Introducing: Sasha Keable

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Originally published for Notion.

We meet the entrancing Sasha Keable and give you an exclusive first-look at her ‘Careless Over You‘ video.

At just 19-years-old, rising South London singer/songwriter Sasha Keable has been causing a stir for all the right reasons. You may already be aware of Sasha from her features on the Disclosure track ‘Voices’ and Zinc’s ‘Only for Tonight’ but her career is about to reach new heights. Her recently released debut EP, Black Book, shows off her more RnB influences and really allows her vocals to shine. Managed by Disturbing London, the songstress is currently working with the likes of Justin Parker and Dev Hynes on her debut album and with a five-album deal lined up with Polydor, her future is already looking bright. We got a chance to chat with Sasha, the day after her EP came out, about her music career so far and where she thinks it will take her.

Below, you can check out the hands-in-the-air joyride that is ‘Careless Over You”s accompanying clip, replete with convenience store liquor, open-top cruising around London and, of course, Ms. Keable’s particularly sultry, slinky brand of RnB:

PlanetNotion: You just released your new EP yesterday so I just wanted to find out about the process of making it and who you worked with and things like that?

Sasha Keable: I started it about two years ago and it was definitely a long process. It was just kind of my development as an artist so there were two songs that were written about three years ago and the last song was written in April this year. I worked with some amazing people: All About She, who are insanely talented, Cinematic and Alex Burey. It was a great process; it was definitely very organic.

PN: Some people will know you from the Disclosure song you did and also the track with Zinc, which are more house-oriented, whereas your EP seems more RnB influenced – was that something you always had in mind, to be more RnB?
SK: Definitely, yeah. I never considered myself to be a dance or house artist. I love dance music, I love house music but I always felt that the music I needed to make was more soulful, RnB influenced than house. So it’s always been an aim of mine to create something that’s really chilled. I wanted to make something that had a lot of feeling, that had a lot of soul in it and I feel like I’ve achieved that.

PN: With those tracks, were Disclosure and Zinc friends of yours before or did they reach out to you and how did they discover you if that was the case?
SK: The Zinc track was set up through the label so we worked together for two days, made about six tracks and coming out of those six tracks was ‘Only for Tonight’. And then the Disclosure one, I only found this out a few months ago, they reached out to me and they had heard my stuff on SoundCloud or something so that was really interesting to find out. So that was just a great opportunity to make something with some really talented people. I love dance music, I love going out and whatever but before I had done any of the collabs I never really saw where in my career I could make dance music so to start with that, I was really lucky because I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to make anything remotely dance-y for quite a while.

PN: Your voice definitely fits with it and there’s a lot of that coming through – RnB voices on house tracks – so how do you feel about that bridging of genres, is it something you like?
SK: Definitely. I mean anything that promotes amazing vocals for me, I’m all for it. I feel like it’s great to hear a really amazing house track or a really amazing dance track in general with a great vocal over the top that isn’t too tweaked or too auto tuned or whatever. I feel like people connect to that a lot more than a song that’s totally auto tuned and the person can’t really sing and they’re not really singing about anything.

PN: You’re managed by Tinie Tempah’s Disturbing London label – do you have quite a lot of contact with him, has he been much of a mentor to you?
SK: Yeah, he’s definitely been a mentor to me. I guess he’s really busy doing his thing but we always catch up and he cares a lot about me and I care a lot about him. We both have little chats about what’s going on and stuff. I mean he took me under his wing when I was 14 and writing songs on my piano in my bedroom and he just really supported me. He’s been a great person to have support me and mentor me. He’s got a great head on him and he’s a really cool guy. He’s helped me a lot.

PN: So have you always known that this is what you want to do, you’ve never had any other path you wanted to go down because obviously it’s such a young age to get put in to that position?
SK: Definitely. When I was 14, I moved from my normal school to go to the Brit school and that was when I really started taking music seriously and that’s when I realised that’s what I really wanted to do with my life. Before that the only other thing I ever wanted to do was be a vet.

