Date: October 9, 2007
From: Frontiers Magazine
Tough Love: With his new CD Lovers and Leaders, singer Sacha Sacket lends a beautiful voice to heartache
by Larry Dean Harris
He's easy to spot as he makes his way through the coffee shop, what with his heart prominently displayed on his sleeve. Some musicians have rock star presence, while others are freakish in their eccentricities. Sacha Sacket approaches me with an air that is both confident and vulnerable at the same, much like his music.
We are here to discuss his latest CD release, Lovers and Leaders, a lushly orchestrated, hauntingly confessional work that easily holds its own against classic Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
Barely two minutes into the conversation, life imitates art.
"High school (in nearby Calabasas) was not fun for me at all. I was kind of weird, different, alienated. I was the person in the library or the corner of the lawn reading books. People didn't get me. I didn't even get myself," he said softly, but unapologetically. "I got teased a lot. You don't go home and talk about that."
Cue track five. The song is called "Brandon Boyd." The keyboard pulsates over a soft, scratchy percussion groove as Sacket sighs:
"We are the cool kids. We don't have to try.
We keep the fat chicks and the fags in line.
We just say their names, and we watch them die."
In one simple stanza, Sacket has summed up the collective high school experience of just about every person reading this magazine. Funny thing is he isn't mocking the big man on campus, who would go on to lead the alt-rock band Incubus. He's sympathetic.
"Back then, Brandon Boyd was the golden god of our school. Even the cool kids wanted to be him. But even he couldn't live up to that. I'm not dissing him. That song is more about the brutal high school experience: the whole animalistic survival of the fittest."
For Sacket, his key to survival was the piano, his constant companion since the age of 5.
The decision to use the namesake as the title was tough for Sacket. But ultimately, it came down to truth.
"I feel that if I have something to offer, it's my honest experience without trying to look like the coolest person. What's important for me is bearing my heart and my soul, and it has nothing to do with making sure I'm wearing the perfect outfit. I find that missing with a lot of the stuff I hear."
Lovers and Leaders, like his two previous releases, is a musical landscape where truth is beauty, where an outsider's pain is exquisite poetry and where classical, electronica and pop elements fuse to provide the perfect counterpoint to Sacket's achingly tender vocals.
"I wanted to write a rougher, edgier record," he said, "I had all these songs, but I ended up throwing them out. I was in this space and what came out of it was the idea of love and leadership. I had a deep need to be both of those things, but I was really bad at them."
Hence a song like "Maybe You Can Save Me (from you)" in which Sacket unashamedly admits his professions of love can be embarassing, but suggests that all it would take is for the object of his desire to profess his love as well.
We've all been there, but Sacket bravely puts it out there. Fortunately, he's learned a few lessons in the process.
"Being a good leader isn't always about succeeding. And being a good lover is not necessarily giving your heart 100% to a person. It's the ability to make choices. I tend to listen to people a lot, and ask them to make it OK when it's not OK. But I've learned that my gut instincts are very important."
So what's an openly gay performer to do without sex as a weapon?
"I formed an all-girl band. I didn't know if it would work. I ended up meeting these girls, and we got in a room, and it was powerful. They're great musicians. And yet every time they get on stage, they have something to prove."
"It's funny to watch the guys afterward telling them, 'You're so good.' We're a band of misfits now. We don't play to conventions."
The loner is now a leader. With his music as his lover, art imitates life.