Fix of You
Fix of You is available via:
Pop; Alternative; House; Electronic
16th March, 2018
THIS time around…
I am dealing with an artist I have investigated before. I shall talk about Sasha Brown and her latest track soon enough but, right now; I wanted to look at a few different things. I will look at House music and how that has developed through the years; Pop and the way that has integrated other sensations and sounds into it; artists who are passionate about their careers and promoting hard; the issue of love and relationships; London’s changing vibes and the difference between the music coming from here and other parts of the U.K. – looking at female solo artists and why we need to promote them heavily. There are few who have the same determination and drive as Sasha Brown. Modern artists need to be across every aspect of their careers. It is not good enough sitting back and watching the songs go out to the world: artists need to be involved and driven to make a difference and ensure the music is out there and spreading. That means keeping an eye on stats and who is sharing the music. I am one of those people who has to keep working and can never really sit back. Day and night; it is all about getting work out there and making sure people are reading it. Brown is the same with her music. I have been following her since the debut cut. I am fascinated seeing the way her sound evolves and what she provides with every new release. This time around, there is something special and unusual. It follows songs Model Behaviour and Parallel but, if anything, is the most ambitious and confident. I am always interested charting artists and whether they move their music along through time. Previous Sasha Brown songs have done well: there might have been that need to stick with a winning formula and not alter things that much Instead of go for an easy option; we have an artist restless and looking for the next fix. She has looked around music and seen what is out there – adding fresh layers to the music and ensuring she remains unpredictable and ever-moving.
I am interested looking at different genres and how they have changed over time. Pop is interesting in the sense it modernises and comes forward but seems to have that mobility and flexibility – retaining older strands and flavours. I am looking at House and Dance embers. House music is something I grew up on. The old-skool bangers from the crafters of House remain in the memory and have compelled my every move. I still listen to classic Dance and House music and am transported back to childhood. Whether it is Frankie Knuckles or Olive; a track like Dirty Cash and Move Your Body – we all have those songs that recall great memories and times. There is that darker, more inventive aspect of House that is a bit dirtier and raw. A lot of my favourite House tracks have brought in Pop elements and been successful in the mainstream. Those 1990s anthems have served me well but I realise, as I investigate the genre; there is that other side some of us overlook. I feel the 1980s and 1990s was the peak time for the genre: when breakthroughs were being made and Clubs were transforming. I think back to the 1980s and think about the changing face of music. There was a definite point when Pop music was ruling and House music was reserved to the underground. It never really broke through and became ubiquitous but there was a point where it gained more acclaim and respect. That increased into the 1990s and, in fact, continues into the next decade. I feel now, as opposed past decades, House is not quite as popular and iconic as it was. It is still being played and made but, if anything, Dance music is integrated into other genres: House itself is not as sterling a standalone as it was. Sasha Brown, I can imagine, grew up around the modern House legends and dipped back to the classics. Many of her peers, when thinking about changing sounds; they look at their peers and follow what they are doing – or choose a simple and familiar option.
Brown has seen how her music has charted and, rather than remain rigid; what you get now is an artist moving onto the next plain. Fix of You is not an out-and-out House song: there are distillations of Alternative and Pop thrown in. I listen to the song and there is that blend of classic and modern. There are Electronic passages and distorted vocals; a nod to the 1990s and 2000s House inventors – it all brews and blends into the pot. You have a song that is fit for modern clubs and goes away from the commercial and aimless. I feel a lot of modern House music – that integrates Pop and other genres – is either too full-bodied and fast-paced or it lacks any real passion and depth. Sasha Brown has taken an idea and matched the music to the lyrics. You get spikier, swelling tones that fuse with sexier, calmer threads. Little touches of Reggae sit inside Pop jams; it moves into Electronic and House – taking in some elements of Dance and Future-Beats. One of the things that interests me is the way Brown treats her vocals. She has a strong, soulful voice that I would like to see take more impetus and a stand. I listen to the female-scored House songs of old and notice one thing: the sheer power and panache of the vocal. I can appreciate the need, here, to produce something calmer and more seductive. In future tracks, as she takes in new themes; I would urge her to break the seal and produce something that has that sense of intensity. It is interesting seeing how modern artists inject House music into their own sounds. There is a split between 1980s and 1990s House where anthems were, perhaps, a little bolder: the modern equivalent that tends to err on the side of tease. Maybe that is oversimplified but I feel there is a lot of untapped gold waiting when it comes to House. I shall nod back to the genre in the song review – I wanted to move on and explore other aspects.
