PHOTO CREDIT: @nastassjathompson
Parallel is available at:
Alternative; Electro; Pop
14th July, 2017
Sasha Brown, Joe Kearns and Jason Elliot
AFTER a brief excursion to New York…
PHOTO CREDIT: Anne Laymond (1883 Magazine)
and an investigation of Josh Michaels – I am faced with a homegrown talent who is already making an impact with her single, Parallel. I shall come to look at that – and Sasha Brown, no less – in a minute but, before the, and bearing her in mind, I wanted to look at a few things. I will talk about multi-talented artists and their scarcity; the capital and how I feel more bonded to the people and its music; those who have radio experience and can bring that to music; songs that look at relationships in a different way; those musicians tackling Pop and adding something new to it – female artists who are working hard and deserve exposure. I shall also look at social media and promotion but, before then, I want to look at artists who have a lot of skill and ability up their sleeves. With Sasha Brown, one gets an excellent songwriter and singer but there she is a musician too. A lot of today’s artists rely on other people to write for them and perform every part of their song. What you are left with is the voice and, sadly, good looks – marketed and exploited to the hilt. Sasha Brown, sure, is striking and beautiful but is someone who will never fall into the trap many of her Pop peers do – exploring beauty and sexuality for views, sales and success. Brown is a strong and defiant artist whose original and personal songwriting is doing all the talking. She is a saxophonist and, one feels, has a compositional curiosity that could not only see her learn new instruments – she had the knowledge and ability to add more elements to her music and explore new genres and possibilities. Whether we will be getting a horn-rich Jazz-Rock song – in the manner of early-days Steely Dan – or a sassy Beyoncé-style floor-filler in the next few months, I am not too sure.
Parallel benefits from a young woman who has an affinity and understanding of music that is not as prevalent as one might imagine. I look about the mainstream/new music and I see divisions. On the one hand, I look at the Pop/Soul/Alternative market in the underground and I am pleased to report hysterical talent and promise. Yeah, there are a few artists who need a swift kick up the arse by, for the most part, I am seeing so much talent flow through. Artists taking care of their music and imposing personality, control and direction – with an eye for instrumentation, nuance and mobility. In the mainstream, there seems to be less of that occurring. I know that word gets a bad-rap but, as we know, there are mainstream artists who have created some exceptional music this year. From Lorde and Charli XCX through to Sampha, Lucy Rose and the xx – some of this year’s best albums. The mainstream Pop demographic has a political and ideological division that is making it confusing and challenging for unsigned artists. You have those who are in the big leagues and deserve to be: writing their songs and performing music of the highest order. There is that rancorous and fetid collective of Pop performers who are processed-to-crap and have an army of writers dictating, controlling and directing. I shall not name anyone but we all know those pout-to-the-camera, dime-a-dozen artists who are produce anodyne, generic and insipid Pop. I will touch more on that later but what galls me about those artists is the lack of ability and talent. They hardly expend any effort creating any music/lyrics themselves and, often, sit back and watch a team create their music. When they get to the stage/forefront; one sees a rather faceless and dead-eyed artist churning out by-the-numbers songs. It is a depressing thing to see but a commercialism that has existed for decades. It is more pronounced in a digital age: there are more artists than ever and, I am afraid, that pre-teen/’tween’ market lusts after music with little depth or build-up – something instant, easy and uncomplicated. Maybe I am being too black-and-white and simplistic but I am always plump for musicians like Sasha Brown. She has the ability and hunger to carve up her own empire in music – a rational and genuine artist who wants to bring the public music that will endure for years to come.
I am envious of Brown because, in my view, she has a life I idealise hugely. I can imagine her apartment/flat would be quite Hoxton-modern: minimalist and modern with white-painted chairs and flower-boxes on the windows – a great view of a charming part of London with, perhaps, a cat scurrying around the kitchen now and then. Maybe that is a romantic vision that does not exist but I know two musicians who recently rented a stunning place in London – I can imagine their life is like that. Maybe Brown’s living arrangements are different but, in terms of her success, job and situation – this is something I am jealous of. Every time we hear something horrible hit the capital, I feel more bonded and united to its people. We have endured terrorist attacks and Grenfell; acid atrocities and some near-misses. From small-scale events to apalling loss of life – London has a resilience and togetherness that sets an example to the rest of the world. Sure, there are problems in the city – the immodest rent prices and fact the people are more sane and sensible than the rest of the U.K. – but there is so much on offer for the ambitious, young and curious. Brown is in a city that seems perfect for her. I will talk about her radio career soon but it is not only the landscape and people that will compel and motivate her – there are so many great musicians so close by. From upcoming Urban talent like Loyle Carner and Dave; scuzzy bands such as Goat Girl; Pop duos like MissDefiant. That is only touching the surface because, in terms of those new musicians, a lot of it is not being represented. I look online for those ‘London Artists to Watch’ and have to stick together bits from various sites.
