London-based alt-pop singer-songwriter Saachisen is more than just music – she is also a firmware engineer.
Infused with sultry and quirky pop melodies, Saachisen’s music is wholesome as she sings with effortless vocals.
The former chorister may be relatively new in the scene, but with her approach towards music with the tender but rounded pop vibe that she is most known for, the singer-songwriter is one to watch.
She recently released the stirring single “The Gap”, with her trademark classical stylings written after she graduated about uncertainty and missing people amidst the change of lifestyle. The result is a warm, honest and beautiful soundscape that solidifies her strength as a songwriter.
The Indian-born artiste is also a big advocate for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).
Find out more about her engineering background, early love for music, the song best describes her as an artiste and more.
We’re nearing the end of quite an eventful year. How has 2022 been for you?
Year 2022 has been really good. I felt invigorated after the long years of on-and-off lockdowns, and I was ready to launch my new artiste project as “saachisen” with my single “The Gap”.
It’s been the most successful of any of my past projects, with a premiere in Wonderland, support from BBC Introducing, and more streams and listeners than I could have imagined.
I’m so excited to build on it now and work towards my first EP.
Tell us what it was like growing up. Was music a big part of your childhood?
Music has always been a big part of my life. My parents actually met through being in a band, so it’s very much in my blood!
We used to have singing sessions like a mini version of the Von Trapp family, and when I showed an interest in performing and writing, they were always really encouraging.
How did you go from studying engineering to pursuing music professionally?
Music stayed with me all through my degree – I met brilliant musicians I could make a band with and I immersed myself in the live scene of a brand new city.
After graduating, carrying on growing my music felt like a natural progression. Engineering seems like the polar opposite of something so creative, but maths and music are actually very closely interlinked, and engineering is inherently creative too.
Does your STEM background impact how you function and create as an artiste at all?
I think my background contributes to me having a logical approach to all the activities surrounding music creation.
Sometimes this can be an advantage like when I’m planning and organising myself; however, I wish I’d learned a little more about things like design and branding, because the best marketing connections are emotional, not logical!
Sometimes I feel like a fish out of water among the glamorous, image-perfect artists in my sphere, but I’ve learned over time that the most important thing is being your authentic self.
Do you still remember the first thing you ever wrote?
I definitely do remember my first finished song, and I even played it at a festival last year. It’s called 50,000 white butterflies – it was inspired by an old wives’ tale that the colour of the first butterfly you see in the summer tells you what kind of summer it will be.
White stands for peacefulness. Although the song doesn’t tell an entirely cohesive story like my more mature songs do, the central image and concept of being at peace still really resonate with me.
How did you first start finding your sound, and what was that process like?
Finding my sound has been a focal question for me ever since I started writing, so much so that I even wrote a song about it when I was 15. It was called “Original Sound”.
Funnily enough, I think that song really marked the start of my journey to finding my voice – it was the first time I started to experiment with cleverer lyrics and quick, wide interval jumps in my topline.
Over the years I’ve meandered to and from my natural style, but that’s been so key to my learning and development as a writer. I’m also a firm believer that if you don’t try other things, how will you know what works best for you?
Who were some of your earliest musical heroes, and how have they changed over the years?
I grew up in the age of high school musical and country Taylor Swift. I used to draw some comparisons to her with my early songwriting (and still sometimes do today!).
Her writing has always been great, but now it’s so mature, complex and versatile. It was especially remarkable hearing her pandemic releases go back to her roots, which to me reflected my own journey through trying different genres and production styles before finally settling into my sound.
What’s the best and most challenging aspect of creating music?
The best aspect of creating music is being able to express yourself better than with words. I love the way music can elevate a message and turn the worst memories into beautiful things. It just feels like a very constructive use of time and energy.
The challenging aspect is the anxiety of whether people are going to hear this beautiful thing you poured yourself into, wrestling with likes and stream counts, and worrying about other people’s success.
It’s important to focus on yourself and making the music you want to – but that’s easier said than done!
Is there one song that you think best describes you as an artiste? Why that one?
Probably “Under Pressure” by Queen! It’s one of my favourite songs of all time. I don’t have perfect pitch, but I’ve listened to it so much that I can always start that song on the right note.
“Pressure... pushing down on me” is a familiar sentiment in my work as an artiste but also when I was studying for engineering exams, and in living life generally. But also, the lines imploring to “give love one more chance” fit well with the themes of equality and bridging gaps that I’m all about as an artiste.
If your music were a movie, what would it be and why?
Maybe How To Train Your Dragon, which is possibly my favourite movie. It’s adventurous, romantic, and all about overcoming the differences between us and those we have prejudices against.
Another central message is about being comfortable with who you are. These are ideas I stand for as an artiste and explore in some of my songs.
The movie has an incredible score itself, and I aspire to be just as emotionally charged and effective in my own music.
What else do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not making music?
When I’m not making music (or programming hardware) I like to keep active with sports like badminton. It’s a way to be social and get exercise, so two birds with one stone!
I also won a VR headset in a competition last year and have gotten really into Beat Saber. I would love to programme one of my own songs into that game one day.
What have you got planned next?
I am currently working on a concert I’ve been asked to put together in London this December. I say concert rather than gig, because it’s a sit-down hall with theatre seating, just for me and my songs, together with an arrangement of violin and cello.
I’m excited to build a narrative for the audience and showcase something unique. I’m also working on my next single which is out in the New Year, called “Pasteis De Nata” (Portuguese Custard Tarts). The song reached the shortlist of Abbey Road Studios’ Topline competition, so I can’t wait to share it!
Cover Credit: Julia Boehm
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Writer | Kevin Yeoh
When he isn’t making sure Sound of Life stories are published in a timely manner, Kevin enjoys wandering aimlessly in Kuala Lumpur city, going down the YouTube rabbit hole and discovering new music.