Sasha Massey was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana She’s also a ULL School of Music grad in vocal performance. Her earliest influences were jazz, motown soul, classical and musical theater. Sasha is a lyric soprano with amazing improvisation and coloratura capability with dramatic flare. As a child she could pick up accents, speaking and singing styles like a chameleon. Shawn Roy, Director of Opera Studies, combined techniques and characterization to fully develop her voice and stage presence. Under Roy she was able harness deep emotional connection in performance of any genre of music. Sasha is Cantor at St. John’s Cathedral, a position she has held since 2015. She teaches private voice lessons, is hired for weddings, funerals, commercial voiceover, graduations, award ceremonies, inaugurations, sporting events and more. She performs solo recitals with local pianists throughout the year and as a soloist for concerts with other churches and the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra. In November 2021 she was the solo voice in a collaborative ballet created by Paige Barnet and Nicole Curtis called A Song of Visions. You can also see her perform blues, funk and jazz with other local bands like Blue Monday Mission Band.
Who makes up your art circle?
The people in my circle are friends and mentors. I stay in regular contact with musicians and singers mainly in the classical and liturgical realm. My first song writing partners from school are still the most important people to me. With regard to my teachers, I absolutely regard them as family and still lean on them for advice so long after graduating from high school and college. Sure I trust the tools they gave me, but the place of honor they hold in my heart means I will continue to reach out to them. They saw in me something that needed to be water which is why I still turn to brilliant minds and instructors like Mr. Francis LeBlanc. He is one of many people who are the reason I am still absolutely in love with learning. Then there’s instrumental instructors like Scott Landry who is the reason I am most definitely obsessed with Breathing Gym and athleticism influencing my ability to sing with more ease and control.
How do you expand your art circle?
Keeping and open mind and heart is what makes me brave enough to connect and learn from others who are also on fire to keep learning and maintaining their gifts. Refusing to abandon my roots in jazz, gospel and classical music has helped me make perform and potentially write with people who have a deep connection to their faith and members of the Blue Monday Mission Band like Lee Allen who simple call ‘Pop-pop’. My fascination with other cultures and singing in different languages with the same emotional honesty as someone born speaking Spanish, Italian, German. Portuguese, Mandarin, Russian, Arabic and more means research and studying with native speakers. This creates a bridge across the world that ties me by my heart to them and expands this figurative circle
What value do you see in having a creative community?
Without resources and the space to create so minds now and yet to be will wither up. A creative community gives so many natural born artists here in Louisiana an outlet for expression. It can also lead to immediate problem solving when it comes to climate change to protect future generations of people with so much music to pour into the universal sound library.
How does your artistic approach contribute to your community?
Influence via work ethic, mainly research and how I practice is where I hope to impart a sense of more responsibility in the community. I try to treat each private student with kindness and tough love so they remain secure in their ability but are ready and willing to grow as material and concepts become more difficult. The “a ha!” or “eureka!” moments for students often happen in the practice room. Taking the training wheels off and letting them go out and use what we practiced infuses the community with more conscientious performers who are in the moment with what they sing. The love and protective care I have for Gospel, Black Sacred Music and Black Composers like Florence Price means preserving and performing their work and pouring into others so they are highly motivated to learn and be the reason someone made a new choice with the same piece of music that’s been done over and over. The honest emotional connection to the material and full understanding of its root source will elevate the type of musicians we see in the city of Lafayette and most assuredly throughout the state.