Sasha McVeigh Celebrates Her Mother's Support in Touching Music Video: 'Without Her, I Wouldn't Be Here'

The British country singer has beaten the odds from day one — and is now making her way in Nashville with her mother by her side

Sasha McVeigh doesn't know where to start the story about her mom, Linda McVeigh. The British country singer could begin in the late '90s when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 43. Doctors told her an experimental drug was the only hope for saving her life, but she couldn't have more children. She got pregnant with Sasha by accident. Doctors said the baby would be deformed and pressured her to have an abortion.

She refused.

The singer could start with how her mother died twice while giving birth to her or how her parents sold almost everything they owned to help fund her music career. Her mom, whom she calls her best friend, moved to America to help her succeed.

"She shouldn't be here, and I shouldn't be here, but we both are," McVeigh says, explaining her mother has Chiari malformation type 1, a deformity that can cause neck pain, balance problems, poor fine motor skills, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet and more. "A few weeks ago, she actually stopped breathing, and we had to give her oxygen. It was one of the scariest things that's happened in the last few years. There was a moment where I thought I'd lost her, and I can't even begin to describe how horrific that felt."

Sasha McVeigh
Sasha and Linda McVeigh. Courtesy Sasha McVeigh

As a thank you and to celebrate her mom – McVeigh calls her "Mum" – the singer is releasing the video for "Mama (Linda's Song)" for her birthday. The video is packed with home movies from McVeigh's childhood that show their unique mother-daughter bond and emotional footage of the 28-year-old singing the song to her.

"Mum spent so much time making sure I was the center of attention because of the music, and this was my chance to actually put something out that makes her the center of attention," McVeigh says. "I would be nothing without her. We were just always close. We have this bond that's completely unbreakable."

The elder McVeigh, who turned 73 this week, was present for every talent show, every dance when her daughter was a child and always provided an eager audience for what the singer calls "horrendous songs" she wrote growing up.

Sasha McVeigh
Sasha McVeigh with her parents in Nashville. Sasha McVeigh

At 14 years old, Sasha McVeigh saw a program about Amy Winehouse and Adele that highlighted how they dropped out of school to attend The BRIT School, a British performing and creative arts school in Selhurst, Croydon, England. She was determined to follow in her footsteps. The family would have had to move from their home in Eaton Bishop to London, and her mother wouldn't agree. However, she made McVeigh a deal. The mother told her daughter that if she did her best in school and completed her education, she would do whatever she could to help her pursue her dream of being a professional singer.

No one in their family had any experience in the music business, but Linda McVeigh had run two property-developing companies in the '80s and '90s. She approached her daughter's music career with the same business prowess she used in her own profession. When the singer finished school in 2012, her mother started contacting venues in Nashville that she had seen on a television documentary to book shows for her daughter. She had received the Chiari malformation type 1 diagnosis two years before, which ultimately sentenced the dedicated mom to a wheelchair. The women used the diagnosis as fuel. McVeigh wanted to play shows, and her mum had a "bucket list" of places she wanted to see while she still could. They combined the two and started to travel.

"I don't wish the diagnosis on anybody, but I think her getting diagnosed was the catalyst that made both of us work as hard as we have to get this music to work," McVeigh says. "Mum's been very conscious of running out of time because when she was diagnosed in 2010, the doctors told her that looking at the MRI scan, she shouldn't even be walking around."

Sasha McVeigh
Linda and Sasha McVeigh. Courtesy Sasha McVeigh

The women went to Dallas, Texas, where John F. Kennedy was assassinated. They visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. They saw Niagara Falls, where someone borrowed Linda McVeigh's cane to save a man who had fallen into the water. Shortly after, McVeigh's parents decided to sell as much as possible to fund her music career.

She didn't have her green card then and could only stay in the United States for three months. She wasn't old enough to rent cars, so her mother drove everywhere in addition to booking the shows.

"Mum would drive 11,000 miles over a summer while I played in different bars and festivals," she says. "What we did was divide it up. I handled social media that mom didn't really know anything about. But she's really good at talking to people. She would make the phone calls and dictate the emails I would type for her. Without her doing what she's done in the last 10 years, if we're talking about just the music, I wouldn't be where I am right now. If you go back further than that, I wouldn't be here at all."

Sasha McVeigh
Sasha McVeigh.

Linda McVeigh's health has deteriorated in the last year, and she can no longer act as her daughter's manager or attend all of the singer's shows. The women live together and still do everything they can as a team. Earlier this year, they were in Miami and got matching tattoos. They drew hearts on each other and had them inked permanently. Sasha McVeigh got her tattoo on her left wrist so she would see it while she plays guitar. That way, she says, her mom is always there even when she can't attend her concerts.

"I can just look down and see that," she says. "It reminds me of the journey that we've done. Everybody says that they've got the best mum in the world. For me, it's more than that because so much of my life wouldn't be the way it is without her. Mum just says that's what she's meant to do. It's very much tied into what she went through to have me."

Related Articles