I alluded to the way Brown promoted her career and the energy she expends. I am not sure whether she has a P.R. company backing her but, in terms of her music and the way it is promoted; she does a lot of the work and never rests. There is no label doing the lifting and ensuring it gets into people’s hands. That is a good thing in many ways. Artists have that autonomy and can guide their career any way they see fit. Whilst it does mean it takes longer to get that success and popularity; it is more rewarding as you have got there the way you planned. I know how hard it is getting music into people’s ears and how many hours it takes. Unsigned artists have that responsibility and have to do so much. A modern career in music is about endless work and never resting. The benefit of taking care of your own music is you can produce a song true to you; have that personal direction and not be affected by marketing forces and the needs of the label. Sasha Brown knows where she wants to head and you can tell, with every release, what she wants to achieve and where the song needs to go. There are some good promotional shots out there – although, a bespoke shoot for each release (eight or nine images) – would give her social media portfolio an extra layer of intrigue and appeal. Away from emailing blogs and journalists; there is that social media sharing and radio tapping – linking her song to the stations and making sure they play it. Fix of You has been popping around social media and getting far and wide. She never wants to sit back and assume other people will share her music: the desire to have it trending and getting buzz is at the top of her thoughts. I know, given her determination and energy, she will be a big proposition in years to come.
The industry is hard and I am aware there are other artists like Sasha Brown out there. Brown plays around with Pop and House but, look further, and it is inevitable other artists like her will be working away. By that, I mean there will be similar sounds and sonic ideas. It is hard to be unique and stand alone. Given the mass of artists playing and working away; no new artists is immune from a sense of company and familiarity. This does not mean Sasha Brown follows others and is trying to fit into the mainstream. The way she separates herself from others is what amazes me. Few artists manage to produce such a fulsome and changeable sound. I listen to her latest single and it moves through stages and takes in new colours. The production sounds is slightly different – compared to previous songs – and the vocal is less treated and more natural. That can only come from someone reacting to feedback and keen not to be lumped in with other artists. The familiar comes when listening to the themes being explored. Artists who focus on love and relationships always run the risk of being easily figured and guessed. People who look at other subjects are less prone to comparisons and easy prediction. It is understandable a young and energetic songwriter would look at passion and love. It has a commercialism to it but, more than that, it is personal and different. Brown does not talk about attraction and sex the same as other artists. There are few clichés and plodding lines: lyrics come from her mind and there is a new spin on an old subject. It is fascinating the way the vocals, sounds and lyrics all melt and produce something fresh and evolved. So much modern Pop/House seems borrowed and has a staleness to it. Brown has moved in her own way and ensuring people remember her music – by producing something that means more to her; it does not fit into a comfy and easy hole.
Talking about love and relations is quite difficult in this day and age. By that, I mean artists have seen what has come before and realise there is little room for manoeuvre. One of the reasons I am listening to songs like Fix of You is the need to get answers and directions. Unless you are in a contented relationship – even if you are – you are looking for some input from music. I am in the position of being attracted to someone but unable to realise that desire. It can be frustrated standing outside and figuring ways to make something happen. Songs that explore love and attraction come from a songwriter’s heart but are intended to mean something to other people. That is what you can find in Sasha Brown’s catalogue. Fix of You might be more involved and comfortable – in the throes of a relationship – but there are lessons and words that I can take away. Having attraction and wanting someone can be as frustrating as it is inspiring. You are never quite sure how to initiate the first encounter and make that breakthrough. I listen to songs like Fix of You and there is something in it that provides that clarity and focus. It might sound strange but artists can, somehow, understand common frustrations and translate that into music. I am not sure what Brown’s relationship status is but I am sure she’s been in the position where she has pined for someone or felt alone. Maybe she has addressed that situation in a different way; overcome doubts and make that impression – or had to stand back and not say what she wanted to. In any sense; she has managed to take her experiences and channel that into great music. I wonder how much of her music is autobiographical. Fix of You seems to look at a current relation and someone who means a lot to Brown. Maybe it is a temporary thing: I sense something deeper and more meaningful. I can hear more confidence (in Brown) compared to Parallel – her debut single. Things have moved on and new inspirations have come to mind. I wonder how Brown’s music will move on and what her next single entails?
