I first witnessed Sasha Marie grace the stage back in 2016 when she performed with the likes of Snoh Aalegra, IAMNOBODI, and ESTA. Since then, the San Diego selector and Soulection representative continues to reign as one of my personal favorites especially with “Current Mood” and “Rose Is A Rose” staying in heavy rotation. Sasha channels pure emotion with her delicately-crafted mixes for fans to indulge in, creating a truly unique experience.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Sasha about her creative process, Amy Winehouse, and what she has planned in the near future. Dive into her guest mix and our full conversation below.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Sasha Marie. I am from San Diego, born and raised. I DJ for a collective in Los Angeles called Soulection. I love music, I love film, I love art.
How did you get into the creative scene? Was it music first?
I was always inspired by my dad’s record collection. He was a lover of music of all kinds, but mostly oldies. We would just sit and talk about certain artists. I wanted to start exploring the different sounds. I loved old music and new music and I just started from there. When I was in high school, I saved up for my first laptop and I started playing with GarageBand. I started making these really terrible beats, me trying to sing with my terrible voice over them. After that, I asked my dad if I could have turntables and he got me them—I think it’s called a Battle Pak. There just super cheap, plastic-y turntables and a super cheap mixer. That’s when I started learning how to DJ.
Are you still interested in music production? How’s that going?
It’s going [laughs]. I actually just bought a new laptop because the laptop that I had I just used strictly for DJing. I also just purchased Ableton—I’ve been messing around with that. I really just need to keep going with it and be consistent.
What do you love about DJing and why is it something that’s stuck with you?
More than DJing, I’ve had a love for putting together mixes. I love creating soundtracks to people’s lives. I get to express myself a lot more with my mixes than I’m able to DJing, but I love DJing because I love being able to control the energy in a room and get people excited, happy, and dancing. With DJing, I’ve traveled all over and I’ve really had the opportunity to meet some amazing people and other artists.
Is there a favorite moment or memory that you’ve had that’s come from either DJing or people showing love for your mixes? You’ve got hella mixes [laughs]. That’s the soundtrack to my studying for sure.
Not so much a favorite moment, but the amount of love and messages I get from people who tell me how much my mixes resonate with them or have helped them either with studying, or maybe they’re going through a break-up, or they recently lost someone, or they’re just going through a hard time, or they’re happy and having fun. The messages I’ve received from people have been amazing like as if they know exactly what I’m going through and I know exactly what they’re going through. We can communicate through the music.
What’s your creative process like when you’re making these mixes?
It’s usually a reflection on what’s going on in my life. I’ve always resorted to music to being my outlet whenever I’m going through something. It’s really an embodiment of how I’m feeling at the moment.
In my research, I discovered that you’re also a very big Amy Winehouse fan. Can you tell us a little bit about what she means to you?
She was an artist that me and my dad really loved together. I remember showing her to him and he was just so ecstatic and just loved her voice so much. We really shared that connection. Amy is a talent, a voice, and a story that we’ll never get again. She’s one of a kind. I could listen to Frank over and over again. Her story’s so sad, honestly. She’s an amazing talent that was lost too soon. Being able to connect with my dad was something that really hit me in my heart.
I feel like it was one of those things that we started realizing too late unfortunately. The importance of mental health in general—we saw it happen live but no one did anything.
Totally. It’s so crazy watching that documentary, too, how you get a little bit more insight. It’s like, “How long did we get a healthy version of Amy Winehouse? How many more pictures are there of her looking skinny and rundown versus her being healthy?” It’s crazy. Mental health is so important. I feel like especially in the entertainment industry, people need to stop expecting so much from these entertainers. I remember my dad noticed her getting really thin and all these things. He went onto her website—my dad was a lot older so he wasn’t very knowledgeable about computers—and he found something where you could send them an email. I remember he wrote them an email like, “Amy, you need to slow down. Don’t let the drugs take you down.” I remember him doing that and being like, “Oh my god, dad, she’s probably never going to read that, but that’s really sweet of you.”
That’s wild. Being on the road and being an overall busy person in general, how do you manage everything and take care of yourself when you’re balancing life?
I don’t think I’ve found balance yet in my life to be honest. Over the past couple of years, I have gotten a lot busier with music and traveling. I try to meditate as much as I can, although I haven’t been very consistent with it lately. That’s something I’d really like to get back into. I journal a lot in the mornings—that helps. Also seeing my best friends, spending time with my dog and my girlfriend—my girlfriend really holds me down. I really do struggle with balance. Sometimes I’ll be out and come home totally drained and exhausted. I’m trying to find a happy medium, y’know? We all have to figure out our own routines that make us feel better that we have to stick by day by day. Speaking about the mental health thing, I inherently deal with a lot of anxiety as it is, so I’m really in a space where I’m trying to find something that is going to help me when I’m on the road. It’s a lifelong journey. I don’t know if anyone ever finds balance. I think it’s just keeping yourself in check.
