If you haven’t heard of Asya Satti yet, she’s been laying the groundwork and steadily gaining a fanbase on social media introducing the world to Sudanese food, music and culture. But now, she’s ready to turn the lens to her own original music with her debut single ‘Look At You Now,’ a beautifully authentic collaboration of her love of modern pop and traditional Sudanese music. Today, Asya shares the second single from her forthcoming EP ‘Drunk Drive‘ accompanied by stunning visuals directed by Melody Berkery.
In this interview, Asya chats with us about her musical journey, the creative process for the EP and its Sudanese influences and her use of colour to represent her feelings within her music videos, as well as producing and writing her newest single ‘Drunk Drive’.
Do you remember the point in your life when you went from singing and songwriting for fun or as a hobby to realising that it was something you wanted to do professionally?
Yes I do, I was about 17 years old and I was so worried about pursuing it and going off the beaten track! I’d decided I’d wanted to do it before I’d even performed any of my original songs, so I had no idea if I was any good. The ignorance of youth!
In the past, you’ve always made sure to show your pride in your Sudanese roots. What was the creative process like for the EP when it came to translating that into your own music?
I have a lot of love for Sudanese music, so it was a natural process adding it to my production. I wanted a repetitive/chanting element to the arrangement that you often hear in Sudanese Sufi music. The creative process was so much fun. It was in lockdown so I had a lot of time to produce. My first attempt at ever producing from scratch was ‘Drunk Drive,’ I could hear most of it sonically in my head before I started. With ‘Look At You Now’ it was a fusion of Yaz Fentazi’s production and my co-production. He has such an understanding of melody too and being an Algerian musician means he can play scales from Arabian to Western. With ‘Down Daddy,’ I wrote the hook and Yaz came up with the middle eight that refreshes that ear. The band played their parts and then I took the music stems and added some more arrangements and ‘yeah yeahs’ to it!
In the video for your single Look At You Now and for your forthcoming single, Drunk Drive, it seems like you have a theme of wearing or using the colour red to represent yourself in a story. Was that a conscious choice or something that just felt right for you in both videos?
I think it just felt right for different reasons. Red is such a symbolic colour so in “Look At You Now” it represents pain and shame. In “Drunk Drive” it represents obsession, passion and desire.
Following from that, in your music videos and even on your Instagram page, you seem to gravitate toward vibrancy and colours, it even comes through in your music. Have you always been a colourful person or was that something you developed throughout your life?
I love colour, I wish there was more of it around to be honest! It can totally change my mood. I love art too and that was my first outlet of expression that I was aware of when I was a young child. I think it’s also quite an African trait to be flamboyant with colour.
Was there a song on the EP that was particularly difficult to write?
Yes, “Down Daddy”. I couldn’t figure out what I was trying to say for a while. However once I understood it was about grieving and celebrating someone’s life it all just flowed.
Do you have a favourite song from the EP or one that you feel particularly attached to?
I love all of them but the one I enjoy playing just to listen to from time to time is Drunk Drive- it’s a mood.
If you were given the opportunity to collaborate with any artist, who would you choose?
Oumou Sangare, Abdel Basset Hamouda, Stevie Wonder, Essam Satti & Ali Naseraldeen.
If money were no object, how would you live out the rest of your life?
Probably as I am now, but more holidays.
And finally, what’s one piece of advice that sticks with you and that you’d want to pass on to everyone reading?
No matter how busy you get you should always dedicate time to novel experiences (I’m still working on that ha!).
Follow Asya Satti on Instagram
Words: Cleopatra Bailey