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Sasha Alex Sloan: No Such Thing As Too Real

The Nashville-based songwriter is singing a different tune after falling out of love with music while going through tough times.

by Ben Boddez

Photos by Slater Goodson

Now with a decade of industry experience under her belt – after signing a major-label deal at age 19 that she’s since triumphantly escaped – Nashville-based indie-pop singer Sasha Alex Sloan has already contributed to quite a few songs that you probably know. She appears in the liner notes as a songwriter for superstars in multiple genres – Juice WRLD, Camila Cabello, John Legend, Charli XCX and ODESZA, to name a few – but she’s made much more of a meaningful connection to listeners while mining some of the most uncomfortable parts of her own personal experiences.

It’s one of the many reasons that Sloan surprised her fans by going independent at a time when it seemed her career was peaking, announcing her decision only a month after she played her first Coachella in 2023. Once she started gaining more attention for her own material, she found it more and more difficult and disingenuous to assume the persona of another artist, writing lyrics from their perspective.

For a songwriter that’s always been open about her struggles with mental health, when tragedy strikes, that mentality of seeking artistic freedom, genuine inspiration and complete honesty can be a bit of a blessing and a curse. Sloan’s 2022 breakout album I Blame The World was a portrait of COVID-era societal malaise, but it was often tinged with joking sarcasm. On her latest, Me Again, a cavalcade of life-upending events left her without much of a desire to make music at all. The more sombre, stripped-back and folk-inspired sonic palette reflects an artist who was fighting through her lowest moments, needing to figure out who she was outside of music. The stories she tells about these events are more emotionally poignant than ever, but they only jumped onto the page when she felt truly moved to.

Working closely with her husband – the only person she’d initially allow to hear the thoughts that poured out – acclaimed music producer King Henry, Sloan managed to chronicle a time in her life where she was dealing with a death in the family, the disappearance of a beloved pet, a struggle to defeat an eating disorder, executive dysfunction brought upon by deep depression, and the shifting dynamic of needing to step into the role of caretaker to a parent instead of the other way around. Sloan has been talking about making a folk-inspired album for a while, keeping lower-key and emotionally-driven songs like “Me Again” and “Good Enough” stashed in her back pocket for years until they had a sonic home.

“With I Blame The World, I was a little more worried about the album sounding sad, because it was such a sad time. I didn’t want it to be too heavy,” she says. “With this new record, I’m not afraid to just fully lean into sadness. For better or worse, my life kind of imploded when I was making this record. I had a lot to say, and it felt like a good time to make it. When I made I Blame The World, I didn’t really have that much to say.”

Title track “Me Again,” a song about feeling stuck, waiting around for a time when you genuinely want to see friends, walk the dog or brush your hair again, has been in the drafts since 2020. “Good Enough,” which tackles Sloan’s lifelong battle with body image and an eating disorder, is from much longer ago – it was written 13 years ago, when Sloan was only 16. She says that finally allowing it to see the light of day, previewing it during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, speaks to both how hard the disorder is to defeat – if something that rang true at 16 still could at 29 – and also the fact that she’s finally turning a corner.

“For so long, emotionally, I wasn’t ready to release it. I feel like I’m finally, luckily in a place in my life where I feel like I can talk about it, and be comfortable talking about it, and to be like ‘that’s not who I am anymore,’” she says. “It all came together at the right time.”

A couple years after penning the original “Good Enough,” Sloan’s career was actually jumpstarted off of a Reddit post. Accepted into Berklee College of Music, Sloan returned to her childhood home one day to find a half-painted house, the walls surrounding her bedroom window still unpainted save for an arrow pointing to it and the word “DORK.” Her parents’ prank went viral on r/funny, and Sloan capitalized on the hype by posting a link to her SoundCloud in the comments. The attention those tracks got then caught the eye of a major label. Some things never change – Sloan is still a huge Redditor, frequenting discussions about Survivor, oddly satisfying videos and even admitting to lurking on posts about her own music.


“It’s a weird place because it’s so brutally honest and kind of toxic, but that’s also why I love to lurk on it.”


