As part of today’s special series focused on new, emerging artists, we are once again honored and pleased to introduce nineteen year-old Sasha Gurney. The young singer-songwriter is from Surrey, UK, which is southwest of London. The young woman is currently studying Songwriting at The Institute of Contemporary Music in the London borough of Tottenham.
As she explained to me, her program requires her to write three songs a week, which any songwriter could tell you is challenging to do because songwriting is an emotional, personal endeavor and something that cannot be forced. Ideas take time to be generated, developed, and fine tuned, especially as one attempts to be not just a songwriter but a storyteller.
For Gurney, however, her debut EP, Bloodlines, did not spawn from her first year at The Institute. Instead, she had developed the three songs prior to commencing her post-secondary studies, although her studies have helped her refine her songs. The final product is a gentle, heart-warming collection of songs. They are songs that hit close to home for Gurney and which may have you recalling those closest to you.
You can hear Bloodlines below as well as read Sasha Gurney’s commentary on how each track came to fruition. The thing that is the most striking about the melancholic EP – which is piano-melody, dream folk – is that despite her youth and her current studies, she already is an extremely gifted songwriter. Sometimes the most stunning music comes from the most innocent and less “refined” songwriters.
Track-by-Track Commentary by Sasha Gurney
Bloodlines is the lead track from the EP – it’s the track that was probably the most complicated to record. I wrote it about my family – each verse represents the different points of view from myself, my mum, dad and brother, and the problems that may arise in being a family unit. I wrote the chorus to suggest that even though we work together well, we need space apart and being a family is about growth and staying close even when you are a long distance away from each other.
This song was a bit of a release for me. I wrote it in one sitting after coming back from a run. I had the beginning lyrics of the song and as soon as I got back home, I went to my piano and finished it an hour later. It’s written about a close friend I once had. At the time, we were at a point in our relationship where I didn’t feel like we had very much in common anymore, which was really difficult to come to terms with. Writing the song helped me understand that relationships evolve and change, and that’s just a part of growing up.
“Escape” is the first track I wrote and recorded for the EP, and probably my favourite of the three songs. I put a demo version up publicly around a year ago, using an old, out-of tune-piano and some spaghetti as percussion, so it was fun to get the chance to re-record it properly in the studio! This track is about deciding which problems in life are worth solving. I believe that if something is making you unhappy, sometimes the best thing to do is to let go – “the things we break can mend, but is it worth it in the end?”
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