Outside Lands: Our Interview with Sasha Sloan!
Courtesy of Outside Lands by FilmMagic.com
Sasha Sloan's star is rising fast. Music started to call her at the age of 10 when she started writing her own songs. And now, after writing hits for superstars like Camila Cabello and John Legend, it's her turn to invade your ears and your hearts.
Fighting the stigma of mental illness is an ongoing battle, so it is refreshing to see an artist speak of her own struggles openly and honestly. On her opening track "Normal" from her latest EP sad girl, she tells us, "Why do I try to fit in when I Just wanna go home / I know this isn't like me, I just want people to like me."
A statement that is on point with many who suffer from anxiety.
After performing at the Panhandle stage, she took some time to hang out with us.
NON: We are a podcast that focuses on how nerd culture(video games, anime, music, fandoms, and comics) helps us escape anxiety and depression. Your lyrics are very powerful and hit home with us. Your song "Normal," especially resonates with me personally. Can you tell us a bit about that song and where the inspiration comes from?
Sasha: I am definitely an anxiety-ridden introvert and I love video games, also. So, it's funny that you mention that! I wrote that song about my move to LA to become a songwriter when I was 19. I was going to all these parties because I thought that was what you were supposed to do. I just really wanted to be at home on my couch, just gaming and watching Netflix. I just wasn't being myself. That's where that came from.
NON: So, you are a gamer! What are you playing right now?
Sasha: Right now? This is really lame, but I am going back to the games I played before that I'm really good at... and like crush them. Rise of the Tomb Raider, it's amazing. Uncharted, I just replayed The Last of Us because I know the new game is coming out soon and I wanted to remember what the story was. I also have Steam and I used to play Hearthstone a lot, but I kinda fell off because the cards got too complicated. I was spending so much money trying to keep up, but this was a dark hole for me. I love watching Twitch , Day9 is one of my favorite streamers. I am like a full-on gamer.
NON: Video Games are my escape from depression and anxiety. Super Mario is what saved me. I felt like a victim in my world, so this game made me feel like I wasn't a victim because I was the one who was saving the princess. So is gaming your normal escape?
Sasha: That...and music. I am really lucky that I have music as an outlet. I always think about that, what if I didn't have that. It makes you feel better when you can write about how you are feeling. And when people like you relate to it, it makes me feel better. I love Super Mario, also. It was my mom's favorite game. I grew up with a Wii. I had a Nintendo DS and now I have a Switch.
NON: A Switch?!? That's my jam. What are you playing on that?
Sasha: Zelda, Mario Kart....Rocket League. I love Rocket League. Never really got into Fortnite. I like games where I am alone.
NON: We know you have written songs for some the industry's biggest stars. But, is it true that you have been writing since you were 10?
Sasha: I mean, not well(laughs.) I'm super lucky, I got signed off of Reddit when I was 18. I've been working my way up to bigger writing rooms. Just to have some of my songs come out, there are millions of songs written every day. And to have one come out and do well, it's like hitting the lottery.
NON: So have you always wanted to be a singer? Or was writing songs what you wanted to do?
Sasha: I was doing both. I knew I was an artist the whole time, I just didn't who I was yet. I was really scared of who I was. Because I'm not like a shiny pop girl and I knew I didn't want to be that. So, I started releasing music once I accepted the fact that I am just...me. And I'm weird and awkward and insecure I think that's fine. I am embracing that now.
NON: One thing we usually stress is that, "it's ok to NOT be ok." Do you have any advice that may be suffering from mental illness?
Sasha: I think...it's not to give up. And don't stop wanting to get better...because when you stop wanting to get better then that's
when you won't.
Always keep some hope in there. For me, that's the hardest thing. I have to really want it. It can be easy to be self-destructive. There can be days when it gets better but you can have days that it gets awful again but that doesn't mean you were back to where you were again, it can just be a bad day.
NON: You are in the middle of a tour. That's stressful in itself. How do you try to stay focused and find a way to get back to normal?
Sasha: It's just keeping people around you that know who you really are. Everyone in my team and crew knows the real me. We are all family and I can completely be myself in front of everyone. It keeps me really grounded and happy. The second that I start to feel like I need to fit into a box is when I start to lose my mind. It's all about keeping good people around you who care about you and who you care about.
NON: OK, last question. Your song "Ready Yet," is another powerful song. On stage you mentioned, "it's time to get emo." Can you talk about this song and what it means to you?
Sasha: This song is about my Dad, but everyone thought it was about an ex-boyfriend. My Dad and I have a really complicated relationship and it kinda fucked me up for a lot of my life and I didn't really realize it was. We didn't talk for a long time and then he reached out and I wasn't ready yet to talk to him. That's literally the message I sent him, "I love you and I always will but I'm just not ready to talk about everything and have a relationship yet." I was super depressed that night and anxious. I couldn't sleep. I had a session the next day and this song just poured out of me. I've never felt that in my life. That was another sign that I needed to start releasing music. I finally feel something.
NON: We relate to that on so many levels.
Sasha: I hope people see me and know that they are not alone. Someone else is going through that. I don't think there are enough artists doing that right now.
We are definitely rooting for you, Sasha Sloan.