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Band of the Week: Sasha Sloan 

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Photo by Kate Biel

MEET THE BAND:Sasha Sloan (vocals)

A PIANO PRODIGY: Sloan grew up in the Boston area and taught herself to play piano when she was only 5. "I guess I've always been doing music.My mom had this piano in our apartment in Boston," she explains. "I'm not that good at piano now, but I was pretty good then. Back then, I listened to whatever my mom had in the house. She had the Carpenters and Jackson Five and acts like that." Sloan moved to Los Angeles in her teens to pursue a career as a songwriter and quickly hooked up with the guys from Kaskade for their tune "Phoenix." "That was insanely hard," she says of the move. "I was only 19. I had no clue. I couldn't even drive a car. There were lots of learning curves. I grew up on old-school music and then I got into the pop writing scene. It was really tough, and I had to get some side jobs." Sloan has also written songs for artists such as Idina Menzel, Maggie Lindemann and Camila Cabello. "Songwriting can be a tough game, but the key is to find your people," she says. "I met some other collaborators who I could work with, and that really helped."

AN AUSPICIOUS DEBUT: Sloan raised eyebrows with her first EP, last year's Sad Girl, an album that introduced her confessional songwriting. "That was terrifying," she says of making the record. "I had written 'Ready Yet,' a song that was really personal, and I thought no one else could sing it, so that's what motivated me to make the EP. It's really scary starting with absolutely nothing." She followed up that EP last year with Loser and then returned earlier this year with Self Portrait. "I think for me, it's about keeping the lyrics really honest," she says when asked about her approach on Self Portrait. "I was over-thinking it with the first two EPs. With Self Portrait, I realized if it feels good in your bones, you should go with it."

ONE TO WATCH: After she released her Self Portrait, Billboard magazine put Sloan in its "One to Watch" column. The EP has received close to 50 million streams worldwide and includes previously released tracks, "Smiling When I Die" and "Dancing with Your Ghost," which has over 23 million views on YouTube and 20.7 million worldwide streams. The song was also featured in the HBO show Euphoria.

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HER:

"Thoughts," the evocative opening track on Self Portrait, features percolating synths and soft vocals, and the brisk "Keep On" serves as an inspirational ballad. "I had a tough summer and started getting proper panic attacks," she says of "Keep On." "It's about me telling me in the middle of a panic attack that it's all good." A Grammy party inspired the sardonic "At Least I Look Cool." "I was at a Grammy party and fucking miserable," she says. "I just hate that shit so much. I went home and got really stoned and wrote that song as a joke. I think someone heard it and said I should put it out. It came out as a freestyle, which never happens for me." She says she hopes to drop an album next year. "It was important for me to have a little project to find my sound before I tackle a full-length," she says. "I just wanted to build and grow."

WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HER: sadgirlsloan.com.

WHERE YOU CAN SEE HER: Sasha Sloan performs with Winnetka Bowling League at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights.

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