one of the most exciting artists whose about to make a big splash into the music industry.

The twenty-one-year-old Londoner has a range of talents to her name, including playing the saxophone and being a radio DJ, making her one of the most exciting prospects in Pop and a multitalented artist who will not be boxed. She’s about to release her heavily anticipated debut single ‘Parallel’ this month which she claims will bring a fresh sound to the Pop industry.

More Than A DJ

Standing tall, with her brunette hair and honest eyes in the rooftop sunshine. We first connected with Sasha at a party where she was DJing, teasing the crowd with a butter mix of Pop sounds which suited the chilled vibe of the occasion. But she’s more than just a DJ, an avid fan of music she also curates the sound as a singer/songwriter and instrumentalist. ‘Growing up I was absolutely obsessed with music. I used to create little stages and force my family to watch me sing.’ She cites Carol King and ABBA as her first inspirations and began playing the saxophone at the tender age of eight. It was one of the first signs of her individuality because as she recalls, she only picked up the woodwind instrument because no one else her age played it, showing her desire from early on to stand out the crowd. Along with her interest in musical theatre and plays such as Oliver Twist, these formative years would play a key role in shaping the artist she is today.

As she grew older, Sasha became more exposed to different sounds outside of Pop. Attending dance classes at the famous ZooNation dance company on the weekends, she learnt about the wonders of Hip Hop and now draws influence from a wide palette of music genres: ‘At dance class I’d learn about Hip Hop, we’d be taught about how one dance style came out of Brooklyn and where that music came from, I was always exposed to a massive plate of music which is awesome.’

Speaking on how modern music blends genres, she expressed the importance of listening to a wide range of sounds in order to build hers. ‘Genres are annoying because they box you in.’ Sasha spends a lot of her time, training her keen ear and listening to different sounds to draw influences. Her role as a radio DJ requires her to be aware of a variety of sounds and gives her an edge since she can spot the patterns and the direction mainstream music is headed: ‘If you’re an artist you should not just be listening to one kind of music, you should listen to everything.’

On her creative process, she mentioned how she does things a little differently. ‘My dad always said when I was growing up, use the saxophone to sing, sing with the saxophone basically.’ A similar technique to the late great Michael Jackson who would sing the notes in the studio for the band members to play when recording songs, Sasha mentioned how Neil McClenan, from The Prodigy, told her that any sound she puts in the music should be able to be sung vocally. Often making weird and wonderful sounds in the studio, Sasha starts by carefully crafting hooks and melodies and then laying down the tracks on the saxophone, experimenting with her voice like an instrument. This clearly shows how she fuses her talent as an instrumentalist to help her during the song writing process.

Running In Parallel

You could hear the passion in her voice ignite as Sasha discussed her upcoming single ‘Parallel.’ After a short battle to get a studio session with the best in the business, accomplished British producer Joe Kearns, who has worked with the biggest names in Pop including One Direction, Ellie Goulding and Florence And The Machine, the word parallel had been stuck in Sasha’s mind for a while. The meaning of the track stems from a deep yet relatable story. ‘It’s like when you’re moving in the same direction as someone and you’re moving at the same speed but for some reason it’s not coming together – from the outside it should all be right.’ Not only are the lyrics relatable but the production of the record is fantastic, giving off as Sasha put it in her own words, an ‘Afro Beats turned Major Lazer sort of vibe yet still staying true to the Pop world that I’m from.’ Sure to be a summer smash for its catchy hook, the lyrics tell the tale of lots of failed relationships and is again an example of the genre blending that Sasha has mastered so early on in her career.

Behind The Decks

As well as her talents as a singer/songwriter, Sasha is a passionate radio host. Currently, presenting a weekly tastemaker on Hoxton Radio, she’s on the ground at one of the main creative hubs of the Capital. She spoke about how initially she was discouraged from pursuing DJing because people thought it would confuse her brand as a singer; however, it has only served to enhance her selection of sounds. Rising up the ranks at Bristol University’s Radio station, she became the head of music there, curating playlist for different crowds of students: ‘It made me appreciate which music was good, even if I wasn’t a fan of that kind of music.’ She also did some work with BBC Introducing and was an assistant producer at Heart Radio. We talked about which artists she’s feeling now and she mentioned the types of artists who are breaking genre boundaries like herself such as RAYE, Mura Masa and J Hus.

With a performance at Secret Garden Party this month, where she will share the stage with the likes of Zak Abel, Mabel and Bonzai, the future looks bright for Sasha Brown. 

Have a listen to Sasha's debut single 'Parallel' on Spotify below:

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