Salt Ashes: I’m not always positive, I have to say, but I always try to shift my perspective when I am thinking negatively.
Resilience and genuine passion are some of the most crucial ingredients for becoming a successful artist. Brighton-based singer/songwriter Salt Ashes exhibits nothing less. Showcasing long-term dedication to her craft, Salt Ashes keeps up with an impressive momentum of high-quality music that is real, vulnerable, fun, and poetic.
“I’m writing like mad at the moment,” Salt Ashes says as she splits her time between writing sessions and jumping into the ocean that calms her. Enjoying the Brighton sunshine after moving from London six months ago, Salt Ashes emits a level-headed attitude and self-aware tendencies amid a brutal industry of chasing dreams.
For Head Above The Clouds, Salt Ashes offers her two cents about how to stay positive, the meaning of love, as well as her current sound, new music, and plans. In the classic sticky British weather, just in time for summer romances, Salt Ashes releases a new single, ‘Didn’t See It Coming,’ produced by Dimitri Tikovoi.
‘Didn’t See It Coming’ is a certified love-charged record that follows up her previous single, ‘Body Says,’ which was released earlier this year. Salt Ashes seem to maneuver with her heart on her sleeve, letting people in onto her inner workings, daydreams, and contemplations.
Veiga Sanchez, known as Salt Ashes, traces back to how it started. As a self-taught piano player, Sanchez dabbled in songwriting honing her voice, but it wasn’t until she was 14-years-old, she wanted to pursue a singing career properly. She details her journey: “I formed many shit bands and got loads of experience on what not to do etc. Then I went to BIMM (Brighton Institute of Modern Music) and did two years of a vocal course there. That was my way of appeasing the parents in believing that I was still “studying” when the reality was I was bunking off to write songs in my bedroom and going to Glastonbury.”
An artist sees inspiration in any shape or form. At a time when Veiga Sanchez was letting poetry guide her, she bumped into what accidentally became her stage name: “I saw the name (or words) “salt ashes” written on the side of a small, wooden boat in Brighton and loved it as something poetic and descriptive. At the time, I was writing a lot about the different natural elements and love loss, all in a more poetic way than how I’m writing now, so when I was thinking of a project name Salt Ashes felt like it suited me as an artist at that time and the style in which I was writing. At that moment, it was more of a project name that I thought would change at a later date, but it’s stuck as my artist name now.”
Remembering her self-titled debut album from 2016, the songstress appreciates her gradual growth and her willingness to experiment with the new single ‘Didn’t See It Coming’ in mind. She elaborates: “I think this song is more similar to my first album than the second album, which I’m into too. More dance and disco influenced. In general, my work is more honest lyrically now, and I’m less afraid to be experimental with sounds and arrangements. But that’s only natural with time and experience in making songs”.
The core of ‘Didn’t See It Coming’ lies within the sonic embodiment of a Salt Ashes perceived love story. Sanchez beautifully details what love means to her: “Love, to me, is being able to be all the versions of yourself…the messy, the strong, the vulnerable, the creative, the insecure, confident and knowing each other’s language so well that you know exactly how to support and care for them at that moment.
For me, love is when the other person truly knows me and respects and recognises my need for independence and freedom”.
The accompanying ‘Didn’t See It Coming’ Sanchez’s current relationship inspires visuals; she blushes as she explains: “I get weird talking about gushy love, to be honest!! It was fun to smoke!! But yeah, my guy just knew how to give me the right amount of space yet show me the right amount of interest to pull my head out of the smoke I was in before he came along. But we move”.
When asked about the next bigger project, she admits having over an album’s worth of material. “I guess at some point there could be a third album, but nothing is set in stone yet. I’m always happy living in each release and allowing myself to get lost in it for a while before planning too far”.
Salt Ashes also returns to her electronic-disco-influenced tunes with ‘Didn’t See It Coming’ as a prime example of her following sound description: “Like a club night in 1979 with Daft Punk laid on the floor and the dance scene from Pulp fiction happening.” Wait until you watch the ‘Didn’t See It Coming’ music video, and you will get it.
When it comes to the art of songwriting, Salt Ashes still lets poetry take the lead. “I’m also really enjoying starting a song by writing poetry and then building the song around it right now. I’m usually a “start with a melody” kinda gal, but it’s nice to change things up to keep it interesting.”
Salt Ashes mentions a random bump-in situation that is helping her on her path in the current day. “Dimitri, who co-wrote and produced this track with me I recently met him at the Liam Gallagher show at the O2 Arena when my friend’s band “Black Honey” were supporting. We got chatting and booked a session then and there! The fact that that moment led to us creating this song is pretty awesome”.
Being in the spotlight and constantly working to maintain a long-lasting career, so one stays relevant eventually takes a toll on a person. Salt Ashes expresses the depths of going through many psychological hurdles as a musician: “This industry is brutal and difficult, as we all know, and it’s hard to navigate your emotions and constantly remain level-headed, motivated, and positive that “something is going to happen soon!” consistently. So yeah, I’ve had bouts of depression in the past. Some moments lasted much longer than others, but I now understand my triggers and cues and how to deal with them. I’ve found tools that usually work for me when I’m suffering. But you know, I’ve found that prevention is better than reaction. I must maintain and be consistent with my mental health practice, so I don’t end up in a funk. It’s much easier that way than waiting to hit a low and trying to claw your way out of the never-ending, bottomless pit. I’ve also learned that I’m the only person who can dig me out of that pit, so sometimes I have to scratch, claw, scream and kick myself out like a lioness protecting its cub”.
Six months ago, she moved to Brighton, contributing to her mental well-being. “I love being by the sea so much. It calms me. I can run down to the seafront and jump in the sea, which sorts me out and gets the creativity flowing. I love my quiet beach spot near Rottingdean in Brighton and also a wander down the Lanes when I’m feeling more social”.
Besides eating good food and watching The Office, the singer opens up about what helps her keep her head above the clouds: “Pppfffttt, I’m not always positive, I have to say, but I always try to shift my perspective when I am thinking negatively. I like and believe this quote “You can’t control your first thought, but you can control your second.”
We can change our thoughts, emotions, and reactions. We are in control of them, though I’ve always felt like I’m not. So if I instantly react badly to something or have a negative thought, I usually take a moment and then try to think about it differently… look at it from a new perspective. I’ve found that this isn’t something that suddenly works like magic - the answer to feeling shit! but with practice, it becomes easier and easier to do, and eventually, it’ll be a habit… That’s what I’m hoping anyway!!”
With a show at Notting Hill’s Arts Club, Salt Ashes begin to make rounds with new material such as the infectious ‘Didn’t See It Coming,’ hoping she will tour more, as on the stage is where she belongs.