This wish from a young age has been fulfilled for singer Sasha several times. He is coming to Frankfurt with his current stage show and looking back on his life in a kind of Las Vegas revue.
Sascha Schmitz from Soest comes to Frankfurt and talks about his life. To be honest, it doesn’t sound that exciting. But that Sascha Schmitz, who has been called Roentgen-Schmitz since his marriage, calls himself Sasha – and has been successful in the music business for 25 years now. So he has a lot to tell, and he does it in the form of a very special stage show. Under the title “This is my time – the show” he looks back on his life in a kind of Las Vegas revue, plays music that has shaped him, tells stories and anecdotes and tries to trace, like Sascha Schmitz from Soest became the most successful pop singer in Germany.
Sasha’s life is indeed full of stories. It all started in his childhood, “which definitely wasn’t easy,” as he says. His mother was pregnant with him at an early age, married his father, divorced, remarried – all within ten months. Sasha, his brother and his mother moved 25 times, always within Soest or in the surrounding area, “the farthest was Lippstadt, that’s about 30 kilometers”. There was never much money, the Schmitz family lived in less well-known areas, “where there was always great neighborhood cohesion”. But also problems. Sasha knows what it means to go to the clothing store with a permit from the social security office and choose clothes there. “But despite everything, I had a really great childhood,” he says in retrospect.
And there was always the music. In Soest he plays in a school band called “Bad to the bone”, in Dortmund, where he moved after graduating from high school, he founded “Junkfood”. He once described the five years in this band as the best time of his life. When the band broke up, “I was about to drop the music.” But he didn’t. Instead, he ventured two “in the end rather unsuccessful attempts in the pop business”. Under the name HIM he released the single “Looking out 4 luv”, as Sir Prize he sang “Don’t go away”. Both songs can still be found on YouTube today, Sasha has to smile when asked about it.
And then came the fateful encounter with Fatima Napo. She came from nearby Arnsberg in Sauerland, Sasha had recorded a few demos, a producer brought the two together. Napo released two tracks as Young Deenay, Sasha sang the choruses. In the video for the second single “I wanna be your lover” he appeared in public for the first time. A sunny boy in his mid-20s, longer, gelled hair, heartthrob type, catchy voice. During a visit by Young Deenay to the Viva studio, the camera eventually panned to the unsuspecting Sasha, who was still called Sascha Schmitz – after that the phones at the station were running hot. “It was that one magical Viva moment that changed everything,” the 50-year-old recalls.
After that he took off. In 1998 his second solo single “If you believe” was released – and Sasha suddenly became famous, even beyond Germany. Suddenly he went on a promotional tour in the USA, he played concerts in Thailand and was in the charts in Italy, Portugal and Scandinavia. “It seems that I struck a chord at the time,” he says quite unpretentiously. And not just musically. He once said in an interview that musicians at the time wanted Spex to write about them. “I would have preferred Bravo to have my picture on the cover. For me, a childhood wish came true.” He made it onto the cover of the youth magazine a total of 17 times, according to a press release that his concert promoter sent out for the stage show. There is also the question: “How does it live as a sex symbol?” Sasha has to laugh when he is asked about it. “I guess I just skimmed the press release. But let’s just leave it at that. There are worse things.”
But back to the music. So while Young Deenay was once again a featured guest on Sasha’s first single “I’m still waitin'”, then turned her back on pop music, became a psychologist and at least left her mark in the form of a corruption of her stage name by a certain Jan Delay has, Sasha really took off. He has released nine albums so far, the last in 2018. The tenth will follow in the coming year, the soundtrack to the current stage show, so to speak.
Among the albums is the one called “Dick This”, with his alter ego Dick Brave on the microphone, an artificial character that he invented more or less by accident during a musical creative break. And which will also play a role in his show. Finally, an album came out in German, “Key Child”. The title is an allusion to his childhood, in an interview he once described himself as a “homeless latchkey child”. Sasha finds it quite normal that it took 20 years for an album in German. “It was a maturing process.”
Sasha performs twice in Frankfurt, in the Jahrhunderthalle in Höchst. Both shows on Monday 24th October and Tuesday 25th October start at 8pm. Tickets are still available at www.eventim.de, they cost between 50.40 and 90.40 euros. Information about the tour is available at www.sasha.de bö
There were songs in German even in the days of “Junkfood”, and in 2001 – as Sasha – he once recorded a song in this language. “But to make a whole album, it had to feel good.” It did in 2018. He had tried it about ten years earlier, but the result was “rather funny songs, something between ‘Die Doofen’ and ‘Die Doctors'”. Through his participation in the television show “Sing meine Song” in 2014, when he interpreted songs by Gregor Meyle or the late Roger Cicero in German, among other things, he really got a taste for it. Four years later the album, a maturing process.
What all albums have in common: you can hear pop music. There was a time when this genre didn’t have the best reputation. Too shallow, too banal, too superficial, not deep enough, not honest. I’m sure people still see it that way today, “it’s mainly the B-side niche listeners,” as Sasha puts it. It’s, well, too banal for him, too superficial. “Pigeonholing and restrictions aren’t really my thing.” Although he clearly sees himself at home in pop, “I love Prince and George Michael”, he also asks who actually defines what pop music is and what isn’t. He remembers an anecdote with his father-in-law. He praised him with the words: “You’re a great pop singer!” That irritated him at first. But Schlager was meant as a successful hit. And that cannot be contradicted.
According to Sasha, pop music cannot be generalized, there are big differences. Not only between individual artists, but also within their own works. Yes, he could also easily write songs that entertain. But also some with a message. He calls his album “Open Water”, which was released in 2006. “It was really a serious album, on which I dealt with my past in terms of lyrics, among other things.” A statement by his wife Julia, who is also his manager, also fits in with this. She fell in love with the song “Please, please please” from the album “Good news on a bad day” on the radio, “because it described exactly my situation at the time when I could never sleep”. And according to her husband, she was one of the few people who understood the text.
In general, his wife plays a major role for Sasha. And not just because she used to have his single “We can leave the world” on CD, as she says with a smile. He started a family with her at almost 50, and their son Otto was born in 2018. He does not see any possible disadvantages of having become a father so late. Of course, he will then be able to support certain developmental steps of his son differently than if he were younger. But he doesn’t think in those categories. Sasha sees more of his experience, believes he’s a lot more relaxed than he used to be. Above all, he feels humility and gratitude, sees his child as a gift. And remembers “that I counted forward for the first time during Julia’s pregnancy”. So suddenly it was no longer about how many years he had already behind him, but how many still lie ahead of him.
In these he will continue to work on “not being a lawnmower father.” These are fathers who want to clear up all imponderables for their child in advance. “I still have to learn that.” He will continue to make music and tour. Will perhaps make a stop at the Stadthalle Soest again, like a few weeks ago. He was enthusiastic about this “home game”. Just as he generally still has close ties to Westphalia. Many of his friends still live there, his mother recently moved back to Soest.
In many interviews and TV appearances, Sasha often seems like the good buddy next door, without airs and graces, with a lot of down-to-earth attitude. The idea of meeting him and his buddies at the beer stand at the Soest All Saints’ Fair would be too romantic. “It just wasn’t possible in the last few years,” he admits. But not because he didn’t want to. But on the contrary. “But that would have been too exhausting for the others, with all the photo requests and the attention I would have attracted.” Or, to put it another way: “Uncool.” But when he thinks about it, “then I could actually do it come back again.” Because Soest, his homeland, is “such a thing close to my heart”.