Whilst I try not to focus on the same artist more than once – or leave a long gap between reviews – there is something about Brown’s music that compelled me, for now, to return. It is the area of the world she is in, and the lifestyle she has, that attracts me. I have tried to move away from London and not get too hooked in the city. A lot of my reviews and interviews are based in London. That can get a bit frustrating and make me want to look at other areas. Right now, thinking of Brown, she is based in a very cool area and has a definite style and sense of confidence about her. Around the Hoxton area – she works for Hoxton Radio – you have the ultra-trendy and fashionable of the capital. Whilst her music does not mirror a sense of emptiness and ‘fashion’; her movements outside of music appeal to me. She keeps abreast of all the trends coming from the capital and the best new artists. I have listened to her radio work and she is always keen to support the finest talent out there. I can imagine she spends a lot of her spare time engaged in the cool and youthful energies of the city. It is hard not to be drawn to that sort of lifestyle. From hip bars and eateries to the stylish streets and multicultural avenues – it is a bit of a dream for any artist! Those aspects feed into her music. You listen to one of her songs and are transported into the city. Even when she is talking about romance and personal passions; there is something about the music itself that drags me into London and involved with what is happening at the moment. I feel many people overlook areas further north and what is coming from there right now. It can be hard moving from London and what is coming from here.
What I notice is the way different genres are being represented. There are Pop and House artists in the North but, to my ear, far more in London and the South. What one gets in the North is more Alternative, Rock and Indie sounds. The best music at the moment seems to stem from artists who are reflecting real life and doing something different. I am amazed by new artists like The Orielles and PINS – representing the North and providing music with something fresh and exciting. There are, I guess, Pop elements in their music: what I find is great Rock and Alternative depth. A lot of my London-based reviews are with artists working with Pop and Electro sounds. Maybe there is a reason for the split but, to me, London is all about Electronic sounds and mixing that with other genres. We do have Rock artists here but there is greater success the further up the country you get. Sasha Brown is part of a movement that really interests me. You do get artists who sound very similar to one another – it is inevitable in modern music. What Sasha Brown does is incorporates some of her contemporaries’ music and goes in her own direction. She reflects the beat of London but takes from other genres and areas of the U.K. She wants her music to appeal and compel people all around the world. Because of that, she is more adventurous and open-minded regarding sound, production and promotion. I wonder if she has plans to gig further north and take her music across the waters. That is down to her but, right now, she is accruing fans and making a big impact in music. That can only get bigger and better and she releases more material and grows more ambitious. Before I look at Fix of You; I want to talk about female artists and why we need to feature them more.
What inspires me about modern music is how female artists are taking a stand and demanding quality. We are seeing too much unbalance and unfairness come into music. Rather than provide equal festival billing and promote women the same as men; we find there is sexism and a need for change. I wonder whether that will happen soon – or whether we have to wait years for that to occur. I am not going to go into this too much but wanted to highlight the great music being made by female artists. I am not sure why there is such sexism and imbalance in the industry. You cannot claim the promotion of men – over women – is down to lacking quality (from female artists). In fact, I feel, the best music coming from new music is being made by women. Sasha Brown is an example of someone making strides and producing stunning music. In terms of quality; she exceeds that of her male peers and shows what she is made of. On that basis, one would hope she’d be given a golden pass to festivals and bigger gigs. The fact remains: being a woman means, regardless of her talents, she has to fight harder and wait longer for those chances. It is a sad sign of the times we live in. Maybe things have always been that way: the sexism we see now is growing and seeping into other areas of the industry. I hope things change soon and we ensure every artist is giving equal billing. Sasha Brown will continue to press regardless of sexism and opportunities. I know her endless passion for music will help break barriers and create parity in the industry.