PN: How did you find the teaching at the Brit school?
SK: The teachers were amazing. I mean, the teachers that I had, I was absolutely privileged to have been taught by: people that knew so much and cared so much about young people learning about music. And it wasn’t just your standard teaching curriculum you get at any old school and I was in school every day with other people who wanted to do music so it was a great experience and being able to do that at such a young age, you know, it’s an opportunity that a lot of people don’t get.

PN: You’ve signed a five-album deal with Polydor – do you find that quite a daunting thing to have so much of your life already paved out for you or is it exciting to you because you know you can keep creating music for such a long period of time?
SK: I guess it is really daunting and sometimes I’m like ‘oh shit’, but then at the same time, I could only dream to be five albums down the line and still be creating and still have something to write about. I find that really exciting and I’m privileged to be able to have a label that believe I can make five albums.

PN: Over the summer you performed at Wireless and a couple of other gigs – how did you find those?
SK: Yeah, I did Wireless and I did Carnival as well. It was such a good summer to play at a UK festival and, even then, the EP hadn’t even come out but I had my own crowd, apart from maybe the people who had only heard the Zinc song. It was amazing just to be able to play and I was convinced there would only be my friends and family and it was an acoustic set so it wasn’t the most hyped set but it was really nice. And then Carnival was crazy.

PN: Since you’ve done a lot of collaborations with other people, is there anyone you would really like to work with at any point in the future?
SK: Well, I listen to so much rap that I would love Kendrick Lamar to lay down a sick 16 on one of my songs. I would love to sit down and have a session with the lead singer of Little Dragon; that would be my absolute dream.

PN: You’re still so young and you’ve got a lot ahead of you – how do you see your career progressing next?
SK: The next few months is definitely going to be seeing how people respond to it and doing some live shows. I’m going on tour with Disclosure this month. I’m currently creating my album, which will definitely be out next year at some point. Writing for other people is definitely one of my aspirations so over the next year, while I’m creating the album, I’m really hoping that during the process I’ll get to write for other artists.

The main thing for me is longevity, I’m not about to rush anything for anyone so yeah, just create and let everything happen slowly. I’m sure I’ll come in to a few bumps along the way but it’s fine, I’ve got great people around me and I’m so lucky to even be in this position and I’m happy as well to be making an album, or five.

The Black Book EP is available now. You can stream it here and download it, via her website, here.

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Widowspeak – The Swamps review

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Originally published for Notion.

Not even a year has passed since Widowspeak released Almanac, the brilliant follow-up to their self-titled 2011 debut, yet already they are back with new EP, The Swamps. The artwork is testament to the phrase ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’, with the image of an empty forest lit only by the moonlight indicative of the EP’s dark and broody but equally alluring sound.

Along with the announcement of the new EP, the Brooklyn-based duo released one of its tracks, ‘True Believer’, which showcases everything that is great about the band’s sound, from the droning guitar to Molly Hamilton’s hazy vocals that make you want to drift off into another world. The way the duo combine such beautifully haunting melodies with sweet, endearing, butter wouldn’t melt vocals has always been one of their greatest facets, and this remains the case on The Swamps.

The band really seem to embrace their country influences on tracks like ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, with the intro sounding almost like a country hoe-down, until Hamilton’s woozy vocals bring back that wonderful dreamy, otherworldliness they do so well. There is a slight turning point in tone on ‘Brass Bed’, with the lightness of the acoustic guitar and keys making it the softest track on the EP. There’s a childlike innocence to Hamilton’s lyrics here, (“Baby can we play dead / Laying in our brass bed”), highlighting the theme of nostalgia that runs through the EP, as though Hamilton is longing for a simpler time.

With the EP being described as a bridge between Almanac and an as-of-yet untitled third studio album, it is clear that Widowspeak feel they have a lot to get out of their systems, and if The Swamps is anything to go by then whatever is left to come seems promising.

The Swamps is out now on Captured Tracks