Sasha Samara enjoying life in music too much to think about giving up

Young Northern Irish musician Sasha Samara is one of 15 emerging artists to have been selected to take part in a career development programme.

By Graeme Cousins
Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 10:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 12:29 pm
Emerging NI musician Sasha Samara
Emerging NI musician Sasha Samara

The 23-year-old will avail of CMU’s ‘Pathways Into Music Foundation’ and Help Musicians ‘Fanbase Builder Programme’ to help her build a solid business around their music-making and to ultimately grow their fanbase.

Sasha said: “I call myself a full time musician though it’s a little difficult considering we can’t play live music.

“For the last six months I’ve been in the studio making my first EP.”

Stendhal Festival held the first outdoor live music event in more than a year in Northern Ireland in June. Sasha Samara is due to play there in July and August. Image by Amelia Films

Discussing her musical origins, Sasha said: “I’ve always enjoyed music. My parents aren’t particularly musical, but they’d make up songs to sing to me when I was growing up. I’ve always been surrounded by that inclination to tell stories with music and song.

“I started playing the ukelele when I was 16. In 2018 I started to give songwriting a go.

“I was coming to the end of my Illustration degree at Ulster University (School of Art). I made the really solid career decision that I didn’t want to be an artist any more, I wanted to be a pop star.

“I’ve fallen in love with being a musician.”

Last year she picked up the New Contender award at the NI Music Prize.

“It was a total surprise and a total joy,” said Sasha who has some dates lined up this summer at the Stendhal festival in Limavady.

Asked if she ever felt like giving up because of the pandemic, Sasha said: “I feel like every musician, even the very big ones, had moments in the pandemic where it was like ‘is this actually sustainable?’

“When I really think about it, there’s nothing else I would rather do than play music. It’s so rewarding and I have so much fun doing it.”

The Pathways Into Music Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation launched by CMU to support music educators and music talent development programmes around the UK and beyond, and to help early-career music-makers plan their personal pathways into music.

By offering expert music industry advice in the form of workshops and one-to-one sessions, the Fanbase Builder Programme will empower the chosen musicians to undertake a fanbase building project that will ultimately accelerate their music career.

Participants will also receive a £500 bursary and bespoke expert support as they deliver that project.

Other emerging artists from Northern Ireland selected include May Rosa, Clodagh May, Balcony Sunrise, Sugarwolf, Ethan Hollan, Ferna, HY:LY, Moon Landing, Hi/Lo & the Tribes, Kid Apollo, Lemonade Shoelace, Sarah Toner, Search Party, and Glass Wings.

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