Sasha Vs. Sasha: Trance DJ Keeps Right To Name

Sonicnet Music News

Welsh trance DJ/producer Sasha (born Alexander Coe) and German singer Sasha (born Sasha Schmidt) have settled their dispute over domestic rights to the name Sasha, as the latter will release his U.S. debut under the name Sasha Alexander.

The two have been fighting over the name since early summer, when a dance remix of Schmidt's single "If You Believe" climbed into the "Billboard" Club Play chart.

"It was a complete mess," Coe said. "He was sending white labels out to these record stores with just the name Sasha on them, and it was this horrible, cheesy pop music. The guy has definitely tried to capitalize off my name. I've worked very hard to build my name. For some cheesy pop artist to use it is nonsense."

Responding to Coe, Schmidt said, "What can I say? I never met him. It was between our lawyers. It was a little bit strange for me because it's my name and it's been my artist name since two years."

Schmidt

said he did not think audiences would compare the two artists because their music is totally different.

"Maybe the club charts are his territory," Schmidt said. "Maybe that's why he came in, because he never said a word when I was just releasing my singles."

Schmidt released his debut album, "Dedicated To...," in November of 1998. The record, which features a cover of the Commodores' "Easy" and the German top-20 hit "I'm Still Waitin'," went platinum in Germany and gold in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, and Switzerland. A collection of songs from "Dedicated To..." and new material was scheduled for release in the United States on Reprise Records this summer, but has been pushed back to early next year, according to his spokesperson.

Coe began his career spinning records at the London dance club Renaissance. In recent years, Coe and partner John Digweed have set the standard for mix-CDs with their acclaimed "Northern Exposure" series, and this

summer released "Communicate," the first mix to debut on the "Billboard" 200 albums chart.

Both artists and their lawyers have decided the rights to the name Sasha should go to who had the name first in each country.

"The early bird catches the worm," Schmidt said. "He was there before and it's also his name, so he has Sasha in America and I will be called Sasha Alexander or whatever, just so we don't confuse people."

In Germany, Coe will use the name DJ Sasha, he said.

"It's unfortunate, but this guy has actually sold like a million records in Germany," Coe said. "In the States, he has absolutely no right to use my name. And we're still fighting to make sure he doesn't release any records in the U.K. It's very, very frustrating."

Schmidt, who sings entirely in English because, he says, "It's hard to sing love songs in German," said his grandfather named him after a '70s French singer named Sasha. "It's a Russian name that means 'the protector,'"

he said.