Somewhere between John Mayer and Coldplay stands Sacha Sacket, a newer name in the alternative, classical field of music. He sings in a calming tone plays the piano with passion and veneration for the artists he loves.
Sacket has performed in San Luis Obispo three times before at Backstage Pizza on Cal Poly’s campus, and his recent performance on Oct. 13 at Frog and Peach Pub was a hit with the college audience. His music filled the quaint pub and lured others in to stand back and listen or even dance.
Katie Foley, a sophomore at Cuesta College and a Frog and Peach regular, thought Sacket was one of the better performances she has seen.
“The band was kind of a newer sound than what’s normally here and it was definitely good music,” Foley said.
Born in Iraq, Sacket has been singing since choir in high school, but never really got into it until he tried out high school musicals. When he was one year old, he moved to Los Angeles where his mom put him into piano lessons young and he quit not long after. However, since his mom played, he later got excited about it and taught himself how to read music.
“People liked my voice and so I started training. Later I quit while I went to college. Training was very controlled and focused on theory, but once I let that go I found my personal voice,” Sacket said.
While going to school at the University of Southern California, Sacket was very passionate about music; it was what he was about. He had played piano his entire life, but all he had known was classical. To him this was an expression.
“In college I spent so much time playing that I decided to go for it once I graduated, and that’s when I made my first album,” Sacket said.
Sacket’s main influences have been The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Tori Amos, Radiohead, U2 and Beethoven. Yet Bjork holds his favorite spot; he loves how crazy and fearless she is.
Sacket produced his first two CDs solo, but his latest, “Lovers and Leaders,” had help from three talented female artists. He had wanted to go in a slightly new direction, try something different, and an all girl band with a male singer is rarely seen.
“They’re great musicians. I tried the solo thing for a while and it was time to grow. I put the search out and two months later we got the chemistry right,” Sacket said.
Each band member is easygoing and has a great sense of humor. There’s constant laughter, and they all share similar interests. Although they’re still feeling it out, the band is already writing for the next record. A lot of the songs are going to have a new energy. While the old stuff was more subdued, the future sound will be going more hard rock.
There’s also been disscussion within the band about doing a live record, which will have a whole different level of energy.
The best thing for Sacket about being on the road is playing the show, but he is still getting used to the new touring arrangements.
“I’m used to touring by myself and now there are three girls in the car with me. We all have our own characters and it’s interesting,” Sacket said.
When on tour in a loaded van, things like what radio station is on becomes life or death. Sacket loves to visit his hometown of Los Angeles to put on a show, and he recently enjoyed performing in Manhattan.
“I love to travel and sing, it lets you look into different lives and get a sense for people. The visits are short but concentrated, and the east is so different from the west,” Sacket said.
If forced to chose a favorite song to perform, right now Sacket would have to go with “Hallowed,” track 10 on the newest album, for its energy, or “Desire” from his second album.
Sacket admits to having trouble with writing lyrics sometimes. In the past, the task has landed him at Starbucks, so many times that they know his name and order. Diners also seem to attract him as a good spot to write, and he often just prays that inspiration hits him.
“The best songs come out of nowhere. People try to be inspired and try too hard, but the best comes naturally and randomly,” Sacket said.
Although music is his passion, if Sacket had chosen a different career path it would most likely have been to teach history. If it were up to him he would love to stay a student forever.
“It was important to get out, but now I’m jealous and want to learn about things,” Sacket said.
Staying in school used to be a regret for Sacket, but now he’s happy he did. Although part of him wonders if he had left and tried his music career earlier where he would be now.
When Sacket isn’t focusing on his music, he travels around alone to get out of his own world. While he was a film major at USC, Sacket did a film in Los Angeles, “November Sun,” and continues to occasionally take acting classes.
Living in California while still having family back in Iran is hard for Sacket. He left at such a young age and would love to go see it, but returning would mean that he would be forced to serve time in the military.
Sacket is torn and gets frustrated when he sees the problems Iranians are having. He believes they need to focus on buying plumbing and dealing with human rights before even thinking about nuclear arms.
Even though he lives in Los Angeles and just visited San Luis Obispo County, lined with beaches, Sacket hasn’t been to the beach in more than a year. On a perfect day, he would have his feet in the sand, maybe go surfing a little, and just kick back.
Life is full of risks and stress, but it’s always important to be happy with where you are. Still young, with his beautiful voice and talented piano playing, Sacket will definitely go further in the music world.
“Make a lot of mistakes and learn from them. Don’t be afraid to make them. That’s my mantra,” Sacket said.