The perfect thing about London is its links to the rest of the world. Brown is part of a city that attracts artists from around Britain and the world. I see a lot of American acts coming here. The fact we have so many great venues means a wealth of fantastic and interesting artists are hitting London. In terms of music cultures; I feel London and Manchester have the best acts, labels and venues in the country. London is a unified city but has its compartments and sectors. The flavour of music in the East of the city differs from, say, Brixton or Westminster. There is no such thing as a ‘London sound’ which means getting a handle on it will be tough. I hope the media does collate a genuine list of the best artists in London as, what I am seeing, is bastadisation and gerund assessments of great acts – we need a rundown that breaks artists into genres, location and age. A, theoretically, London Music Directory could give a map of the capital and put all the artists on there. If one wanted to find all the great Indie bands in Hackney, they could. If you need to know the best Pop acts from Greenwich then that would be possible. It sounds complicated but the reason I highlight this is because Sasha Brown is an artist who deserves a lot of acclaim. If one, anywhere in the world, could discover her music – in the context of London – then that would open more doors. In any case; I am fascinated by the banquet of London music and how inspiring it is. Every time the city comes under attack; it seems to have an opposite effect: people come through and join; many want to live here and do not care about any dangers. There has always been that vibrant and opportunity-laden music scene that is seeing acts like Brown conspire and dream. Parallel is a song born from a personal space but, one feels, born from the beat of the London streets.
PHOTO CREDIT: Anne Laymond (1883 Magazine)
I have already proclaimed my passion for Sasha Brown but the reasons extend beyond her music and personality. In terms of what she does; it seems like she is in a really cool place. If one is unfamiliar with Hoxton Radio – they explain themselves thus:
“Hoxton Radio sits at the top of the pyramid setting trends and influencing Londoners across habitual pop culture pursuits.
We innovate in bringing the freshest insight into fashion, style and new trends bringing fresh music to the airwaves, art to our viewers and picks in food, photography and creative networking across East London.
Our partners include Old Spitalfields Market, Tate, SOS Rehydrate, Frame, Supermalt, Eventbrite, The Hoxton Hotel, Vice, Intel, Shopcade, Tate, V&A, UAL, Foffa Bikes, The Breakfast Club, London Fields Brewery and Hackney Council.
Amongst our roster sits Ashley James, Stefanie Jones, Arielle Free, The Preshaah, Liam Young, Elspeth Pierce, Charlotte de Carle, Sabrina Carder.
Hoxton Radio works closely to support the arts and run in depth coverage for First Thursdays with previews, artist interviews, analysis and editorial coverage on air and online”.
I am not sure what their recruitment policy is at the moment but, God help me, it seems like a Paradise for an ambitious presenter/D.J. In my mind, my perfect situation in life would be working for BBC Radio 6 Music – as a producer or music news presenter – and living somewhere like Hoxton or Hackney. I would be able to do the dream job and, in the evenings, drink in the multicoloured carnival of the London nightlife – a casual cocktail down at Nightjar or a more vivid rooftop night at Queen of Hoxton. Hoxton Radio seems like a station one would be pretty comfortable in. They present fashion broadcasts and talk about culture; focused on interviewing and promoting new musicians – always keeping one eye on classic music and the best artists from the past. Yes, it is ultra-cool and youthful but has a vibe and quality that is hard to ignore. I shall step away from my ‘subtle’ bits at a proxy job interview but know Sasha Brown is one of the most important and talented additions to the roster.
