debut track ‘Look At You Now’
provided an intoxicating introduction to her multicultural tapestry of sounds. Praise from Clash
soon followed, as did her first radio play courtesy of Tom Robinson
at 6 Music
. And the rarely explored cultural backdrop of Asya’s Sudanese heritage also captured people’s imagination, with her videos exploring the nation’s dialect
and culture shocks
attracting thousands of views. She also curated a pan-African
playlist for Notion’s Selected By feature
That discovery of Asya’s artistry now continues as she shares her second single ‘Drunk Drive’. Its fusion of styles blends modern alternative R&B and a colossal dub-style bassline with Sudanese classical guitar and energising traditional percussion. Asya’s gold-plated vocal sits at the top of the mix, her breathy, seductive soul enamoured by a passion that clearly comes with its own red flags. The song was entirely written and produced by Asya. LISTEN HERE.
Asya says, “‘Drunk Drive’ started out as a poem that turned into a melody on an evening drive back home. It’s a metaphor for the things you shouldn’t be doing. How the heady intoxication of feelings for someone can feel liberating, but ultimately your obsession for them leaves you incarcerated.”
Directed by Melody Berkery, the ‘Drunk Drive’ video captures the dead-of-the-night solitude and yearning that’s at the heart of the song. But as its final shot metaphorically demonstrates, it’s a time when exposing your vulnerabilities is a gamble.
She adds, “I wanted to make sure that watching the video left you feeling something. Melody’s treatment did just that. Shot at night time and capturing the twilight, it’s that in-between moment when time is lost between night and day. I wanted that to echo the loneliness you feel when you’ve lost yourself to someone. It’s just me in the video. I’m mostly dressed in a fiery red dress and revelling in the emotions conjured from the song. It ends less liberated, with me enclosed in the back of the car I’m driving.”
Now based in London, Asya Satti was born in Sweden to a family of Sudanese heritage – a mixed range of cultural influences heightened by growing up between Sweden, England and Egypt. Her musical tastes are similarly far-reaching, from Aretha Franklin to Badi Mohammed Al-Tayyib and Umm Kulthum to contemporary artists such as CKay, Kelela and Burna Boy.
A songwriter since her teens, Asya narrates stories of the highs and lows of life and love from the perspective of a woman who is both empowered and vulnerable – although some men and women have objected to her sharing her takes on famous Sudanese pop songs. But that’s part of her mission: to unite modern pop and African music tradition to connect with global audiences and to help challenge outmoded attitudes.