We sat down with singer-songwriter Sascha Osborn, discussing everything from living life’s mystery, thriving on people and their stories to her hopes in making everyones eyes shiny with her music!
Overthinking comes naturally to many of us. But allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and wear our emotions, might not come as easy. And I suppose in that, you’re the fortunate ones if you don’t, since you prevent your emotions from taking control before your head can rationalise your actions.
We all have different ways of articulating inner expression and singer-songwriter Sascha Osborn hit home with her song: When Love Finds You.
“…Sometimes it’s hard to say how you really feel; scared in case you get it wrong; you’ve got let fear go; who said you’ve got a choice, because it don’t work that way; love is gonna find you and turn your frown upside down.”
Sascha writes tender, reflective songs that dance between jazz and folk, and it wasn’t long since discovering her timeless music that we found ourselves sharing conversation, over chamomile tea at the homely hub – The Poetry Cafe.
“Sometimes I feel something but don’t know the reasons for the emotion and writing songs can help me articulate and express what I feel, what I want to say narratively and harmonically. From the splurges, those that resonate strongly, I will then follow the idea, develop it and all being well create a soundscape to describe it.
When I hear some music, I am so moved that giddy excitement fills my belly, or I will start to well up. I love the emotions music evokes, it can simply be a heartfelt performance, a beautiful tone, a melody, rich chords, syncopated rhythms or the beauty of words, so many things that resonate. I love doodling and creating, it is soothing, energising and fulfilling. I find it magical every time when something is created from nothing.”
In-between conversation and sipping tea, the man sharing our table gets up, before saying a heartfelt goodbye to Sascha, scribbling away in a book, I later learn, is an open poetry book. Just in that moment, I notice how easy it is for Sascha to leave an impression on the people around her.
“Being mindful and present with my thoughts, feelings, observing, drawing on all my senses is important to me, it fuels my creativity and engages me with my surroundings. Living life’s mystery, I like to connect and share in our human commonality and embrace the world around me.”
While it’s innately human to drift into our own worlds, loose ourselves to our imagination, narrate and tell stories through any shape or form, our electronic devices are something entirely estranged that we have become so accustomed to, and adapted to similarly loose ourselves to.
“Mobile devices are hugely informative and have many benefits, they also offer a deluge of distractions. It can be so easy to get lost in the virtual world and lose connection with the physical world, people around you, and in turn, the art of conversation can diminish.
I saw a series of photographs created by an American photographer Eric Pickersgill, called ‘Removed’ where he had photoshopped out the devices which I found really poignant. His portrayal really illustrated our addiction to modern technology, online connectivity, social media etc and isolation from our surroundings.”
Sometimes it’s a struggle to articulate, and still we don’t realise what we otherwise take for granted, until it’s completely inaccessible. I learn that for Sascha it was through loosing her voice when a cyst developed on one of her vocal folds in 2012, that she was forced into a six-month lapse from singing. During this time she found her ‘inner voice’.
“It was a challenging time and I became a bit of a hermit, but I listened to mountains of music and started focusing on writing songs on the guitar, singing the melodies in my head. Having something taken away from me, made me realise how important it was to me to musically communicate, find and express my voice.
3 months of speech therapy didn’t resolve the issue and so I had surgery in January 2013 and after one week of complete voice rest, I started gradually speaking again 5 minutes every hour to start. Then after further speech therapy I was referred to a fantastic vocal coach, who I still see, and by Easter I was singing again.
During this time, I had also started studying jazz harmony and engaged further in songwriting which helped build my confidence and enabled me to connect my love of jazz harmony, soulful melody and descriptive lyric to create my voice.”
There’s plenty of musicians who’s hometown hasn’t always been London and finding their own feet and keeping their idiosyncrasy, is what intrigues and inspires me the most. Creating music that is true to themselves and not written to fit a particular scene/trend for the sake of art.
Moving from Leicester to Sheffield in Sascha’s early twenties was where she experienced people “playing folk music together typically in a pub where there was no divide between the musicians and the audience. Everyone sat together informally often with a pint or two, sang along as they wished, and enjoyed simple good music.”
London has been Sascha’s home for the past 10 years and it’s her solid friendships that have made her experience as a musician an enduring one. It’s clear just how much Sascha thrives on people. When she arrived in the city, knowing no one, it was her local contemporary choir that enabled her to make friends and fuel her musical career.
“It is quite magical singing in harmony with others and with the resonance it is quite physical. The same director also set up a small gospel choir which I really enjoyed, lovely way to discover more music. It was one of the women in the contemporary choir who said ‘you like jazz’ who told me about a jazz summer school in France, she didn’t go in the end but I did. It was a brilliant intensive week of music, and I returned for a number of years, and from both these worlds, I have created many musical connections.”
Speaking to Sascha is like listening to her music; it’s warm and soothing, and feels like being hugged. There is so much life and energy as we begin to touch upon performance, and her favourite gig to date. Her album launch last year at St Pancras Old Church tops them all, even days afterwards there were ‘did that really just happen?!’ moments.
“It was very exciting to play such a legendary intimate venue and hear my songs resonate inside the church walls, as thousands have before and thousands more will. The audience was a beautiful crowd of around 70 people, friends, family and more, sat snug in rows on the dark wooden church chairs either side of the aisle, I could definitely feel the love.
A good friend of mine Michael Russoff opened the evening sharing his stunning songs on piano. I had Andy Hamill on double/electric bass and harmonica, Justin Woodward on drums, percussion and vibes and Patrick Wood who produced the album on Wurlitzer and electric guitar. It was fabulous to play with such amazing musicians and people and create new live arrangements of the songs; we started with an extended version of ‘Looking Out And After’ and thereafter it was like a slow-motion dream.”
It seems fitting to tend on a note of poetic inspiration, and how the imagination can run free with “different combinations of words to create such evocative beautiful language.”
Agreeably there really is nothing like the physical book; it’s the complete experience from the touch, to the smell of the pages. And yes, bookshops are seductive, Sascha rocks forward: “Bookshops can seduce me to explore and purchase, whether it’s Oxfam or Foyles, I just need to try not to have too many on the ‘to read’ pile rather than ‘have read!’
“When I was younger, I enjoyed discovering Keats and Rossetti and in recent times I have enjoyed Rupi Kaur’s poetry. My song ‘Could It Be You’ was in fact inspired by Frank O’Hara’s book: ’Lunch Poems’ a pocket-sized book of poems which I understand he wrote in his lunch hour. The lyrics to my song were written sat on a park bench one lunch time, overlooking the River Thames.
At the moment I feel a little like a painter with an endless supply of beautiful colours to paint with! I am taking the original guitar-based songs and calling them ‘experiments’ as I find that frees the song from anything, and simply let it follow the idea, naturally. As everything ought be. Without overthought…”