PHOTO CREDIT: @nastassjathompson @zarakaplanmakeup
She, not only, is surrounded by some great people in a stunning location – Spitalfields is right there: right in the beating heart of London’s fashionable quarters – but has that ever-vital work experience. She takes to the airwaves and, not only gets to hear, first-hand, the freshest artists in the capital – Brown has that knowledge of promotion, interviewing and ‘selling’. She helps boast other artists and has a front-row seat in terms of P.R. and exposure. Not that Hoxton Radio allows her the chance to big-up her own music relentlessly – more is the shame but one must have an ethos and discretion – but few musicians have such a knowledge of the inner-workings of music and what stations like Hoxton Radio are all about. It might be small compared to, say, BBC Radio 6 Music but it is one of the finest radio stations in London. The blend of music played and features mean it appeals to a broad demographic: its market-share extends beyond the Über-Hip stalls of the market and its patrons. I hope Brown remains at the station because, looking at her social media feed, she is travling the world and interviewing great artists. If she is able to balance the encroaching and increasing demands of a music career with the day-to-day of the D.J. world – then, she will have the best of all worlds. The two are connected and bedfellows what will help expedite her passage to the mainstream. Having that background in radio gives her the advantage regarding getting her music out there and to the right people. Not only that but she has that enviable reality of not having to take on a job she hates to fund her career – so many modern musicians work several jobs in order to make their dreams work. Even if you take an internship position; one can go to a station like Hoxton Radio and see how the ‘machine’ works. It is an invaluable insight into radio and the music world as a whole – for someone like me, who wants to reach the Elysium of BBC Radio 6 Music, having that convenient and near-located experience at somewhere like Hoxton Radio, that would be immense. Brown, by virtue of her tender years, is on a trajectory that, I feel, will result in chart success and national radio presenting. I look forward spectating her assent and drive. There are few artists that have such a zeal and passion for what they do.
PHOTO CREDIT: @nastassjathompson
This brings me, rather neatly, to why I feel Brown will succeed. I will come to look at my last two/three subjects in a bit but, coming back to Hoxton Radio; Brown has a wonderful attitude towards promotion and spreading her music. Looking at Hoxton Radio and their website; one cannot help be staggered by its design and looks. It is easy to understand and looks beautiful. Considering a lot of their focus is on fashion and London’s stylishness; it should come as no surprise the website is so good-looking and stunning. Brown takes a similar approach and ensures her official website is striking and informative; her social media pages are updated and refreshed constantly. You get a direct look into a bold and hungry young artist who wants to succeed. There are few that have the same energy and work ethic as Sasha Brown. So many artists overlook the necessity of having photos, information and news on their pages. One gets a lot of wonderful images of Brown; a biography and news of what she is up to. That is great for a fan but indispensable for a journalist. It is easy collecting shots to put in a review and one gets an understanding of what makes her tick and compels her music. Right now, Brown is on Hoxton Radio duties elsewhere but, in the past week-or-so, has been on full-throttle promotional duties. Parallel has passed its release day and Brown has been pushing it out to radio stations, websites and reviewers. Many artists have P.R. companies and labels doing that but Brown, inexplicably, has found the time to promulgate and highlight her new song. Many would argue that is what every artist has to do but, I feel, Brown deserves a record deal and P.R. backing – so it could afford her more time to focus on songwriting and her job at Hoxton Radio. In any case; Sasha Brown acts as a shining example of what a young artist should be. Putting in that attention and passion can be gruelling but, if one wants their music to get to important hands, it is something that needs to happen – and not let the ball drop when you release more music.
PHOTO CREDIT: @rhona_murphy
I will tackle Brown’s expose of love and her bent on relationship intricacies but, until then, a little more on her merits as a self-promoter and artist. Hoxton Radio is that perfect boutique station that has its mind of discovering the best artists from around London. Brown can consider herself among them but never relies on her position and nepotism. What she has is the open window of London in front of her. As a D.J., she is able to interview and feature artists both upcoming and established. Seeing how they work and what they need to do to get success will rub off on her. I know she has been watching MistaJam – a stalwart of BBC Radio 1 who is among the most influential D.J.s on British radio – and would have had the time to talk to him about his radio work and the kind of places he has come from. Brown, during her job, gets to unearth an array of artists and will learn a lot about the types of venues they play and what music is coming from them. All valuable experience for an artist who is putting her first moves together. Sasha Brown is not someone who sits back and lets a team take charge of her career and where her songs end up. Instead, she is determined to do things her own way and ensure Parallel reaches the most important and influential sources (and me, obviously!). It is a hard slog and will tire her – even though she projects an endlessly positive façade – but it will reap benefits and long-term success. I am confident Brown’s fastidious and tireless commitment to music will lead her to the big leagues. I guess she has plans and ambitions in the coming years, I will get to those in the conclusion, but, from the off, she has an impressive and focused approach to marketing and promotion. Even though Parallel has dropped; there are performance considerations and ensuring the song makes it way onto local and national playlists.
