Saachi Sen’s “Tethered” is a break away from mundane snippets of our reality. Her light vocal energy inspires a feeling of freedom and weightlessness intertwined in a heartwarming tune. Quite honestly, I admit that I listened to this track about a dozen times. The fact I continuously enjoyed it after a dozen times is the surprising part. Some might say “Tethered” and its flowery pattern is too bright. Personally, I think Saachi is an example of what the world is missing out on.
“Testing cliches” seems to come naturally for Saachi Sen, but her songwriting is far more superior than the song lets on. I find myself attracted to songs when they stand even taller without music. Saachi’s vocal aura reminds me of marshmallows by the fire and falling leaves. It could be the time of year, or maybe Saachi just has a way of evoking an interpretive form of personal comfort in us all. Whatever you want to call it, I’m buying it.
There are so many quotable lines to cherry pick in every verse.
I tied some balloons to my chair
And I watched as it floated away
It’s so overrated I know
But I needed to test the cliche
Saachi Sen packages so many adorable metaphors in the song. She makes it effortless to envision the images she creates. Within the first few seconds, I immediately found myself picturing an array of balloons tied to a wooden chair. That’s what we consider effective songwriting. It’s overall enjoyable and easy to binge on repeat.
The lighthearted softness in her delivery adds a touch of innocence to the end of every line. For a soft spoken vocalist, I find it impressive how she still manages to add character to her voice through subtle fluctuations in attack. She has the ability to focus on the smaller details of her delivery.
The air is as thin as the threads that have tethered me here
Here layered harmonies toy with anchors, threads, and balloons. It’s a quirky childishness that reminds me of youthful snippets from the past. Although her genre falls far away from my norm, I applaud good skill when it’s due. Her wholesome style is a reminder of music’s overarching influence, all genres and petty sub-categories aside.
We caught up with Saachi Sen to learn more about her career and inspirations.
We really enjoy “Tethered”. Can you briefly explain what inspired it?
Tethered is about feeling like you’ve got unlimited, untapped potential, and dreams as high and open as the sky. I pictured life’s many obligations, responsibilities, and fears, as little threads that are tying you down to earth, keeping you from reaching a place where you’re free to grow and become anything you want. I suppose I wrote it almost as a reminder to myself, and of course to anyone else with a dream- don’t get too tied up with your current reality, never forget that there’s something more out there you can do and don’t stop trying to reach it.
This one might be tricky to answer. When you begin writing a song what comes first for you? Is it the music or the lyrics?
I actually feel like my best songs are the ones where they pop into my head together! Usually it comes from a feeling or thinking about an experience; an interesting phrase will kind of materialise in my mind which already has a melody to it, and then things will just flow from there.
What led your band to form in 2015?
I met the keyboardist, Nathan, in freshers week when I sang at an open mic night. He loved my voice, and he wrote great music too, so we started getting together to jam. After a while we thought we had something good going, so he tracked down the other guys and the band was born! Uni is a great place to start as there were loads of student events we could audition for – by the time we left, we’d become a staple uni act!
What can you tell us about the new EP coming in November?
The band’s EP is the epitome of our jazz pop sound. It’s got two as of yet unreleased tracks on it, and we think each song has its own distinct vibe, but they still all reflect our unique style. We’ve ranged from a slow starting, atmospheric sound from our first single “Anaesthetise”, to the punchy, upbeat vibe of “Dinosaur”. Vocally everything is pretty challenging – hope you like the high notes!
You seem to have a lot of experience as a performer. What can fans expect from a Saachi gig?
The band’s gigs are always full of energy. We have so much fun on stage, and we get to bring our sometimes slightly unusual rhythms and chord changes to life, which we think let’s the audience catch on to our sound in the best way. When I perform an acoustic set by myself though, it’s always just my own songs, which tend to be quite poetic and reflective. I get a lovely hushed atmosphere and I try to draw everyone into my world. Both kinds of gigs are amazing and the audience seem to love it.
Live performance is obviously a big part of who you are. What are a few of your favorite festivals you’ve performed at in the past?
I think Roundhouse Rising was such a highlight for me. I got to support Ailbhe Reddy and Blair Dunlop, both incredible songwriters, and the whole set was professionally filmed and live streamed. I also vividly remember one I performed at when I was really young – Canary Wharf Jazz Festival. They had a massive stage and big screens, seeing my face on one of those was honestly unbelievable!
Saachi achieved finalist status in the Isle of Wight Festival’s ‘New Blood’ competition as one of 8 out of over 2000 entrant acts. What was the experience like for you and your band?
We were really proud to reach the finals of the competition. It was also a pretty key time for us as most of us were going through final year uni exams, so I’m still stunned we pulled it off! We gave our best performance to that date in that final, and it really showed – one of the judges remembered us a year on and suggested us for a special gig at The Camden Assembly, fundraising for War Child UK in their ‘Emergence’ series. We got to share the stage with some huge artists like Rothwell, which I’m still starstruck about!
You’ve also received a few accolades, including the PRS for Music’s Lynsey de Paul songwriting prize. How does it feel to be recognized for your role as a songwriter?
It’s a wonderful feeling to get feedback and recognition for my work. It’s especially important because music is such a subjective thing; some people will love your stuff and some people won’t. But if you believe in it as a creator, then I reckon you have to keep going, and sometime, somewhere, someone will recognise all the work you’re putting in. It’s brilliant to get things like this along the way because it’s really encouraging, and puts you in great stead to continue making music.
What are some of your favorite aspects of being a songwriter and frontwoman?
I just love when people tell me they identify with my songs. I think that’s what music is all about – human connection through shared emotions. It’s amazing to have the power to make people feel good, or nostalgic, or validated. I also love performing because I can lose myself completely. I can get away from my worries and concerns in those moments when I’m lost in song, and I think that’s what music does for all its listeners too. I think making music helps me to express myself in the most honest way there is, and I absolutely love sharing that with my audience.