If you have not heard of Sasha Lazard yet, you will. She has just released
her debut album on Virgin Records titled The Myth of Red, and it is creating
quite a buzz. Raised on Manhattans Upper East Side and in Paris, she
is a classically-trained soprano but her album combines futuristic, electronic
beats with an operatic flair. This sultry singer is charming both classical
devotees and dance-club audiences alike. Washington Lifes Editor in
Chief Nancy Bagley spoke to Sasha the morning after her release party in New
NANCY BAGLEY: Sasha, congratulations on making
#3 on Billboards Hot Dance Breakout Chart and on launching your debut
album in New York last night. Do you feel like your life is about to change?
SASHA LAZARD: Yes, absolutely, because last night
was the first time that Ive performed with a full live band and dancers,
and I definitely think it added a new element to my performance, giving it
a lot of energy.
NB: Your music has been described as trance-opera.
How would you describe it?
SL: Operatic arias fused together with primal/tribal
electronic hip-hop beats.
NB: At what age and how did you get interested
in opera? Are your parents musical?
SL: I started going to the opera with my mother
at age eight. When I was 13, I joined the school choir and continued singing
throughout college at Bennington, before going to the San Francisco Conservatory
NB: Werent you in a rock & roll band
for a while? What was the evolution from opera to rock to your current musical
SL: I wasnt really in a rock band, but I
did work for a while with a team of Celine Dion-type people. They sent me
to a teacher to change my sound to pop, but learning a new style didnt
really work for me at all. So I said Id be back in a few months and
fled, which is when I hooked up with Mark Raskin, who was working on the soundtrack
for a movie my brother had written, and we started experimenting in the studio
with different electronic sounds.
NB: Could you describe the artistic process of
making this album? Did you write any of the songs?
SL: All the songs on the album are songs that I
love and have been singing forever. It was really a collaboration with the
producer, Frank Fitzpatrick. He can hear an arias catchy pop sensibility,
and wed feed off of that and rewrite some of the words to follow the
story of the Myth of Red.
NB: The title of your debut album is called The
Myth of Red. What is the story behind the name?
SL: Well, its loosely based on a Samaritan
myth but the story is basically about a woman named Red who is restless with
her life on earth and gets seduced by the Devil. In the morning she awakens
to a beautiful melody of her man urging her to come back to him. Red is also
my favorite color.
NB: If you could collaborate on your next album
with any artists in the world, who would they be?
SL: Moby, or Josh Groban.
NB: Bono from the band U2 has really been shaking
it up in Washington...first by lobbying for debt relief in developing countries,
and now his new mission is to save Africa from the AIDS epidemictwo
very ambitious, critical, and related issues. After you sell millions of albums
and you are rich and famous, will you lend your name to any charitable or
political causes, and if so which ones interest you?
SL: One of the reasons Id like to become
successful is so that I can have influence on important issues and give back.
The issue of adoption is important to me. A couple of years ago I was in Kyrgyzstan
with my sister and she adopted a child. I might also want to adopt one day.
But foreign adoption is illegal in many countries, and there are many orphans
here in the U.S.
NB: Are you currently working or volunteering
with any charities?
SL: I have been too busy recently, but I used to
volunteer with the Association to Benefit Children which helps children living
with AIDS, and Id like to start giving singing lessons to inner-city
NB: Do you have a personal motto?
SL: Treat people with kindness and dignity no matter
who they are. It drives me crazy when I see someone treat a waiter or a taxicab
NB: Whats your ideal vacation?
SL: Going to my house in Maine with a group of
friends...but they have to cook, because wed all starve otherwise.
NB: I hope that it works out for you to perform
at Washington Lifes 11th anniversary party at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel
this autumn, but in the event that it doesnt, do you have any confirmed
performances scheduled in Washington?
SL: My tour schedule is being worked out right
now, so I don't know what is confirmed, but I really hope it works out for
me to perform at the Washington Life party.