PHOTO CREDIT: @nastassjathompson
Coming onto Sasha Brown and Parallel; it is, in parts, a critique on club culture and the kind of scenes Brown must experience as a young Londoner: it is a treatise on the complex and detailed intricacies of a relationship. Doubtless, Brown would have found herself entrenched in a relationship that, for one reason or the other, is not running as smoothly as she’s hoped. The reasons behind the dislocation might not be easy to explain or one-dimensional. Perhaps there will be personal differences or each party wanting different things from life. The reasons people find love and fall for the person they are with can be simple and obvious: the reasons they fall apart, rather ironically, can be very complex and unpredictable. Brown’s song, as I will show, spotlights a relationship where the two parties have love and affection but are moving in different ways – much to her chagrin and confusion. In fact, it is more about alignment and synchronicity: lovers who are on the same page but never really coming together as they should. The vernacular of love is different for everyone; the art of a relationship cannot be distilled or confined to soundbytes and easy definition. The task for many modern artists is trying to explain their dynamic and perspective about love whilst retaining an air of mystique and the personal. I feel one of the reasons Brown has chosen to write Parallel – and explain its story and background – is because there is a mass market where love songs are stuffed with basic language, predictable storylines and tattered metaphors. Looking at a lot of mainstream artists and there are recriminations, accusations and judicial vengeance. One never really glean why the relationship crumbles or anything more intricate. Brown does not look at the breakup or rush of affection: there is a forensic examination concerning the tectonic plates and personalities and how one sees two like-minded people moving forward but not gelling as they should. Parallel has an intelligent and deep motif that has a philosophical and metaphysical nature. One finds themselves supporting the heroine but thinking more about their own relations and security.
I’ll return to this point in the conclusion – as it warrants fonder explanation – but I am keen to examine Brown’s music in relation to the Pop market in general. I feel Sasha Brown is keen to add a breath of fresh air to the Pop industry. It is a complex genre that has a lot of sugary-sweet songs and commercial artists; too many acts driven by Spotify streams and download figures – their heads concerned with profit and popularity as opposed to credibility and respect. I know there are ample amounts of artists who pen proper Pop – it has an adult mind and appeals to a variegated and cross-pollinating mindset. Hoxton Radio, Brown’s employers, tends to spin Pop/music that has cooler and credible edges – less reliant on the florid and vacuous brand one hears on some national radio stations. As I type this, rather fortuitously, I am listening to a Desert Island Discs broadcast conducted with Scottish poet, Liz Lochhead. One of her song choices is Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine. That spikes something in my mind. That is a Soul classic but is a different take on love and its harsher nature. I feel Brown, whilst one cannot draw a line between her and Gaye, is more concerned with avenues not often discussed and explored in the mainstream. One can argue the word ‘credibility’ is a subjective construct. Music is very personal so how can we say what is good or poor?! I argue there is a consensus that is looking for something a little more substantial in mainstream Pop. It is the most profitable and burgeoning sector for music and the most influential – because it is the young demographic who listens; they are the ones who will dictate music trends in years to come.
PHOTO CREDIT: Anne Laymond (1883 Magazine)
If we are going to produce a generation who hold great music in high esteem; we cannot logically defend some of the Pop music we are subjected to. Crusaders and pioneering artists like Sasha Brown are not trying to overthrow the hegemony of the mainstream – they want to offer a viable alternative that can assimilate into the current Pop culture and provide young listeners with something different. So much of modern music is dictated by what is quick and instantly effective. That is okay if you want to appeal to short-term memories and those who do not want nuanced music. Artists like Lorde have produced Pop albums that show what can happen when you write adult, layered songs. She has been taken to heart and not conformed to the worst traits of the mainstream. Lorde is someone I can tie Sasha Brown to – easier than Marvin Gaye, anyway – and the kind of music that, whilst less prevalent in the mainstream, is much more appealing and intriguing. I shall wrap the introduction up wanted to highlight Parallel as a song one will be hearing a lot more of in the approaching weeks. Brown has been non-stop promoting and getting the song to the people. I am hearing from people who have heard the song and there is the impression it is different to what is out there. It has a summery vibe and distinct energy but there is an anger and explosiveness that adds something spicier and darker. There are few new artists as impressive and hard-working as Brown. She has her sights set on the future and making a big success of her career. The initial stages are always nervous and unpredictable but, so far, everything has been good and sweet. That is because, in no small way, she is a diligent and driven individual that wants to dedicate her life to music.