Scrambled vocals and electronic tangle open Fix of You. The song starts with that head-spinning, drunken parable that gets the listener ready and, I guess, represents the head spinning and the thoughts whirring. After that brief moment; we get to the truth and the heart of the song. The beats are electronic and firm; there is a subtlety working in the back that supports Brown’s full and heartfelt vocals. She talks about being caught in the moment and, essentially, having this drug inside her. The hero and heroine have forgotten how to love in a conventional manner. Her heart us fictional and functioning; things are moving fast but, I guess, there is not a lot of conversation, commitment and mutual understanding. The duo is embracing and caught in the fire but, when there is that desire for some support and arms – maybe things are not as steady as they should be?! That is my impression hearing those early words. When things go on – and Brown reveals back-stabbing and ‘friends’ talking about them – another aspect comes through. The vocals become more processed and the song gets more urgent. Those House nods sit with Pop and Electronic and provide a busy and intoxicating cocktail. It seems the match is not approved and people doubt the compatibility. I wonder whether it is the man’s friends who have the problems. Maybe Brown is not someone they envisage would be right for the guy. Perhaps the opposite is true. The production is slick and polished and means notes and vocals and heard and understood. There is a crisp and clean sound yet one that allows a bit of dirt and sweat to come through. Brown produces a commanding vocal that looks at the ill-received passion and what people are saying. Maybe the duo is not as same-minded when it comes to their personality. What they do have is a physical attraction and burning desire – one that the heroine is unable to step away from.
I suppose that heat and intensity is something many people have been involved with. Rationale and common sense seem to lack when you have this desire and attraction. The heroine needs her ‘fix’ and rush of adrenaline. Having that ready source supersedes the voices of others. Maybe Brown has listened to others and has concerned. When the chorus hits, and the song reaches its peak; you sense she is willing to take the risk and stay in the moment. The man might not be bad, per se. He is someone who seems faithful but, perhaps, is not quite right for her. The chorus itself is a soothing and seductive delivery that has catchiness and kick underneath. Brown is masterful when it comes to penning hooks and singalong choruses. That is not to say the verses lack bite and substance: her choruses are fulsome and seriously heady. I hear the influence of U.S. R&B/Soul in Brown’s vocals. One can imagine artists like Beyoncé and Rihanna are draws – maybe a little bit of Country lingering in there? I say that because there is soulfulness about her voice. She growls and has a rawness that seems to fuse Country heartbreak and the sassy confidence of leaders like Beyoncé. That U.S. vocal sound mixes with British House and Electro. It is an interesting combination and one that succeeds. I would like to see, in future songs, that voice really rise and break out. I get the impression, through Fix of You, there is an explosion waiting to happen. Whether that is a sexual burst or a need to shout and have her voice heard – getting that intensity onto the page would give the music and extra element. The lovers are irrational and going around in circles. As the song moves through stages; you are involved in the story and what is happening. The chorus returns and seems to gain traction and new elements. I am hooked by the beats and changeable electronics; the way the song flows and constantly gets into the brain. The listener gets something edgier and darker in the verses (in terms of sound) and lighter, sunnier vibes in the chorus. It is another fantastic and assured cut from an artist who proves she is one of the most promising acts coming from London right now.
It is an exciting time for Sasha Brown. I am not sure where she goes next but I feel there must be an E.P. or album in her mind. She has released a few singles and, with every release, her stature is increasing. Maybe it is time to translate her popularity in an E.P. I know there will be London gigs cropping up as we move into spring: perhaps some performances in other parts of the country will arrive. I guess international gigs will come when more material is out in the ether. It is something Brown should consider and plan for, perhaps, next year at some point. We are considering spring and planning festivals. I know Brown will want to capitalise on her rise and play as much as she can. There are gigs out there for her but, in a competitive city, it is harder getting regular slots and standing out. Great songs like Fix of You will get her name out there and ensure people are listening to her. It is another bold and impressive move from a young artist who wants to go as far as she possibly can. I know she will get huge acclaim and success before too long. Fix of You is a song that warms the spirits and projects sunshine – at a time when there is snow and cold everywhere! Take some time out of your day and discover a great young artist who wants to add her mark to the music world. One gets nostalgic hits and modern urgency in Fix of You; long-lasting impressions and standout moments. Sasha Brown is a hungry artist with a lot…
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