In the Studio With Sasha Sloan: The 'sad girl' Steps Out From Behind The Curtain
As I walked into the dark confines of Paramount Recording Studio, I was greeted by the warm, sheepish smile of Sasha Sloan. Also known as sad girl sloan, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Boston started her career behind the scenes co-writing with everyone from Charli XCX’s “Track 10” to Camilla Cabello’s “Never be the Same”. While her background is deeply rooted in songwriting, in recent months, Sloan has embarked on the toughest journey of all: establishing a solo career.
Sloan released four singles in 2018 on her debut EP, sad girl, including the brutally real introvert anthem “Normal”, which has racked up over 15 million plays since its release in February. She just performed her first headliner show in her hometown of Boston, on July 10. But as her name grows and continues to gain recognition in the music industry, her humble demeanor and modesty remain just as palpable.
“It felt terrifying because I started from ground zero,” says Sloan on finally being the face behind her own words. “I’m always surrounded by writers and producers and everyone’s very critical, so I was scared like, oh my God is this song really whack? I love it, but I’m scared everyone else won’t.”
Sloan’s writing style, although raw and relatable, seems to always come from a place of profound anguish and self-doubt. At the young age of 10, she wrote her first song called “Pitter Patter”, about a traumatizing toe-stubbing incident (well, traumatizing for a 10-year-old) that left her in tears. She still remembers the lyrics, but swears, “they’re literally going to my grave with me.”
As a self-proclaimed music geek, Sloan embraces her awkward beginnings: “everyone knew me in high school as the nerdy kid who always sang in Chorus, and I was that girl who did music, you know what I mean?”
For Sloan, there is a reason behind the madness. “I think it’s really hard for me to write about happy things, because it always sounds corny. The realest music to me is about anxiety, depression and being sad. Sometimes I’ll write a song and then it will kind of be like an out of body experience, and then I’ll be like woah that’s actually how I’m feeling, but I was suppressing it, and vice versa.”
Sloan just wrapped up her first live tour with indie-rock band Joywave, where she transformed from songwriter stuck within the comfortability of a studio setting, to live performer.
“It was super dope, it was also very scary, everything was new,” she says. “When you’re putting music out, you could see streams on Spotify, and downloads, and it’s numbers. But when you go and perform it, you see faces and that was the coolest moment ever because I was like oh this artist thing is kind of scary and weird, but when I saw people in the flesh connecting with what I was saying, there’s no high like it.”
The realest music to me is about anxiety, depression and being sad.
With her innate ability to express personal and genuine emotion through her lyrics, Sloan has developed a growing fanbase who go by “sloaners.” Sloan’s sad girl persona, and her openness of her own journey tackling vulnerability and self-discovery, has left young adults going through similar struggles, with a true role model who is unapologetic of who she is and quite candid of the real moments of weakness she faces in her life.
“I think a lot of people, even the cool kids in school, feel insecure and sad and some people are just really good at hiding it and I never was. So I think everyone needs music to dance and party to, but everyone needs music to listen to when they’re fucked up too. It’s scary, you’re vulnerable when you’re sad, so I think a lot of people try to run from that. But I’m just glad people identify with it.”
Although she may not realize it yet, it’s clear that Sloan’s unobstructed road to her heart that she has given fans, has lead to a new awakening of uplifted confidence and self-acceptance.
“My message is just to be yourself and it’s okay to be sad and don’t give a fuck about what people think because everyone’s insecure in their own way. I went two years straight without anyone caring that I was writing songs, and no artists wanted to work with me, and I didn’t get any cuts, but at that time, I was just becoming a better writer. So you’re always improving. Every song you write you get better in one way or another.”
As far as what’s next for the sad girl? Sloan is currently recording her second EP, which to no surprise, is expected to be “still really sad.”
Images courtesy of Dari Kreitenberg; Photo Assistant: Camille Itzhaki
Stay tuned to Milk for more rising stars.