I think it’s all something we strive towards, but whether or not we actually get there, we’re still working towards it.
Yeah. I guess that’s the point right? You’re always trying to do something better for yourself or you’re learning. I’m definitely a lot better on the road now than I used to be a couple years ago, so I guess that’s the progress right there.
Can you tell us a little bit about Sevdaliza? You got to open for her, too?
She’s this incredible, not-from-this-world artist. Her music is like a combination between Portishead and Massive Attack and this industrial sound with hints of R&B and electronic. I love the way that she presents herself in-person and on social media. She always has some deep stuff to say. The way that she carries herself is really inspiring as an artist. I’ve read a couple interviews on her and her background and one of the things that really stuck out to me is that she also deals with anxiety and the things that she does for it as an artist. It just really made me feel connected to her. There’s a power that she has that I want to inherit myself—a confidence more than a power.
She’s toured for a while and that’s when I opened for her in San Diego and Los Angeles this year and she killed it—she did the damn thing. She hasn’t been singing for that long of a time, but it’s like she knew that it was in her all along. She has an amazing voice and presence to her.
One thing I realized is that I’m not afraid to fanboy or fangirl anymore. I just let all that shit out because people love that.
There are so many artists in the world, but there’s only a handful of them that make me feel like “wow.” Seeing Sevdaliza live hit every sense, every emotion, it was so beautiful. It was dark, light, a lot of different things in one. I love when artists can transport you to a different space in yourself.
Moving on to more things that start with S, can you speak about the Soulection family and how you linked up?
I love them so much. Andre [Power] was the first person I ever met in Soulection. I met him here in San Diego because he used to live here. I remember I was “DJing”—I wasn’t even that good—at my friend’s shop in North Park and Andre was like, “Let me hop on.” This was before ‘Dre even started DJing. He was going through my library and he was like, “Yo, you have good music taste.” We started hanging out more and he introduced me to Soulection. I was going to his events like Art in the Park—he let me spin at a couple of those—and it just happened. That was the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013. Soulection has been and will always be a huge importance to me. Being a part of this collective has seriously changed my life in more ways than one.
It’s been really crazy to see Soulection grow from a record label to this empire in a sense. It used to be just like, “Oh, we’re putting out stuff on Bandcamp” and now it’s like “Oh, we’re putting out stuff everywhere.”
It’s amazing. Joe [Kay] and Andre and the rest of the team have worked so hard to get it to where it’s at now. It’s beautiful.
How has San Diego influenced your career?
SD, 619! [laughs]. I grew up in Chula Vista. I used to feel like there was not a lot going on in San Diego. I felt very—not alone, but that I didn’t find a lot of people that were listening to the music that I was listening to until I met Andre and other people that he was friends with. We shared this love for the same sound. That’s when the sound that you hear for Soulection and other things started growing here. I felt less like I was the only person in San Diego that liked this scene and I feel like it’s been growing ever since.
I used to have a huge chip on my shoulder about San Diego because I felt like we weren’t doing anything that was new, but I really feel like we’re in a space right now where we’re pushing for community and different types of spaces where we can express ourselves and whatnot. I’ve always loved San Diego—I love living here—it’s just that for a while it felt really hard to find my niche.
As a creative, what are your thoughts on social media? Is it more of a pro or a con?
I think it’s a pro and a con at the same time. It obviously helps me stay connected with people who don’t live it San Diego. It helps me promote myself more and what I’m trying to do—my shows and my mixes and whatnot—but the con part about it is how sucked into it I get sometimes. I’ll just be scrolling endlessly and being distracted instead of working on things I need to work on. I think we’re all guilty of this, but sometimes I find myself comparing my success to other people as well. Comparison is the thief of joy, and I don’t want that. I want to try to stay off of social media as much as I can, but I also can’t at the same time. Even the way the algorithm works—if I’m not posting, then nothing is going to be seen. It’s kind of this purgatory, I guess, and trying to find balance with it. We’re all zombies now anyways, right? [laughs].
What’s next for you?
I’m trying to work with more people in San Diego and elsewhere, creating more events. I’m really tryna explore my love for film, so I’ve been trying to shoot more videos and whatnot. If I have any friends out there that want to make a video or any people that I don’t know that have the resources, please hit me up! Just exploring all my creative avenues, traveling more for DJing, and everything.
What is one lesson that you want to share?
Tell the people you love how much you love them, honestly. That might sound kinda cheesy, but it’s so real. I think we take for granted how blessed we are—to just be waking up, you know what I mean? To have wonderful people around us. If there’s anybody wonderful in your life, you should tell them how wonderful they are.