For someone who has received praise and admiration across the board including one to watch status from The Guardian, Sasha Siem still manages to take it all in her stride and seems largely unfazed by the extra attention and what some might even call added pressure. Born to a British mother and a Norwegian father, Sasha began playing the piano at the age of five, quickly followed by the cello, of which she is classically trained. At the age of 11, she studied at London's Guildhall during the weekends before continuing her studies at Cambridge and Harvard universities. By the time she reached her twenties, Sasha had written and composed for the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Opera House, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and many more - much she attributes to her love of and exposure to music from an early age.

"I always wanted to make music," Sasha says as she sips on her lemon tea. We're stationed in a cafe not too far from the Tate Modern - one of her favourite places. "There were a few other things that I wanted to do as well but it's always been music, right from a really young age. I started by writing songs as I think a lot of kids do. Song and music is such a part of our lives from when we're children, either if we're lucky our parents sing us lullabies, in school we sing nursery rhymes or just making songs up with our friends in the playground. That continued as I went into my teenage years, writing songs with such pleasure. I loved it and I loved sharing them. But then that gradually turned into something that was a bit more formalised. I was studying composition and I moved away from writing for the voice and I started writing for orchestras."

Historically, Sasha has composed for the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2010 her efforts were rewarded with a prestigious British Composer Award for essentially working on what she loves the most. She's prefers to only work on projects she can immerse herself in and truly appreciate. "I feel like I've been really careful about the commissions I've taken on so I've always done things that my heart is with. It's a funny thing because I think I'm always writing for others and myself at the same time. There were composers in the '60s who'd say, 'Actually, we don't care at all about our audience, we're just going into this really intellectual realm of sound and noise and there's grades of audiences that doesn't like it, that means that we're winning.' Well, that's a shame; that's a missed opportunity because one of the beautiful things for me about music, what I love about it, shows. The beat is synchronising with our heartbeats, it's about being together and having a lot of people in one space at one time. There's that on the one hand but at the same time they could have been creating some of the best music that we've ever known."

After composing for a number of years, Sasha returned to creating music for herself and music that she can vocal. "After a few years of doing that, which was a really interesting time, I was really missing the voice and so it's kind of taken me full circle." So Polite, Sasha's EP released last year sets the tone for the album as much of it was recorded at the same time. The experience of recording the album has been a fluid one with little distinction between the two projects. "It's been quite organic but the EP songs were made for the album. Some of the material fell into the album but I actually produced them mainly myself but it was very raw; very acoustic. I was living in New York at the time. Some friends and I, we got together and made music. David Kahne is a producer over there. He picked them up and worked on some songs for the EP which was super. As a follow up to that we went out to Iceland as I was writing the album with Valgeir Sigurðsson."

Her love of learning and discovering new instruments continues today as she revealed she enjoys collecting instruments on her travels around the world. "Over the past couple of years [I] started to collect instruments wherever I go, even if I don't know how to play them. Then I bring them home and start playing. I brought back a Sarangi from India recently which is a bit like a cello but instead of playing with the pads of your fingers, you use the cuticle. They actually used to use opium on their cuticles because it was so painful but it's such an incredible instrument." With years of classical training under her belt, Sasha is happy to go off the beaten path as it were and learn to play new instruments on her own terms. "There was something really liberating for me about picking instruments up, not even going on YouTube, just starting a dialogue with it, learning it myself, not feeling that there's any right or wrong, you can make any sound you want. We've got that opportunity all the time in our kitchens, there's so many different instruments that you can play with. It's bout reigniting that freedom to play."

Sasha is currently working on her debut album with esteemed producer Valgeir Sigurðsson who has worked with the likes of Sigur Rós, Feist, Kate Nash and Björk, one of her biggest inspirations. Working with Sigurðsson allowed her to travel to Björk's home country of Iceland which has a big influence on the sound of the album. "It's such an exquisite place. It's so strange, the landscape is strange, there are no trees and it's lunar; it's like being on the moon. As a result, the people... the ones that I met anyway, were really exposed and very eccentric. The whole process of recording there, especially in the deep dark of winter was really supernatural."