“It’s a weird place because it’s so brutally honest and kind of toxic, but that’s also why I love to lurk on it,” she says. “Honestly one of my favourite subreddits right now is r/regretfulparents. It’s so dark. It’s just a bunch of throwaway accounts, and I would never say this to anyone, but they’re like ‘I can’t stand having a kid.’ Or anytime I’m having a hypochondriac episode, I go on Reddit.”

What has changed in that time is the state of popular music, something that Sloan was a little ahead of the curve on. She’s spoken years before about being satisfied with making “car music” rather than “club music,” because she believes that at the end of the day, consumers would be craving honesty. Just as extravagant pop and hip-hop wanes while a handful of folk and alt-country artists storm the top of the charts, a couple tracks on Sloan’s latest lean a little country as well – she even brings Ruston Kelly on board for the first-ever feature credit on one of her albums, after a nervous request following a writing session together – “I’m the worst artist when it comes to networking, I’m so introverted and shy, I don’t ask anyone for anything, but I’m so honoured to have him,” she says.

“It is a little bit country-leaning. People are always like ‘Oh, is it because you moved to Nashville?’ and I’m like ‘Not really.’ I feel like a lot of my songs could be country songs if you just changed the production,” she says. “The fun thing about making this record is that I was the A&R. A lot of the time, major labels love to squeeze artists into boxes, and there was no one telling me ‘This sounds too blank.’ It allowed me to make it sound exactly like I wanted it to and not worry about what genre it was going to fit in.”



“I came from the indie world as a fan into the pop songwriting world, and I think I was craving the music that I grew up with,” she continues. “The 2010 era of pop music hasn’t really come back in that way. It still exists, but I don’t know if it’s because of social media or what, but I think fans really want to know the artist, maybe too much.”

If that’s what fans are hoping for from Sloan, they will certainly get their money’s worth when listening to Me Again. One track, “Tiny’s Song,” is so raw that the finished product on the album is actually a demo recording taken at a time when Sloan was recovering from losing her voice from stress in the wake of dealing with two tragedies at once. Recorded after the passing of Sloan’s grandfather, a man who she says was “always [her] biggest fan,” the track is a desperate plea for her pet dog to return home after escaping during a home renovation.

“All these giant stressors were happening at the same time. I couldn’t really sing that day,” she says. “I think that makes it even more emotional – I was like ‘I don’t want to recut it.’ That’s the one song my husband didn’t do. I was like ‘I wrote a song about Tiny,’ and he was like ‘I can never hear it.’ So I didn’t play it for him for two years until I put it on the record.”

Expressing fear of getting “too nerdy,” Sloan says that the song she’s proudest of on the record is “Kids,” for both personal and structural reasons. A track that centers around the line “One day before we know it, parents become the kids” and addresses the shifting dynamic in a parent-child relationship, Sloan’s subtle lyrical changes manage to address the cycle of life in a couple minutes.


“I can’t stop writing about my freaking parents. It’s embarrassing.”


“I can’t stop writing about my freaking parents. It’s embarrassing,” she says. “Over the past year and a half, I was suddenly being my mom’s rock, instead of her always being mine. Helping her get situated in a new place, me checking in on her and making sure she got home OK, I just felt this shift start to happen. Those types of songs are challenging to write, where each hook is different and references the verse that had just come before it. It’s such a real part of life, and I don’t think I’d heard a song written about it that way.”

Since Sloan has a history with being around some A-listers – and so does her husband, who has produced for acts like Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and Trippie Redd – we had to ask about memorable stories. Instead, Sloan just left us with advice about remembering that celebrities are only human.

“It’s an amazing privilege getting to be around massively successful artists and see how the operation works,” she says. “It’s a peek behind the curtain to see how each artist deals with certain stressors differently. Even when you’re working with an artist that you read about online, you always see what they’re doing, when you’re sitting with them in person it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re just a human with feelings.’ At the end of the day that’s all we are. That’s probably my biggest takeaway from working with really famous people.”

Whether it’s her openness about topics that prove relatable to her audience, the @sadgirlsloan social media handle, or even the fact that she sells merch adorned with the classic people-pleaser phrase, “no worries if not” – “It basically follows everything I ever say, because I think being perceived is hard in general. I even said it after I invited my friend to my wedding,” she says – if you’re looking for that sometimes uncomfortable but refreshingly genuine humanity, there’s not many better places to look than Sloan’s work.