Sasha Keable is back like she never left

Sasha Keable is back like she never left

by Ollie Cox
7 min

To say we were buzzing when we heard Sasha Keable was dropping her first single in two years would be an understatement. “Hold Up” sees the South London storyteller share tales of shady exes with her trademark honesty, merging jazz-infused crescendos with her signature punchy lyricism. Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Keable’s energetic, soulful sound offers an impactful reflection on the ups and downs of life with a reassuring relatability. 

To mark the return, Keable, with the help of her mate, Hak Baker, gave acting a go in a teaser clip for her new music video. Here, we see a pub-bound journey turn sour as she gets caught on the phone, where dodgy exes dominate the conversation, keeping it in the car park. 

After making her acting debut, fans were left eagerly awaiting the track. “Hold Up” is the first single released since her 2021 banger, “Killing Me,” which saw her team up with Jorja Smith and amassed more than 10 million streams. Following a few Instagram teasers in the studio, new music is finally here. With this in mind, it was only right we caught up with Sasha to talk about the new single, Colombia, and creating safe spaces through music. Take a look at what we got up to below. 

What’s the first song you listened to this morning? 

My own song because the video came out yesterday, so that was the first song I listened to this morning. The second song I listened to was my song as well. 

What is one thing about Sasha Keable that people don’t know that they should? 

I’m very honest, and I feel like a lot of people are only just finding out that I’m Colombian. If you’re my friend, then you know I’m super Colombian, but from the outside, I guess they think I’m just a loudmouth from South London. I’m just a loud mouth from South London that’s also from Colombia. 

You’ve just released your first single in three years. How does it feel to be back? 

It’s been really good. The response has been amazing, [and] I’m super grateful. It feels like I never left, but I definitely did. It’s great to have been working so hard and have had my head down for so long, and being able to show people what I have been working on. There were a lot of people who messaged me [during] that time, a lot of fans, who were like, “Where have you gone? We need new music.” But I’ve been doing a lot of Instagram lives when I’ve been in the studio, so people have seen that stuff has been coming. It’s just nice to be able to put it out, and like, this is what I have been doing for the last how many years. I haven’t just been lazy. 

What are three items you can’t live without when you’re in the studio? 

My writing book, my phone – but not because I’m like “I want to be on my phone,” just because it’s where I record all my stuff, and a pack of fags. Solid. 

What is your songwriting process like? 

I don’t really have a way that I write. Normally it’ll be melody first. But sometimes I’ll have an idea that I’ll come in with, or a subject that I want to write about. But that’s quite rare. I’m not really a planner, I’ll just go and do whatever feels right. That’s been the main thing about all the stuff I’ve written recently. I haven’t been worried about what the end result is. I’ve been going and doing whatever felt right and just letting my inner compass lead me. I think that’s why I love the music so much, because it’s whatever that music was on that day. It’s not like I’m sticking to one thing or putting myself into a box. Whatever feels right. As long as I’m working with my people, then we’re good. 

You have said you create a safe space through music. Is songwriting something that helps you get through tough times? 

Yeah, writing is like my therapy. My friends know that if I’m really upset, then at the end, when I’m coming out of it, I’ll be like, “But it’s going to make some great music, though, isn’t it?” It’s got me through everything, I’ll be real. If I didn’t have music, I wouldn’t have anything. 

The skit for “Hold Up” is playful and personal. Where did the idea for this come from? 

That was actually Jackson [Forsythe], the director’s idea. We were thinking who [we] should do it with. It just made sense to do it with Hak [Baker] because me and Hak are friends anyway, and all we do is get at each other. So it made the most sense, and it was really fun to do. I’ve never done anything like that before. It was really interesting to see another side, not just doing a music video and singing a song but actually acting a little bit. It was fun to do. 

Did Hak ever get to the pub? 

He didn’t get to the pub. It was during Ramadan, so he was actually fasting. In the scene where he drinks the beer, he had to spit it out straight afterwards and swill his mouth with water. But obviously, you can’t drink water [during Ramadan] either, so he had to spit it out. I was like, “The one day that I actually need you to drink a pint, you fucking can’t.” So he never got to the pub. He just carried on fasting. He was committed, bless. 

You’re repping South London and Colombia. How does this influence your work?  

I guess it is who I am. I never think I’m going to take this [or that] and put it together. I’m definitely influenced by my Colombian heritage and my South London side. It has never really been something I’ve thought about. I’m so proud to be a Colombian, and I don’t think it’s something I’ve shown enough. I’m writing a bit more in Spanish, which is fun and interesting. It’s a new challenge for me because I’m so well-versed in writing in English, being poetic in Spanish is something that I’ve never had to do.  I never try and be something that I’m not. 

Do you go back to Colombia a lot? 

Yeah! I go back every year. I try to spend a month out there. All my family are out there.  I’m going back this year over Christmas – that’s the best time to go. 

In “Killing Me,” you talk of “being loved by yourself.” Has your music enabled you to achieve this?

I dunno, when I find out, I’ll be able to tell you. I think I try and speak it into existence in my music, but whether I’m able to put that into practice in real life, is a different thing. I think more than loving myself, I’m just hyper-independent. That’s something I’m grateful to myself for. Actually, fully loving myself, I’m not sure. Once I find out how to do I’ll let you know, 

If there was one artist, dead or alive, who you could spend a day in a studio with, who would it be and why? 

Amy Winehouse honestly. Easy. “Tears Dry On Their Own” is my favourite Amy Winehouse song. I Love her. 

Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with us? 

Go stream the new single. It’s great. 

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