“All the noises make it hard” is a sentiment that instantly gets the imagination conspiring. Before then, one hears a brief electronic swell and pulse that projects some shadowy images. It is a perfect way to get the song underway: never too long and aimless; tight and compelling in its brevity. When the heroine comes to the microphone; she looks at this relationship and why things are taking a turn for the worse. The lovers are driving/moving slow in the fast lane; they are moving in different directions – it seems odd considering they are together and, one assumes, things were fine until this point. Maybe things have changed or the relationship is running its course. Brown never confesses whether there is any indiscretion and infidelity in the relationship. The two parties are looking at one another and, from the outside, seem connected and solid. We know that is not the case and there are definite cracks forming. “Play pretend to make it better” seems like one of the more heart-breaking and naked revelations from the song. It is though she is conspiring to tell a lie to save a sense of face and hurt. Putting on this mask means people in her life never get to know how bad and stressful things are. In a way, the sweethearts and kidding themselves and delaying the inevitable. Perhaps it is easier putting plasters over the splits because letting go is a final solution they do not want to entrain. I guess every relationship has its struggles so it might be premature to go separate ways when the first bump in the road occurs. One suspects this is not the first time the duo have had to encounter difficulties. Brown, in the verse, expends a little of effort providing her thoughts to the situation – it is quite heavy on narrative, exposition and language. The voice is fast and heated which gives the song a sense of anxiety and hurry. The listener is taking in one direction: when the chorus comes; that dynamic changes and the song is less accelerated. Well, in terms of vocals/lyrics it is because, in its place, is a warped, skewed and echoed electronic ‘voice’ that seems to embody the combination of emotions occurring inside the heroine.
PHOTO CREDIT: @charlicohen
There is something familiar and pleasingly tangible about the chorus. It has an oldskool vibe to it but – like Beyoncé, Lorde and the queens of Pop/R&B – that blend of easy confidence and hooks. Brown has a wariness and hesitancy but controls the song in a way one never feels the need to rescue her. There is not the sense the dam will break and the tears will come out. Rather, one hears a strong young woman who is calling her fella out and trying to confront the problems in a very mature way. In the same way as, say, Beyoncé looks at a sour love without rose-tinted glasses – Lemonade has its aggressive moments but there was candour and consideration mixed together – Brown seems like she is attempting to reconcile the divisions with a pragmatic and dogmatic approach. There are definite truths and appears there is no one-sided culpability. The beats are thick and bellicose; the swagger and defiance there – coupled with a sadness and sense of confusion. Brown rides the electronic-percussive wave like a G but reserves herself from cussing, exploding and breaking down. In a way, she is detached from the white-hot heat of the situation and viewing the relationship like the proton in the atom – never disembodied or disconnected; surveying the fragmentation with a bird’s eye view of the surroundings. Brown is not too engrossed and biased; there is never naivety that would cloud her vantage point or exacerbate the situation. Things are a mess – as she says so herself – as the need to play for the crowd is starting to wear thin. She cannot pretend and is exhausted by the emptiness and cold nature of the relationship. If two lovers are sharing a bed and a physical connection but do not have that intellectual and personal simpatico – you are not in a real relationship; more in a sexual bond. That might be alright for some but Brown seeks something deeper and more fulfilling. One cannot give their heart and time to a relationship that is bankrupt and morally fraught. It appears the guy has some culpability and Brown is not one to exonerate without good reason. One never gets the reason behind the disenchantment but things have run their course – two people with conflicting ideologies and views on what a relationship is about.
