Sasha Sloan isn’t afraid to show her insecurities anymore — and the result of her vulnerability is apparent within her latest EP Self Portrait.
For many, Sasha’s introduction into their playlists has been from Spotify, a platform that she dominated in 2019 with 25 million streams with her song “Older.” Sasha’s standing as an artist has been directly linked to fans relating to her teen angsty ballads.
Sasha, who has written for the likes of Charli XCX, Camilla Cabello, and Tinashe, movingly narrates the inner thoughts of her mind on top of the latest project’s pared-down but emotionally effective musical composition. The record’s simplistic sound allows for the 24-year-old’s quirky but sincere lyricism to shine through each track where she replays moments of social anxiety, stints of sadness, and the shallow silliness of Hollywood.
“It wasn't totally intentional about making [the EP] something really personal — I think that's just how everything came out with the time in my life that I was experiencing,” Sasha tells Teen Vogue. “[The songs] kind of edge and flow with who I am — the fact that I don’t know how to perfectly accept myself, into growing up, and accepting my flaws and who I am. I think at the end of the day all of the songs on the EP represent different facets of who I am and that's why I ended up calling it Self Portrait.”
For Sasha (b. Alexandra Artourovna Yatchenko), her goal with Self Portrait was to keep the sound of the record as simple and timeless as possible. Having learned to play the piano at age five, Sasha moved to Los Angeles when she was 19 to pursue music, professionally. The self-described “sad girl” put out two EPs in 2018 after years of writing for other artists.
Sasha was aware of the strength of her lyrics and how their relatability could resonate with her longtime fans and new listeners alike, but it was just as important to her to produce music that could stand the test of time in an industry that constantly pumps out flash-in-the-pan pop singles.
“Keeping everything really simple and letting the lyrics tell the story is super important to me. I try to allow things to sound timeless and I didn’t want Self Portrait to sound super dated in even just five years,” Sasha, who was born in Boston but spent summers in Siberia, says. “I feel like that's how music is being made now — there are sounds on a computer that sound cool and current and everyone starts using them and two years later everyone says ‘Oh my gosh that sounds so old.’”
Though Self Portrait wasn’t initially meant to be the ultra-personal record it turned out to be, the intention behind each track on the EP was the same — whether centering around the themes of anxiety, depression or uncertainty — all Sasha really wanted was for her fans to feel a little bit less alone.
“[My fans have] been through the same sh*t and it's OK to not be OK sometimes. I’m kind of unintentionally being the voice of … being a little emo,” she notes. “You can see numbers streaming. You can see Youtube views going up. But seeing people in real life and connecting with them and hearing why certain songs connected to their life. It makes me really emotional and I almost cry every time I talk to a fan.”
Aside from Self Portrait being a necessary change of pace narrative within an increasingly crowded pop music scene, the EP also marks a defining point in Sasha’s career not just as a songwriter but as a multifaceted musician representing her wholeheartedly, unapologetic self.
“Being the face of my own music has been really tough for me. But I think I'm starting to own that fact and I'm just not pretending to be someone I’m not anymore,” Sasha says. “For the first time in my life it's allowed me to accept who I am and the type of music that I make … and that's been really great.”
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue