Sasha Sloan has created a position for herself to be the voice in pop music that isn’t bold and proud, but rather confessional and unsure.
For fans of Halsey, Nina Nesbitt, Charlotte Lawrence, Zella Day, Lana Del Rey
You may have seen her self-deprecating social media posts in your Explore feed. You may have heard her gentle voice leading tracks by Kygo, Kaskade, and Odesza. You have definitely heard her compositions, made famous by pop superstars Camila Cabello, Charli XCX, Tinashe, and Anne-Marie.
Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Sasha Sloan transcends pop music. With an impressive start as an in-demand pop penner and EDM vocalist, Sloan has found her most honest lane in the left-of-center pop realm, where she truly showcases vulnerability through her lyrics and bares her soul with her own voice.
Her “sadgirlsloan” brand has allowed her to instantly connect to a largely-present fanbase in the millennial generation. She explores self-discovery not only in her music, but also in her highly engaged social media posts, where she blatantly addresses her own self-doubt and insecurities.
With the well-received release of her sad girl EP, Sasha Sloan creates a position for herself to be the voice in pop music that isn’t bold and proud, but rather confessional and unsure. She tells stories of an outsider who makes the wrong decisions, does her best to fit in, and gives too much of herself to an unrequited love. Her songs put some much-needed weight on the importance of all of the seemingly insignificant problems with self-worth that take a back seat to the larger issues in the world.
The transition into her solo artist project has been a most natural one, and she now finds herself on a slew of upcoming festival slots and support gigs for Halsey, Oh Wonder, and CHVRCHES this summer. Atwood Magazine had the amazing opportunity to chat with Sasha Sloan about her journey and all of the feelings that accompanied it.
I just like to keep it as real as possible and hopefully people can relate to it.
A CONVERSATION WITH SASHA SLOAN
This past year has been a really big one for you - what’s been the most exciting highlight so far?
Sasha Sloan: I think going on tour. I’ve never done that before, so performing things that I had written about my life in front of real people and seeing my music connect for the first time instead of just through streams on a computer was really cool. I think that’s when I was like, “Whoa, this is dope.”
Yeah, I actually saw you in New Orleans on the Joywave tour at Gasa Gasa when I went to school there. You were great!
Sasha Sloan: No way, really? That’s so cool, thanks!
So, at what point - if any - will you be able to feel like you can say, “I’ve made it” in this industry?
Sasha Sloan: I guess now! For me, it’s just being able to pay my bills and have an apartment and eat food and have a car. I feel like that’s always been my dream. I know that’s a boring answer.
No way, I would assume most people say, “I can never say I’ve made it,” but that’s a really good way of looking at it - just being able to live off of what you do and do what you love.
Sasha Sloan: Yeah, not having a 9:00-5:00 was always the goal. As long as I’m doing that, it’s going to be okay.
Your fans definitely have a well-engaged relationship with you that has been fostered through your relatable posts across social media. How important is the role of these platforms to you?
Sasha Sloan: I think it’s super important. It’s like a window into someone’s life. And for me, my life is just me on accounts or writing a song. I just like to keep it as real as possible and hopefully people can relate to it.
And the EP has been killing it - is there a specific track on there that you hold closest to your heart?
Sasha Sloan: I think my favorite one might be “Ready Yet” only because it was the song I wrote and knew I couldn’t give away to anyone else. And it’s really cool to experience that feeling for the first time. Every time I sing that song, I get emotional, so it’s my favorite one.
I know you know that you messed up
I see it in your eyes
I know you wanna start over
But sorry, can’t change time
It’s hard for me to be mad at you
I don’t wanna be
It’s hard for me to be mad at you
‘Cause there’s part of me that loves you still
Loves you still
Always will, you know
It was the song I wrote and knew I couldn’t give away to anyone else.
How hands-on do you like to be in the production stages of the songs?
Sasha Sloan: I’m pretty hands-on. I’m definitely not a producer by any means, but I’ll always be there saying, “I like that” or “I don’t like that.”
Are there any current artists out there that you’d love to collaborate with?
Sasha Sloan: Oh God, I think everyone I’d love to collaborate with is dead. Does Amy Winehouse count as an answer? I’d love to do something with Regina Spektor – she’s alive – or Tori Amos, Brandi Carlisle. I’d love to collaborate with artists who don’t co-write, so it’s kind of a problem. Maybe one day.
What qualities does an artist have to have that makes them someone you’d want to collaborate with?
Sasha Sloan: Authenticity. You can tell when someone’s being real, when it’s coming from them or when it’s coming from someone else. Artists like Amy Winehouse – listening to her album is like reading her autobiography.
You’ve been writing successfully for a good amount of time now. I know it must be difficult to not get swallowed up in the room working with other established writers and artists. Have you sort of figured out who you are as an individual when you go into these sessions?
Sasha Sloan: Yeah, whenever I write a song, it’s pretty easy to tell right away if the song is for me or for someone else. I usually don’t put myself in rooms with writers and producers that I don’t think would work for me. But I think I’m pretty open to whatever. If I’m in a session with someone I just met and we write an amazing song that I can connect to, there’s no reason I wouldn’t put it out.
It’s pretty easy to tell right away if the song is for me or for someone else.
You’ve worked with some of the most successful female artists in the business as well as some of the most promising up-and-comers like Nina and Charlotte. How does it feel to be such an integral part of the generation where women are finally dominating the industry?
Sasha Sloan: It feels badass. It’s pretty dope to just do whatever the fuck you want. Just being around girls like Dua, Camila, Charlotte, and Nina – it’s just cool, it’s like a little girl gang.
You’ve got some exciting festivals and support tours coming up super soon! What’s the dynamic like at your live shows?
Sasha Sloan: It’s mostly just me ind of winging it. It’s me, a drummer, and my best friend Danny who plays guitar. We just kind of go up there, and I feel like I just talk too much and sing sad songs. I always like when an artist talks though. That’s why I go to see someone, to see what they’re like. But I think I get carried away sometimes.
Well I’m excited to come out and see you perform again! My last question for you will hopefully leave you on a high note - what’s the biggest thing you’re hoping to accomplish by the end of this year?
Sasha Sloan: I would love to be able to go into 2019 with headline shows. Being an opener is kind of hard. You’re up there just like, “Please like me!” I think that’s the goal. No expectations honestly. Whatever happens, happens!
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? © Nicolita Bradley