Date: December 06, 2007
San Luis

Sacha Sacket is back
By Sarah Linn

Get used to seeing a lot of Sacha Sacket.

The Los Angeles singer-songwriter comes to San Luis Obispo with his band on Saturday, less than two months after his last local gig. He's played Cal Poly a couple times. And he's due back on the Central Coast around late January.

"You have to do that as an independent musician…You have to be around," explained Sacket, who performs at the Frog & Peach Pub with a trio of female rockers. "I really want to come back and build relationships and try to find great venues to play."

Sacket, 29, certainly seems eager to please.

His latest album, Lovers and Leaders, draws equally from piano rockers like Elton John, lyrical songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos, and the alternative rock scene of the 1990s. Touches of electronic music and acoustic pop abound.

Sacket's voice, occasionally soaring into heart-broken falsetto, invites comparisons with Chris Martin of Coldplay.

"My subject matter lyrically does have an edginess to it," Sacket said. "I'm always trying to find…what is the truth? How honest can I get, how personal can I get?"

Southern Calif. roots

Born in Iran to an Iranian father and British mother, Sacket grew up in California’s sun-baked San Fernando Valley— scene of the ultimate valley-girl movie, "Clueless."

"The high school I went to was not far off," he admitted.

In fact, he attended Calabasas High School alongside future members of Hoobastank, Linkin Park and Incubus, including Incubus singer Brandon Boyd. "Brandon Boyd was definitely the golden god of our high school. He was the most popular kid ever," recalled Sacket. (Boyd's name appears as the title of a song on Lovers & Leaders, a searing portrait of the "cool kids" who brutalize their fellow classmates.)

Even then, the singer-keyboardist admitted, he was more interested in acting than following a recording career like his favorite bands: Nirvana, Hole and Smashing Pumpkins.

"Obviously, nobody was playing piano. I never really connected the dots that I could do this kind of thing," he said.

Sacket quit childhood piano lessons after two years. But he continued to play, writing his own songs in high school and often elbowing others off the piano bench.

"It was my way of expressing myself. It was a pure thing," Sacket said.

At USC, the songwriter studied film. Meanwhile, he released his first album, Alabaster Flesh, in 2001.

Sacket's second album, Shadowed, launched a huge cross-nation tour in 2004. The performer estimates he visited 150 college towns in a year and a half.

A musical evolution

Lovers & Leaders, released this fall on Golden Sphinx Records, marks Sacket's evolution from highly personal music to musical character studies, he said.

One song tells listeners about sad, desperate Judy; others center on jilted lovers and social climbers.

"I had gotten tired of singing about myself for two records," Sacket explained with a laugh. "I was really tired of being a singer-songwriter, actually. I felt it was a little whiny."

Working with his label, he added three talented women to his touring show: guitarist Jennifer Trani, bassist and back-up vocalist Anna Maria Rosales and drummer Alexa Brinkshulte.

"Now it's a rock show, definitely," Sacket said, adding that the harder, more aggressive sound is starting to affect his music as well. "I feel like I’m out for blood. There’s sort of that idea in my head."

What's more, "the girls" —as Sacket calls them — add some extra sex appeal to the band.

"My responsibility has been shielding guys off the girls. Now I'm like this older brother," he joked.

Building a fan base

As Sacket continues his breakneck tour of college towns and West Coast bars, he hopes to add to a growing fan-base. His profile on social networking site MySpace boasts about 30,000 "friends."

He's also eyeing at least two projects next year: a live album, and an album of darker, more complicated songs left off previous records.

Sacket said he's grateful for the opportunity to make them.

"For me, at 18 … even one record seemed impossible," Sacket said. "I'm very lucky to be able to think about the next record and how people want me to make it."

Reach Sarah Linn at 781-7907.

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