Since her first trip and thanks to the bizarre "lunar" surroundings, she's returned to Iceland on numerous occasions. "It's a really raw place. I really feel like I developed a love affair with the place. The place was tangible; you could feel like... it was speaking to me; speaking through my feet or as I was breathing that it was really having an effect on me." The alternate surroundings of Iceland act as something of a polar opposite to her home town, influencing further her sound. "I've been back several times since the first recording sessions that we did and every time I go, it's like it reveals something to me, which I guess in a city we have that experience of where we are, that our environment reveals itself to us and it teaches us. If we're living in concrete, we're learning what it means to be concrete and as a result we're all people jiggling around the city high on concrete vibes, whereas in Iceland it's a whole different energy."

That energy continues with the video for 'My Friend', one of the first singles to be released from the album. Shot in Scotland and directed by Amanda Charchian, Sasha explains: "A good friend of mine is Aldene Johnson and she's a stylist. She introduced me to Amanda Charchian who is this director based in LA and they'd been working together. We basically piled into a car and went up to Scotland for a weekend. We just so enjoyed being together; three girls who got on really well. My sister is also in the video so it was a really lovely outing with some lovely people. We had this concept of two girls who are two parts of the same... self, like your higher self and your lower self, almost like one is leading the other, leading her out of herself."

Earlier this year, BBC Radio 1's music boss George Ergatoudis tweeted "With very few exceptions, albums are edging closer to extinction," while the Guardian reported that industry experts believe that while "elite" artists such as Adele will continue to sell full-length albums, the future lies in streaming playlists. While on the subject of her album, Sasha believes artists and musicians will continue to create and fulfil their needs to write albums regardless of how they're received on a wider scale and still sees a space for albums in the long run. "I think so many artists that I know still love writing an album. Go back to Schubert or Schumann, they were writing song cycles, it's the same thing, Monteverdi was writing operas; the concept has been around for a long time, stringing songs together to create something bigger than the smaller parts. I think regardless of whether people buy the songs as singles or albums, it's not going to change the way singer-songwriters or musicians write. There's still going to be that desire to create complete works."

"An album, even if it doesn't have a through narrative like, a song cycle, it's creating a world for you; that's the way I see it when I'm writing it. It's like... come step into this world, one of these song will give you a glimpse but it's like a kaleidoscope, you keep turning it and you'll keep seeing it from a different perspective. It's up to you how much you want to dive into it. That's like everything in life: we're constantly reminded that we get out as much as we put in, how much are we really seeing? We've got to really learn to see and really learn to feel. If you're really attentive, you'll get the richness of it."

With regards to streaming, she believes the value of the craft will always come back to the artist even if fans aren't necessarily paying for singles and albums individually and is a fan of Spotify in her own personal life. "I think music is always going to be valuable to people so if they're not paying for downloads, they're going to be investing in different ways and that is important. I think it's important as a listener I think we should show appreciation for the artist and that the artist feels that so it creates this circuitry. I think the balance will address itself. I think the biggest thing about it is taking responsibility for the way that we use the tools that we have. I personally know that it's really easy to get swept up in some things without choosing but there are so many great things about it."

Following the release of her album in the New Year, Sasha hopes to do some more touring and when we speak, she's only days away from a headline gig at St Pancras Old Church in London ("I'm so excited! I'm so looking forward to it. It's been a long time coming really!"). She's also begun writing new material for future projects. "It's just really exciting to play with amazing musicians, reach more listeners and connect with more people." Connecting with individuals is something of a mantra to her and wants that to continue for a long time to come. "If the songs I sing make somebody smile, wake up and realise what they're here for, live life to the fullest with joy and depth. That's what the music does for me. Let's just be alive while were here, let's really do this. I want to really make connections with people while we're all here on this planet."