INTERVIEW: Sasha Prendes Talks Cuban Roots, Kansas Upbringing, Latest Single ‘Shake This’ & More

Growing up in Kansas, Cuban-American artist Sasha Prendes has always had a penchant for the arts.

Ever since she was a child, she’s been singing, writing music, and surrounding herself with creativity. Her parents and grandparents helped keep her rich Cuban culture alive, and today, Prendes has taken that culture and seamlessly blended it into her music. By mixing Latin rhythms with classic pop influences, she creates dynamic and energetic songs that stand out and keep listeners hungry for more.

On June 13th, Prendes released her latest bubbly single, “Shake This,” that exemplifies her distinctive sound, featuring her fluid, captivating vocals. In her collaboration with AJA Live Inc. writer and producer Darrell Lawrence, she found a professional relationship that brings out the best in her music and allows her to showcase her talent and unique style. Together, Prendes and Lawrence skillfully crafted a song that implores the listener to shake off their troubles and welcome the more exciting parts of life in “Shake This.”

We got a chance to chat with Prendes about the influence of her culture and background on her music, the new single, what’s next, and more.

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How has the year treated you so far? Any notable highlights musically or otherwise?

This year has been absolutely incredible! I dropped my first pop single, “Shake This,” and I am so grateful people have been loving the record. Since meeting D Lawrence and working with AJA Live Records, my whole world has changed. 2023 thus far has been one of the best years of my life in my career, and dreams of mine have been coming true!  

What can you tell us about growing up in a Cuban family in Kansas, and did your family and/or surroundings influence you to pursue a life in music?

Raising me in Kansas was one of the best decisions my parents ever made! The Midwest is beautiful, safe, friendly, and just a great place to have a family. My childhood was full of friends, running around barefoot, Friday night football games, and wholesome fun. My parents were always so supportive of me and my dreams. My father used to say, “If you want to be an astronaut, go for it! If you want to be a superstar, go for it! We got your back in whatever it is you want to do!”  

Sasha Prendes // Photo by Juan Carlos Ariano

Can you tell us a little more about writing “Shake This” with Darrell Lawrence at AJA Live Inc.? Do you usually collaborate and make music this way, or do you typically write your own songs?

Working with D Lawrence has brought out the sunshine in my music! I am a very happy person. I’m always smiling, making new friendships, and bringing people together. Much of my previous work has been more “sad girl vibes” but meeting D has brought out the fun, silly side of me and translated that through the music.

How did the two of you get connected, and how did the creative and collaborative process work? 

One of my music mentors, Hanan Rubenstein, introduced me to Darrell, as she had trained under Darrell for many years herself. It’s like my mentor’s mentor. 🙂 From the moment we met, it was a VIBE as we instantly started creating songs, had a similar vision, and from there the rest is history! We communicate telepathically and create magic on the spot when we are together. The magic happens when D hits me up and says “Hey! I wrote a song this morning. Meet me at the studio ASAP!” I love it!  

One of the biggest draws to your music is the way you blend Latin influences with contemporary pop. How do you think “Shake This” exemplifies that?

I have always added Spanish to my music in some way big or small. Since growing up in a Cuban household, I always feel the natural tendency to incorporate my Latin culture into my music. “Shake This” is so much fun and creating the Spanish version feels like I am being true to myself and to my culture. Spanish music is always a good time too. You can’t help but dance!  

Sasha Prendes

Do you find that using both languages makes the songs more personal as opposed to choosing just one language?

I enjoy blending Spanish and English (Spanglish) because I use both languages intermittently and sometimes in the same sentence! It’s a true testament to who I am, how I express myself, and to flow back and forth between the two languages feels natural and authentically me.  

What do you find to be the most challenging part of your music-making process, and what would you say is the most rewarding?

The most challenging part of making music is the pressure to get it right and perfect the first time. Perfection doesn’t exist and I have worked very hard on not beating myself up when I make mistakes in the studio. We all put unnecessary pressure on ourselves and the best takes come when I am relaxed and just allow my voice to flow with the music. 

The most rewarding? That’s a tough one! Probably seeing D’s face when I land a great take! It’s the best thing ever. I love hearing the song loud in my car when it’s complete, and truly enjoying it as a consumer because that’s the moment when I am no longer criticizing myself and the song- I’m just enjoying the record!  

What does a dream performance look like for Sasha Prendes?

My dream is to perform in stadiums! I love pyro and dream of having amazing effects during my shows. Back up dancers performing martial arts moves synced to my music, light effects, the whole 9 yards. I want to put on a massive and fun production. 

What are your goals – whether musically or otherwise-  for the rest of 2023? 

We have more bangers coming your way! I have to use self-control when it comes to talking about the future song releases because I shouldn’t hint at giving away any secrets yet! I’m so proud of my team and proud of myself for all of the hard work we have put into what’s about to explode later this year. But I foresee more songs, fun videos, live shows, supporting the life & human causes I hold dear, and good energy for the rest of 2023. It’s been such a blessing and it took a long time for me to get to the point where I might have a platform to project from. I’m truly enjoying the ride. 🙂 

Sasha Prendes // Photo by Juan Carlos Ariano

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