For British singer songwriter Sasha McVeigh, music was an integral part of her life from a very young age. Ever since making a two week trip to Nashville in 2012 and playing places like Tootsies and The Rutledge Sasha's career has been on a quick ascent both in the UK and US. Most recently, she released her well received record, I Stand Alone, and is currently in the US playing numerous festivals and winning over fans at every performance. A day after playing at the Taste of Country Festival in New York state, Sasha graciously took the time to talk about the record, reaching fans in the US and more.
We last spoke about a year ago and since that time your career has really taken off! Has it been a whirlwind for you?
It has been absolutely incredible! The other day at the festival [Taste of Country in NY] was one of those moments that you can’t quite believe. Everything that has been happening in the UK has been phenomenal, but to have it happen here [in America], it feels like one of those out of body experiences. The boys and I were the first act of the day and being a new artist, by most standards, we didn’t know what to expect from the crowd. It turned out to be insane, just fantastic. We were doing original songs and there were people in the audience that knew the words to my songs….it was crazy! Then we did “Country Roads” and people were running to the stage to sing along! After, I did meet and greets and there were about 150 people to meet me! The festival said they’ve never seen this many people for a newer artist. Then, I was asked to perform the National Anthem right before Toby Keith’s set. There were over twenty thousand people there singing the anthem with me. I have never experienced anything like that before. It was unbelievable!
That is quite a reception! In the UK, you recently co-headlined a tour with Sonia Leigh. From all of the posts on social media it seems the tour was very well received and that the two of you became fast friends.
Our meeting was meant to be and now she is like my sister! I had a friend I met in Nashville when I sang on Broadway in 2012, Mike Rizzy, who was the temporary drummer on Zac Brown Band’s ‘You Get What You Give Tour' and also played drums in many of Sonia’s videos. He mentioned to me that I really needed to meet her and write with her, but I though “yeah sure, like Sonia Leigh will ever want to talk with me!” But we began messaging each other on Twitter, met up, saw one another’s shows and that’s where the idea the tour came from. She’s a wonderful, genuine person who is just amazing to watch perform. I am so grateful to have her as a friend. We definitely plan on doing something together in the states, it is just a matter of our schedules aligning.
Congratulations on the recent release of your album, I Stand Alone, which was Kickstarter supported. The success of the project really speaks highly of your fan base.
The fans getting involved way they did, that was priceless, but it was a very stressful process let me tell you (laughing). I had confidence people would be supportive, but everyone is struggling with finances at the moment and I never knew if I would make the goal and because the way Kickstarter is structured, it is all or nothing. We did it though and I wouldn’t have an album without my fans and friends. I am hugely thankful to everyone who pledged the album, even it was a pound or a dollar.
The album contains ten original tracks. Did you have a hand in writing them all?
I wrote all of the songs on the album, co-writing three of them, “You Only Live Once,” “Hot Mess” and “Crooked Road.” The record is full of personal songs and really is a snapshot of my life so far. The best way for people to get to know me is to listen to my music because I put myself out there. I wrote one song when I was fourteen and another when I was seventeen. The songs go from that time [teenage years] until I recorded the album. People can hear all about the relationships I’ve had over the years (laughing). The biggest compliment to me though is when people come up to me in the meet and greets and tell me that they relate to a song or that a particular song has helped them. it's a great feeling.
It’s a huge compliment and must be a wonderful feeling to have people relate to your songs. Are there plans for a single?
At the moment “Hot Mess” was released in North America. As far as pitching to radio and a radio tour, that is a process that I am not in a position to do yet as an independent artist. I’ve had great support though. Big D and Bubba had me on their show which was unbelievable! For me, as long as a radio station is playing something I don’t mind what it is! My attitude is if an opportunity presents itself to just go for it. Right now, I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more. I really couldn’t.
Being that the tracks are all so personal, why did you chose I Stand Alone as the title of the record?
I wrote that song when I was fourteen. I was bullied a lot in elementary and high school and that was a song I felt like I needed to write at the time. I wanted to assert myself, to let people know I wasn’t going let that [bullying] change who I was. I think when you’re a teen you go through a lot of those stages like, maybe I should dress this way so people like me, but I decided that I’m not going do anything like that. I‘m going to write the song and have it be my mantra. When I went to record the album that song wasn’t even on my radar since I’d written it such a long time ago, but my producer got hold of an old demo and said that we had to put it on the record. He thought people would really love it. I took the attitude that this is a song that really helped me so maybe I can use it to help other people by putting it on the record.
While making the record, a lot of people tried to be helpful, but in the end I felt pulled in many different directions. Sometimes in the music business, people try to mold and shape you; for example people would suggest to have a song sound one way or to use certain instruments and it got to be too much. It was like, “is this supposed to be my album or is this supposed to be for someone else?” So I Stand Alone is me telling everyone “look I am going to be me.” I wanted to make an album that I could be proud of and that my fans could be proud of. I think it worked out as the perfect title. I didn’t want any regrets with this record and I definitely don’t have any regrets. I couldn’t be prouder of this album. Its 100% me.
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