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This week we chat to rising starlet Sasha McVeigh who will be sharing stages with Toby Keith, Tim McGraw & Keith Urban in the US this summer …

Who inspired you to go into the world of music?

I’ve honestly been singing since I could talk – ha ha – so I don’t think anyone in particular inspired me to go into music. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. When I was little I would sing along with everything, even adverts on the television. Someone in the family bought me one of those toy keyboards for Christmas and I would make up these silly tunes all the time. Music is something I’ve always been passionate about I guess!

What made you choose Country music?

I caught the Country music “bug” from my Dad. When I was about 18 months old, according to my parents, Dad would dance with me around the coffee table in our living room to CMT. It must’ve somehow ingrained in my brain because when I started writing songs at age 12, they came out Country. That’s when I really rediscovered the genre for myself and started listening to the more modern artists. It’s almost as if Country is in my soul and truly shows how universal the genre is. The story-telling and honesty is timeless, I love it.

At what age did you want to become a singer?

Like I said, I’ve been singing from the moment I could talk. I actually don’t remember the exact age I wanted to be a singer. I can just remember always putting on shows for my family when everyone would be at our house for special occasions. I loved how happy it made them and of course it put a big smile on my face too.

What is on your iPod’s most played list?

Well this is embarrassing…to be honest, I don’t have an iPod – never have and probably never will. I still rock a portable CD player!! I’m not a big fan of downloading music, I like to have the physical album, booklet and all that. I do have a iPhone though, probably couldn’t manage without it because of how heavily artists have to be involved with social media nowadays. I’ve got music on there, so I’d say my top 10 most played songs on there are:

Break Up With Him – Old Dominion
You Don’t Know Her Like I Do – Brantley Gilbert
Farewell – Pocahontas Soundtrack
Love Don’t Die Easy – Charlie Worsham
Martin – Zac Brown Band
Whiskey Lullaby – Jon Randall
Don’t Close Your Eyes – Keith Whitley
In The Ghetto – Elvis Presley
You’ll Think Of Me – Keith Urban
Coat Of Many Colours – Dolly Parton

What was the first record you ever bought?

Weirdly, I still remember cassette tapes! Those were still super popular when I was a kid. However, the first CD I ever bought (or rather, my Mum bought it for me because I was only about 6 years-old) was ‘The Disney Collection: Volume 2’ because it had “The Bells of Notre Dame” from ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ on it and that’s always been my joint-favourite Disney movie (the other favourite being ‘Pocahontas’). I was so excited when she brought it home because if I wanted to hear the songs, I’d have to just watch the movie. I couldn’t believe you could get the songs on one CD. I still have that CD too, it’s sat there along with all my others. Great memories!

And the latest?

The last CD I bought was the brand new Zac Brown Band album ‘Jekyll + Hyde’ and oh my goodness it’s amazing! I’m a huge fan anyway, but when I put it into the player I wanted to go in there with an open and unbiased mind. It truly is a masterpiece.

If you could play any instrument, what would it be?

I would really love to be able to play piano. I play keyboard and have been since I was 10, but the style of playing for keyboard is totally different to piano. I just could never grasp the concept of playing one thing with one hand and something else with the other. It’s like I can’t pat my head and rub my stomach, my brain just won’t let me do that! I’d love to be able to play piano style, it’s definitely a goal of mine on my bucket list!

What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

Well, I couldn’t live without my dog, Hami, or my Mum…but if we’re talking about objects, then I’d have to say my guitar – ‘Dean the Martin’. I start getting a nervous twitch if I haven’t played him, I literally have to play something every day otherwise I go stir-crazy!!

Do you prefer “Classic” Country or “New” Country?

I think it’s difficult to say which I prefer. It’d be like asking me if I preferred regular Dairy Milk or Dairy Milk Caramel. They’re both very similar but also different. I love both styles and it really depends what mood I’m in as to which style I listen to that day.

If you could work with anybody, who would you choose to collaborate with and why?

This is always such a tough question to answer because there are so many artists, musicians, songwriters, lyricists and producers I would kill to work with. But here are two that are in my top 5 people I want to collaborate with:

 (1) I would love to write with Wyatt Durrette – he’s definitely my dream co-write. He knew Zac Brown from the early days and they wrote together all the time, almost all of the songs on their albums were co-written by Wyatt. I’m really drawn to his writing style. I read an interview he did with Rolling Stone, where he explained the stories behind ‘Sweet Annie’, ‘Toes’, ‘Colder Weather’ and ‘Keep Me In Mind’, it was so cool to hear where the inspiration came from and you could genuinely hear those stories he was telling, in the songs.

(2) It would be a dream to collaborate with Alan Menken, the mastermind behind the music of my favourite Disney films and some of my favourite musicals. I would write the lyrics and he would write the music, which would be amazing. He’s such a talented composer, he can capture so many emotions in one piece of music. I find that kind of creativity incredibly inspiring.                                                                     

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Still doing what I’m doing, performing, touring, making music and enjoying life, enjoying the journey. I think that’s the key thing in all of this, you have to make sure you’re having fun because when it stops being fun, it’s not worth it. It’s about experiencing the journey, soaking it in, reaching the destination is a bonus.

What do you do to “relax”?

On days off you’ll find me snuggling up with Hami (my dog), watching a movie and spending time with my family.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

I’ve been lucky to get to visit a lot of unbelievable places while touring. In terms of a holiday, I’ll always love going to Orlando because of Walt Disney World. We’ve been going on holiday there since I was 3 years-old, it brings back wonderful memories whenever I’m there. In 2010, my Mum and I did a big trip where we travelled all over the US – ticking off things on our bucket lists. My Mum had always wanted to go back to Hawaii, having been there in 1987 while she was on her way to visit her Dad (my Granddad) in Australia. She stood on this piece of land that jutted out from the beach, closed her eyes and whispered to herself that she’d come back someday. So, we went there on that trip and that piece of land was still there…we both stood on it and made a silent wish together. Mum and I are like two peas in a pod, in all honesty, as long as I’m with her, I don’t care where we go, if we’re together it will definitely be an adventure!

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Sasha’s debut album I Stand Alone is released on June 8 and she also has a busy summer of gigs here and in the US; to find out more about her and her music visit her website here.