PHOTOGRAPHS BY KEVIN SINCLAIR (SASHA BELYAEVA)
Creative Director Kevin Sinclair
ALWAYS MYSTERIOUS, SASHA BELYAEVA HAS MANAGED TO WHISPER HER WAY TO THE TOP OF THE MUSIC SCENE BEFORE RELEASING ANYTHING TO THE PUBLIC. VESTAL MAGAZINE WAS OFFERED A LISTEN AND A FEW WORDS.
Opposite of the overexposure in pop music, Sasha music is being experienced like opium, she has hosted private listens to small groups of fans, music executives, and press for the past two months, reportedly at The Light Church in Osaka, Japan and the Secret Apartment at Radio City Hall, New York.The Russian Singer, 20, has taken a monk like vow of silence for months. She invited us to dinner which turned into one of the strangest nights we’ve experienced in New York. We received a list of fairly normal instructions such as no phones or recording at the dinner(of course), and to be quiet when entering and to not knock.
When we arrive at her apartment as requested at 11pm, her doorman patted us down and firmly requested our phones. We didn’t agree to this over email but it made sense all considering. So we handed them over.
The building was fairly ordinary, very tall and overlooks the New York Harbour. We were then directed to her floor and were made to get off one floor below hers because the elevator makes a sound and they are often recording(we were told it can be heard from her apartment). We did as instructed and were directed towards a staircase down a very long hall. As we walked down, we both felt a strange feeling that we were being watched, then noticed that all the apartments doors were slightly open and we could see eyes peeking at us as we walked down the hall. It made us feel uneasy as we were not sure if we were being loud or were unwelcome in the building. Someone down the hall said in a strong voice “What are you doing here?”. When I looked back to see who it was, some of the doors closed a bit and we got uneasy and walked quickly(We felt like everyone was mad at us in some strange way and it took the confidence from our step) upstairs to her apartment and entered quietly. We opened the door and walked into a room filled with Blue- Swallowtail Butterflies, hundreds of them. It was an unreal number of blue butterflies such that the walls seemed to move in blue and black shutters. Music was playing but we were so overwhelmed with the visual that it seemed to sort of blend into the vision. I remember it being heavy in bass, similar Everything in its Right Place(Radiohead)
We sort of skipped half scared of the butterflies(They are still insects and uncomfortable in high numbers) and sat on a small table on with a candle. I remember a song with heavy bass again and a ghostly female voice humming.The lights turn off as and the oil candle burns out and we are left sitting in the dark, again surrounded by insects. I remember glaring out as seeing the Statue of Liberty so clear it almost looked framed. Then the music stopped, the lights turned on, and we noticed a beautiful hourglass with sand about to finish. We took it as a sign and left after a moment. We walked deer legged down the hall(this time being looked at by everyone on this floor and many faint flashes from Polaroid being shot. We felt so in the moment and being strung on that I am curious what our faces looked like in those photos. We grabbed our phones at the front. And went home, still unsure of what the songs sound like. We definitely wont forget the feeling of what they felt like. A Few days later, we followed up with Sasha for a short interview.
Sasha: Did you enjoy Dinner? I really hope you did
Vestal: Was that meant to scare or amaze? We still aren’t sure.
Sasha: I’m not sure either to be frank, I hope to not miss it next time
Vestal: Is this how you have been getting people to listen? I must say it is strange to have come so far with no music to the public. To put into perspective, our last cover star, Lauren Mayberry from CHVRCHES has 15 years of music out, but you... Just whispers.
Sasha: Well, people have been hearing me for a good portion of a year, you just need to have a friend who has a friend who knows where one of my listening parties will be.
Vestal: We have been hearing of a few of them, but no invite.
Sasha: Yes but you’re special, you got dinner remember?
Vestal: Ha! True...
Vestal: When will you release something, anything?
Sasha: Tomorrow actually. Just a clip. A glimpse of what’s to come. I’m very excited to finally share it with everyone. I don’t want to let everyone down after so long
Vestal: Do you think of that often? You fans embracing the music, I mean
Sasha: Well, Yes, they are everything...
Sasha: May I ask a favor of you?
Vestal: You can ask three
Sasha: I feel like I have to hold back a lot of information until the launch. But were not done...How would you like to interview me again in 30 days, and I will answer any three questions you have?
Vestal: HA! Yes I guess, I mean, Yes sure, anytime. Let’s do it. You can also ask for the two other favors then.
Sasha: Deal! Well....Until then.....