PHOTO CREDIT: Anne Laymond (1883 Magazine)
It might be iconoclastic to say this but I feel some of the finest Pop artists exaggerate and embellish songs of love/relations in order to connect with their audience – heightening their commercial appeal and meaning their songs get onto radio quicker. That might seem cynical but one hears a lack of genuineness and authority in some songs. With Brown, that can never be the case. You hear Parallel and follow its arc and tribulations. Maybe she is still invested in the relationship – it is reaching its ugly conclusion and still has some tattered feathers clinging on – but the best days are very much dead. It is quick voyeuristic spectating as one hears the heroine pour her heart out and unveil her troubled thoughts – quite hard to divorce oneself from the emotion and struggle the heroine faces. The good thing about someone young and in love is the fact heartache will be a familiar currency down the line. That might not seem positive but (it might not be the first time Brown has been heartbroken) a certain exposure and experience make future breakups easier to handle. The tender in years have a tenacity and resilience others do not share. That is not to say any upset and anger would be unwarranted: there is a sense of pain that runs through Sasha Brown’s new song. The heroine’s voice retains its proprietary blend of sexuality, seductiveness and strike – she is alluring and silky-smooth but has the high heels on (and is determined to stick them in the nuts of her doghouse-bound man). Maybe the fact she acknowledges things are past salvation gives her some closure – one can never get closure in any situation but a comparable sensation – and clarity. She is not doggedly clinging to a sinking ship hoping it will turn the right way up. Brown is in her twenties but does not display the ignorance and naivety many of her contemporaries do. It would be incongruous to suggest Sasha Brown has transcended the situation but she has mollified and mitigated her most poisonous sense of revenge and attack with passing of time and anger – not as aggrieved and dismayed as in the beginning.
Anyone approaching Parallel and expecting to hear your run-of-the-mill Pop voice – over-produced and produced to crap; lacking any emotional spectrum and inflexible to the core – will have to think again. In the first-half of the song alone, I hear so many different inflections; cadences and shades emerge in Brown’s vocal. Backed by electronic and percussive entanglement that ranges from sweaty and sexual to jungle-cruising and street-pounding – it would be hard to coalesce these diverse components into a cohesive whole. Maybe her work on Hoxton Radio – and natural exposure to variegated Electronic music – has given Brown a sixth sense and natural affinity. The composition is the arrhythmic heartbeat that defines the entropy and fragility of the relationship. It is rude and righteous enough to gain nods from the most credible and cool city-dwellers but blissed and sweet-leaf so it could traverse the islands and luscious beaches and gain the kudos and flirtatious winks of the most bronzed and bountiful bodies. In essence, its brain and bones are installed and instilled in London: the soul, essence and spirit seem to have their sights set on the beaches and warmer locales. Brown sits in the mix as the narrator and heart-acher: a staunchly brave woman who realises the relationship is ready for disposal (“All our love is all dried up”). Looking at Brown’s voice and one hears quivers and soulful touches emerge. In terms of her influence, there seems to be a blend of U.S. R&B/Pop with British Alternative/Pop. On the one hand, she has a sultry and luscious tongue with an imperious and unyielding confidence. It means Parallel sounds natural and distinct but has some familiar sounds creeping in. This will mark Sasha Brown as an artist to be reckoned with but, one feels, give her an advantage when it comes to getting the song into the wider market. There is no shortage of honesty in the song. The heroine knows things have dried and there is no real way back. It is a song that will resonate with a wider sector of the population – not just the teen/pre-teen market or females. Parallel is a rewarding song that demands repeated plays: new insights and joys can be exposed every time you hear it. Among the seriousness and potent emotion is a sense of fun, frivolity and dance-ability – this is true of the composition that is adaptable enough to rule in the clubs but primed for various radio stations and locations around the world.
