NewTracks New Artist: Reed.

NewTracks New Artist: Reed.

Surprisingly few artists have the time and drive to work on their career while still studying for a university degree, but Sasha Te Whare is one of the exceptions. The MAINZ student’s first solo single (following two collabs) under the stage name REED., the groovy Never Be, shows off his top vocal chops. No wonder that NZ On Air Music picked up the song for their NewTracks compilation this June.

What’s your given name, where are you from and what do you play?

Kia ora, my name is Sasha Te Whare but ya’ll will know me as REED. I grew up in a small but big-hearted town in the south Waikato called Tokoroa. I play guitar and sing.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

I went to Forest View High School where me and a bunch of mates spent almost every school day jamming in the music room. (Don’t worry, we still aced our classwork.) This was a good time for us to develop our skills and perfect our performance for Rockquest at the time. 

More recently I have spent the last three years at MAINZ. The pressure and freedom we have within MAINZ has taught us students a lot and has definitely set us up for what to expect in the industry.

Any other previous (or current) projects might we know you from?

At the moment I’m featuring/co-writing a bunch of tracks with my mate The Freq Collect. as he is building up his repertoire, which will eventually be an EP featuring a bunch of artists. I feature I Want It, It’s Overrated, and am working on the next one as we speak. 

What’s the background story of how Reed. came to be? Anyone else directly involved?

Reed is my middle name. There isn’t really a background story to it as such. Growing up I just always liked the way it looked and sounded. I kind’a took the full stop idea from Anderson .Paak. He has been one of my major influences and his style and aura is ideally what I am aiming towards.

How has your music evolved from your beginnings in songwriting to now?

Yikes, my writing style has changed a lot I hope! I have some of the first songs I wrote released on Soundcloud from when I was 12-16 and although they were bops I hope you can hear the progression over the years. With the freedom that DAW has given artists, it’s just easier to get ideas down, and I think doing this for so many years we just naturally get better.

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date? (i.e. best gig/support slot/airplay etc)

A highlight would definitely be opening for Hello Sailor back home and more recently I noticed Chris Mac (Six60 bassist) was sitting at a table at a bar I was playing at once and thought I would be cheeky and play Finest Wine which is a song he wrote and released on one of their albums. He put me on his Instagram story and we had a bit of a laugh about it. How good?

What makes Never Be stand out for you as a single?

Wait for that bridge!! I think it’s just a feel-good track that allows you to scream the chorus and lets you feel a bit of release after the song is played! It’s a summer vibration that can be played all year round. 

What is the story behind Never Be?

Never Be is a self-triumph song discussing a fast fling and the complications of relationships in this day and age. Originally I went to Noema [Te Hau]’s house to work on one of my other tracks and Never Be just came into existence after we got tired of working that track. There was a lot of gibberish melodies that we fit words and ideas into. 

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

It has got to be ‘I know I’m not your type’, or the first line of the bridge where the voice cuts in and out.

Who did you record/produce the single with and where? 

I wrote this track with Noema Te Hau who is also the producer of the track. We wrote it together at his home studio. Like I said before it kind’a started from gibberish but it only took like 5-6 solid sessions to get the track down packed. 

When we were discussing the final mix I was already happy with the way it sounded. I remember saying if we had to re-evaluate the mix more than five times I’d owe him Shake Out (not a sponsor). Unfortunately for me, we had to re-evaluate the mix well over five times but fortunately for me, I get to eat shake out again without any guilt.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

I just want people to enjoy it and be able to groove and feel something to it.

Who else is in your team?

It has been just myself and Noema for the most part but I have to give credit to Savannah Whiteman who is an old mate from back home. She did all the artwork for me and has done some more for upcoming releases. She is crazy talented! My friends have helped guide me on the way too.

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for? 

Yea for sure! I’m working on an EP at the moment that I plan to release by the end of the year and I’m currently a residential musician at Brothers Beer sites around Auckland doing up to four gigs a week. Come check me out and say hello. 

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.

One of my classmates Daizzy has a song coming out soon, that would go super well. Another track would be Young Love by the boys in Village 90, which is an insane R&B track, and anything by Ashley Alexander, that dude has an insane voice

Have any previous NZOA applications not gained funding or been included on NewTracks? 

It’s overrated – didn’t get NewMusic but I have got on NewTracks twice this year and it’s been so cool to be apart of. I guess you just have to keep yourself busy and keep releasing tracks. All you can do is your best. With the new regulations it’s going to be hard getting funding from NZOA, but I’m excited for the road ahead to push myself out of my comfort zone and slowly tick off a majority of the boxes.

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

Are We Live is a podcast on SoundCloud and Spotify that I play a lot. It’s a discussion between Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei, Barney Artist and Alfa Mist who are all inspirations of mine. They discuss their paths to where they are now and their thoughts on the industry. It’s super insightful.

Who did you make the video with?

I made this video on my own and did the whole thing on my phone.


New Tracks is a compilation of new music from New Zealand artists which is distributed to broadcast and online platforms on the first of each month. Previously the Kiwi Hit Disc, New Tracks is one of the ways that New Zealand on Air promotes kiwi music to the industry, radio, streaming services, and media. To apply for New Tracks you must have a completed, airplay-ready song and a promotional plan.