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Interview: Local Musician Sasha Assad Shares Her Ambitions and Lockdown Experience

25 May 20 interview: Dan Bonnington

We caught up with emerging singer songwriter Sasha Assad (virtually of course) to chat about her ambitions, and to find out how she's coping with lockdown...

First of all can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Sasha Assad, I’m 18 and I’m a singer songwriter. I started learning the guitar at 11 but I only really started getting into the swing of it at about 13 or 14, so that’s when I could properly start writing songs that I liked and was proud of. 

How have you found being in lockdown? Has it given you a chance to write lots of new music? 
It’s a real love/hate relationship. Cancelled holidays and festivals and stuff are a pain but I’ve found this massive amount of free time to dedicate to writing new material that I didn’t have before. I’ve literally just been writing everyday, it's been great!

Who are your musical inspirations?
Where do I start? I think more recently my musical inspiration comes from Declan McKenna. I've been listening to a lot of Declan recently and I think its evident in my new songs - they’re a lot more ‘tongue-in-cheek’ than the two I have already released. But variety is good I suppose. In relation to Silent Disco and Don’t Ask Me to Dance I think a lot of my inspiration came from Sam Fender - I’m a massive fan of his. I just love all of the thundering drums, the dramatic guitar solos and those ear worm hooks he uses, and I think that rubbed off on me a bit when writing my new songs. 

You recently had your latest single Don't Ask Me to Dance played on BBC Radio Nottingham as part of their BBC Introducing section, that must have felt pretty good? 
It’s such an amazing feeling just to know that you’re on the right lines with it all. It’s early days in terms of a ‘music career’ but having my own song broadcasted by the BBC is a really nice indicator to stick with it! A few days after they aired my song, I got an email from Dean Jackson at the BBC saying that they were going to play Don’t Ask Me to Dance on their regular daytime show and on their night-time show too - that was a really big deal for me! 

Describe your sound in three words.
Dance-able, catchy and explosive! At least I hope so.

What's the thing you are missing most while in lockdown? 
My friends, easily. They’re honestly my favourite people, I can’t fault them. We went to Crete last year and we booked to go to Spain this year but that's obviously not happening now. I really miss going to gigs too, I’ve missed out on a handful of gigs because of the current situation - I was meant to see Peach Pit, The Academic and The Night Cafe. Going to gigs plays a big part in my life and it's so strange to not be able to go to any right now. 

What are your ambitions musically? Headlining Rock City always seems to be a popular answer...
Of course it would be a dream to be able to headline Rock City, but when I think about what my biggest ambition is, it’d be wrong of me to not say - to play main stage at Glastonbury. To be able to play the greatest festival in the world has got to be every artist's dream. It's just so full of life and happiness! I do spend a lot of my spare time watching Glastonbury performances on YouTube and its hard to not get goosebumps imagining it's yourself up on that stage. 

Are there any plans to release a full album? 
It’s definitely something I’ve thought about and I don’t think it's too far away in the making but for now I think I want to focus on EPs and singles, just to carry on having fun with it all. An album is something that takes a lot more time and consideration and I want to make sure I’ve experimented enough with my ’sound’ before making an album. It has to be perfect.

What's been your favourite gig you've played so far? 
Playing The Bodega for International Women’s Day was a fun one for sure! There were a lot more eyes in the room than I had expected but of course it was a lovely surprise. That was the first ever gig I’ve played where the setlist has been solely original material. I usually throw in a cover somewhere so I don’t bore everyone with songs they’ve never heard, but it just felt like a cover wasn’t needed that night and it was a truly spectacular feeling.

If you could only listen to three albums for the rest of your life, what would they be? 
That's a tough one. I'd go with: Being So Normal by Peach Pit, Hypersonic Missiles by Sam Fender, and The Balcony by Catfish and The Bottlemen.


Sasha is due to play The Bodega on Saturday 12 September 2020.

Get your tickets here.

Follow Sasha on Instagram for all her latest news.

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