PHOTO CREDIT: Anne Laymond (1883 Magazine)
I will finish this up but, before I do, look back at some of the things I addressed in the introduction. Before then, a look ahead at Sasha Brown’s year and what it holds. We are past the halfway mark of 2017 and, so far, it has been a great one for music. Some of the best albums of the last few years have been produced in the first few months of the year. This is having a knock-on effect on new musicians who are providing the world some stunning music. Brown is among that pack determined to have the same chances and platform as the big artists. Parallel is a strong and intent declaration from a young artist who could easily fall into clichés and pigeonholes. She is young and beautiful and has brought out a song about relationships. Look at the mainstream and there are plenty of people doing that. What separates Brown from the clan of empty-eyed Pop artists is the personality behind the ‘looks’. On the surface, yes, she could be labelled as an average and everyday Pop artist. Discover more about Sasha Brown and one bonds with a bright, vivacious and fascinating young woman. Parallel is no ordinary song and tackles love in a new way - I will return to this later. What I want to see if London opening its doors to Sasha Brown and providing her some chances to shine. There are so many venues close by that would eat up her music. Maybe Brown will wait until there are more songs in the ether - but I am sure she has some cover versions in her repertoire. I do not know but am sure there will be more songs/an E.P. further down the line. There is a definite passion in Sasha Brown: a need to capitalise on the affection Parallel is receiving and keep that momentum going. Whether she will put an E.P. out before the end of the year I am not certain but it would seem likely. Then, she will have more songs to take around London and rock the best venues we have. Brown will play Secret Garden Party at 12 P.M. on Saturday, 22nd July, so make sure you catch her there!
PHOTO CREDIT: @nastassjathompson
Almost finished but, before I leave, a revisit of some things I talked about earlier – London and its importance; artists who are strong, original and multifaceted; female artists and getting them promoted (something I overlooked in the introduction). London continues to impress, awe and amaze. It is a city that is at the forefront of modern music and produces some of the finest acts in the world. Not only do we have the best venues here but the most diverse and fascinating sounds around. Maybe I am biased but, the fact so many international and nationwide artists are coming here, proves my point to an extent. It remains that natural calling for those resigned to towns and villages. The same way New York provided a sanctuary and new life for people years ago: London is the Mecca and perfect location for the musical immigration. The situations are not the same but London is synonymous with its musical heritage and attractive qualities. I know there are downsides to the city – like any, in fact – but the benefits and allure outweigh any negatives. I bemoaned the fact some people I know have moved into an idyllic place in London very recently – and the fact I have a very London-centric ‘dream life’ mapped out. One cannot refute the seduction of the capital: that is especially true when it comes to music. I am determined to get there but Sasha Brown is already there. Working for Hoxton Radio, she is in the enviable position of getting to see some of the capital’s best and most eager artist come through. Against the feculent belch of the mainstream’s worst; Brown is being exposed to artists who have the chance to make positive changes in music. She is among them and in the best city to exploit her talents and determination. I looked at how effective Brown’s promotion is and that is something one cannot overlook. Too many rest on their laurels and assume a P.R. company/label will do all the hard work.
PHOTO CREDIT: Anne Laymond (1883 Magazine)
What strikes me about Sasha Brown is her many talents and how that can lead to a long career. She is a saxophonist and, in a strange way, gives her more options than you’d imagine. In terms of genres; Parallel is not pure Pop and suggests Brown will be experimenting with new sounds very soon. In any case; she is someone who can play music and more at her disposal than most of her peers. As a singer, she has a definite blend of colours and emotions that stick in the mind. Her music appeals to the heart, soul and bones. One hears a song like Parallel and gets their body moving but stops and thinks. It digs deep and makes one think about their life/relationships and the complexities of love. The music, production and vocals all shine and project so much energy, curiosity and passion. These are components that, when mixed with the enthusiasm and talent of Sasha Brown, creates a wonderful music concoction.
Brown is not someone who needs a cavalcade of people putting her music together. There is a singularity and determination that one would like to continue. I am excited to see how Brown develops and evolves as an artist – whether her new songs will tread the same path or take in new inspiration. I feel female artists have to prove themselves these days. There are fewer big chances for female artists - which is an injustice that needs to be redressed. I am unsure whether it is ingrained practices or stubborn prejudices that are prohibiting some incredible artists progressing as fast as they should. I do worry whether there will be any quick changes or easy answers but I am hopeful something will happen in years to come. In the meantime, one looks at an artist like Sasha Brown and whether she will reach the mainstream as quickly as she deserves. Sheer talent and work rate will go a long way but she warrants as much affection and backing as possible. I have run out of time, in a sense, so will leave things as they are. Parallel is a curious revelation that looks at love in a different way. Two people who seem like they are moving in the same direction but are not as in-sync and fully-formed as they should be. There is little anger and accusation: a young woman who wants to get to the bottom of the imbalance and find some artists. It is a big and stunning number from a singer-songwriter who has a lot of years ahead of her. Parallel is the start of things but, one suspects, Sasha Brown has…
PHOTO CREDIT: @charlicohen
MANY more songs to come.
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