Sasha Spielberg has a theory that your seventh-grade self is the person who you will eventually turn into later in life.
At that age, Spielberg has already made her debut on stage at her bat mitzvah, much to the surprise of her parents who, at the time, were unaware of her singing talent. Prior to the event, she had experienced terrible stage fright—and still does—but because she was so focused on learning Hebrew for the Torah performance, she had let go of the nerve and let “the voice carry itself.” In lieu of belting Christina Aguilera-style as she had imagined was a soft, falsetto voice that still resonates in her work to this day.
Around the formative time of seventh grade, her musical taste continued to develop into classic rock, thanks to an introduction by her uncle, with Led Zeppelin leading the way (as her theory confirms, “In the Light” was one of the last three songs she listened to before our conversation).
While studying literature and screenwriting at Brown University, Spielberg started making and playing live music with the composer and producer Nicolas Jaar. Her love of music later got put under the spotlight with Wardell, a band she formed with her brother, Theo Spielberg. In 2018, Spielberg puts out her own experimental, electronic EP produced by Jaar titled Facepaint under the alias Buzzy Lee, as both an ode to her energetic personality and as a tribute to her late grandmother.
Her latest work, an LP named Spoiled Love, came out in January 2021 as the aftermath of a tumultuous relationship. The sound evokes a cinematic landscape wherein the heroine finds herself amidst a broken relationship—straddling between her romantic love and the self. Its vulnerability is expressed through a high, soft voice cut with raw, honest lyrics reminiscent of the diary entries that she’s kept since an early age, supported by ethereal instrumentals engineered by Jaar, her close friend and longtime collaborator.
Dialing in from her home in Los Angeles on a post-running high, the singer, painter, and writer told me that unlike the emotional state of her last album, she’s the happiest she’s ever been. She’s recently engaged with Harry McNally and is about to embark on a tour with the Haim sisters at the end of the month.
These days, Spielberg spends her time juggling between making music and painting pets for various clients, a hobby she picked up during quarantine. Below, we attempted to get to know her better as she delved into the close and personal with the Proust Questionnaire.
Sasha Spielberg wears Versace.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Waking up next to Harry, having my matcha, painting for a few hours, writing with my best friend and writing partner Emily, rehearsing with my band, eating with Harry, making music with Harry, sleeping next to Harry.
What’s your greatest fear?
Losing anyone close to me.
What trait do you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
The length that I’d go to get the best matcha. I think it’s extravagant that I’d get into an Uber sometimes to satisfy my cravings.
What is your current state of mind?
I just ran, which I only started a year ago, so I’m calm and hungry.
On what occasion do you lie?
I never really lie unless if my mom asked if I borrowed some of her clothing, I’d say no. Then, like a little mouse, I’d run it back to her drawer like nothing’s happened. I haven’t done that in a while, but I have the capability to lie about that [laughs].
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I used to hate my nose more than anything, I’d cry about it. I hated my freckles, my pale skin and my height. But I’ve learned to love everything as I get older.
Which living person do you most despise?
Right now, it’s someone whose name starts with a P and ends with an N.
What’s the quality you most like in a person?
Romantically, someone with confidence, but a quiet confidence. In friendships, loyalty.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Music and my soon-to-be husband.
Sasha Spielberg wears Versace.
When and where were you happiest?
Currently, right now. This day. Every day.
Which talent would you most like to have?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I really want to learn how to keep my car clean.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
For art, it’s being able to play these shows with the Haim girls, who are great friends of mine. For love, it’s meeting Harry. And personally, it’s self-acceptance and not being so hard on myself—coming to a place of serenity with the choices I’ve made in life.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A dog that sleeps and gets petted a lot.
Where would you most like to live?
Paris. I used to live there and I love how comforting it is in the sense that it looks and feels the same to me despite the changes of time.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
When my screen time goes up and I get a notification that I have a 10-hour average.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Buzzy [laughs]. When my dad does an impression of me he does this high-pitched voice and talks really fast, so I guess that’s it.
Who are your favorite writers?
I love Jonathan Franzen; Virginia Woolf, where you can see hints of my records from. Gustave Flaubert is also one of my favorite writers in the world.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My late grandma, to whom I owe my stage name. We were so similar and she loved talking to me about that. She’d put her nose up to mine and call me her twin. That love and adoration from her were so important to my growth. She made me feel so special.
Nora Ephron also had that effect on me too. She lived across the streets when I was little, and I’d go over to tell her stories that I was making up and she’d treat me like an adult.
Photography & Creative Direction By Dana Boulos.
Styled By Marc Eram.
Makeup By Bridget O’donnell.
Digital Tech By Mikayla Miller.
Interview By Duc Dinh.
Produced By Brainfreeze