SASAMI (aka Sasami Ashworth) wore many musical hats early in her career: classical musician, string arranger, and synth player for Cherry Glazerr. Under her own name (and on her 2019 self-titled debut album), she crafts songs that are influenced by the sonic textures of shoegaze and dream pop, while fully embracing the confessional nature of modern singer/songwriters.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Ashworth played piano and French horn, becoming good enough at the latter that she ended up studying at the Eastman School of Music. When she graduated in 2012, she started a dual life as a elementary school music teacher by day and an in-demand musician by night. She played French horn in orchestras and sessions and joined the band Dirt Dress in 2013. She left that group in 2015 and joined Cherry Glazerr, playing synthesizers on-stage and on the 2017 album Apocalipstick. She also found work outside the group, doing string arrangements for Curtis Harding's album Face Your Fear and providing backing vocals on Wild Nothing's Indigo. While on tour with the band in 2017, she began working on her own songs for the first time, recording demos on her computer during down time. The experience led her to quit the band in favor of a solo career.
With the help of her brother Joo Joo, guitarist for the shoegaze band Froth, and Tomas Dolas of Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel, she started recording the almost stream-of-consciousness, post-breakup songs she had written. She released the first SASAMI single, Callous," in April 2018 before heading out on tour with King Tuff. Along the way, she was signed by Domino Records, and a second SASAMI single — the shoegaze-inspired "Not the Time" — was issued in October. The songs were recorded with Froth drummer Cameron Allen filling the drum seat; he and Joo Joo were SASAMI's core band for her debut album. Other guests at the sessions included Soko, for whom Ashworth had produced a session, Hand Habits' Meg Duffy, Devendra Banhart, and Dustin Payseur of Beach Fossils. The resulting self-titled album was a mix of dream pop and shoegaze with an introspective singer/songwriter approach. It was released by Domino in March 2019. ~ Tim Sendra