‘priestess’ (lower case, always)is a prolificPhiladelphiaborn,London-basedalt popartist whose birth name is Sasha Nadein. She was the first person in her family of Russian immigrants to be born in the U.S. growing up just outside of Philadelphia, soaking in her rich family heritage and using it as inspiration to fuel her songwriting: She released her latest EP “shopping for smiles”on May 20th 2022 with “frankenstein heart” as the focus track.
Encouraged by her supportive family, priestess took lessons in music and dance and was introduced to classic British bands like Queen and Depeche Mode as well as US pop legends Destiny’s Child and Britney Spears. This eclectic musical exposure inspired the young Sasha to push her fledgling talents further by auditioning for huge TV shows like the X Factor and The Voice. Incredibly, by the time she was 17 she had recorded and released 3 EPs ranging from genres of pop, pop-rock, and pop punk, inspired by the performance and songwriting ethics of Hayley Williams, Avril Lavigne, Kurt Cobain. More recently she draws ideas from her love of The 1975 and The Neighborhood. Beabadoobee, Clairo, Harry Styles, YUNGBLUD, Machine Gun Kelly, and Gorillaz.
Then she made a fateful and gutsy decision to move from the U.S. to the U.K. to formalise her musical achievements and to bathe in a different and unquestionably cool musical culture, achieving a first-class degree in songwriting from the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.
Now, using the artist moniker ‘priestess’, Sashais concerned for her peers and young people in general. She says, “I want to always be a friend to my generation and to my listeners” and so her songs reflect their worries and experiences as they are also her own. The tracks on the EP “shopping for smiles” exemplify this; they vary in melody and intensity, but the overriding themes are very relatable, not only to her peers but, indeed, just about everyone.
The EP kicks off with “like me and you”which waschampioned by BBC Introducing. Sasha calls it a “…sassy song that I wrote about a crush I had in my first year of university, definitely don’t feel the same now, but it’s a way of honouring my past self and feelings.” The following track “see u n tea”,brims with a certain acidic anger about giving your all in a situation and receiving nothing back. Sasha explains: “It was a life lesson for me to learn that not everyone has your best interest at heart no matter how much you want to believe them.” “rewind”, speaks of first love and loss, confounded by bad timing and miscommunication; “the ick” is a kind of ‘stream of consciousness about modern dating apps and how they can prompt you to feel nausea rather than excitement or love. The focus track, “frankenstein heart”, is unquestionably her most vulnerable song about the inner dialogue you have when you experience heartbreak. Sasha dug deep from her personal life: “the feeling of breaking apart to piece yourself back together only to do it all over again. It’s scary, but to me, love has always been worth the pain.”
“shopping for smiles” speaks openly of personal vulnerability, dating, love and loss – but also sassiness, courage, strength and survival – the very qualities personified in priestess herself.