Sasha Keable’s glossy Instagram gives us much to fawn over and admire, but she reminds me that the life of an independent artist is “literally 1% glamour.” Behind it, Keable is a real person with visceral frustrations and desires, which makes her music all the more relatable. We speak about the pressure of actually maintaining a strong social media presence; it sounds easy but, when you’re supporting Common, touring with Ezra Collective, and preparing for sold-out performances as Sasha is, people forget that social media is still a form of marketing. We wonder, out loud and with a lot of expletives, if the pressure for women to constantly post ‘engaging’ content is just another modern manifestation of misogyny.
“I would say that 50% of the people on my Instagram follow me because they give a fuck about my music, and the other 50% give a fuck about me purely because of what I look like on Instagram,” she rationalises. Her music, for one, is certainly worth giving a fuck about. She writes about “Relationships. How much I hate men. How much I love men. How much I wanna have sex. How much I don’t wanna have sex… They’re the [themes] I always come back to, and the ones I love writing about.” She explains that songwriting is a form of therapy for her, and one that she could not process her emotions without. “To me, there’s no point in being an artist if I don’t write my own stuff,” she reasons, “I’ve learnt a lot about myself from being on stage and how open I am and comfortable within myself.”
To listen to Keable’s music is to experience her heartbreak and feel her frustrations. It feels superficial to try and fit it into one genre, a sentiment with which she agrees: “I don’t really pay attention to genres that much because everything’s become so accessible right now.” But, for the sake of description, imagine a fluid cross between soul, RnB and jazz, all wrapped up in a bow of Keable’s creation that often comes wonderfully undone. Fittingly, there’s more to the dulcet tones we hear from Keable; her live performances are even more captivating, her body language a perfect vehicle for conveying her lyrics. She tells me that performing gives her a new way to experience her songs, telling me how, “when you get on stage, you can interpret that song in so many different ways; how [I’m] feeling that day can change how [I] perform it.” Take a look at her “Mahogany Sessions” for a taste of what I mean.
Keable has two sold-out performances coming up: OSLO in Hackney on 12/12, and Village Underground in early 2020. But, despite possessing such an undisputed talent, Keable sometimes feels like she has Imposter Syndrome, and that “it all feels a bit surreal” to have people love and respond to her music. “I constantly feel like someone’s going to turn around to me and say, you’re an absolute fake,” she meditates. She finds it hard not to allow creeping seeds of doubt in, thoughts along the lines of: “Did people really buy tickets or is someone trying to stitch me up?”
“It’s mad,” she continues. “I get so many messages every day from fans who are so kind and so nice and even though I am pouring my income into making music, I still feel like people are doing me a favour when they’re [that kind.]”
So, what’s next? Keable is “constantly on” trying to find ways of making her craft better, bigger and more accessible, all while processing the emotions that come with being in her mid-20s. “I’m about to do my 2020 list of what I want to achieve: to go and do a UK, Europe and hopefully US tour, another headline show…” The list is endless, and Sasha Keable promises me she shows no signs of stopping.