Rising Music Star Sabiine on The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Music Industry

Karina Michel Feld
Nov 20, 2020 · 10 min read

Lastly, learn learn learn. There are so many nuances to the music industry and sometimes it seems like there’s more business than there is music. Most indie artists like myself don’t have the financial or legal backing to make the right decisions all the time. Whether it’s promotion, or playing gigs, or signing contracts, try to learn as much as you can, and be willing to adapt and learn from your mistakes.

As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Sabiine.

Sabiine is a 24-year-old Atlanta-based singer-songwriter who’s known for her original voice, head bopping melodies, musical diversity, and sticky hooks. Sabiine’s voice has been compared to Little Dragon, Hope Sandoval, and Lorde. Her original songs are crowd-pleasing and infectious, including elements of hot adult contemporary, dark pop, dance, and indie-folk. The artist proudly writes all of her own melodies and lyrics, and commonly bases her songs of real life events. She has a relentless drive to create music, so much so that she taught herself to play guitar at age 11 by watching YouTube videos. Sabiine’s first EP On My Mind was a low-key hit, added on over 120 radio stations, reaching number 150 on the weighted College Radio Charts, and charting (as high as number 2) on 15 stations, whilst earning critical praise and playlist adds across the internet and Spotify. Dancing About Architecture’s Dave Franklin said “If Sabiine was looking to produce the perfect chilled pop song for the modern market then she has got as close as anyone else I have heard in a long time.” Skope Magazine said “this is one glowing track that deserves your undivided attention…I promise you that ‘On My Mind’ will get stuck in your head for days to come!”

Thank you so much for doing this with us Sabiine! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

First of all, thanks so much for interviewing me. As a new artist, the opportunity to reach a wider audience is incredibly important and I’m grateful to Authority Mag for the exposure. To answer your question, I grew up in Augusta GA and my sister and I were raised by a single mom. We moved to the Atlanta suburbs when I was 6. My mom worked a lot so I had to learn how to entertain myself outside of school. I was very interested in art and music and I wasn’t particularly athletic so I spent a lot of my time drawing, listening to music, and watching music videos. I got my first guitar when I was 10 and taught myself how to play that as well as piano. I saw music as a way of decompressing and when I was a teenager, I started posting little 15 second videos of me on Instagram singing. I got nice feedback from friends as well as some people in the industry. After many years, with the encouragement of friends and family, I decided to take a chance on myself and pursue a career in music.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Well I was always commended by family, friends, school about my art and music so of course it was always something I wanted to pursue. It’s just a little difficult figuring out how to get started… One day, a high school classmate’s dad who is an entertainment lawyer reached out to me to talk about my music. We had a phone call and he asked about what I was doing with my music and songwriting and encouraged me to start writing my own music and gave me practical advice on how to get started. That really boosted my confidence and made me look at music as something I could pursue as a career. He was sort of the first person in my corner really pushing me to pursue it. For years after that, I still really only made music in my down time. I went to college for art and graphic design but I was so burnt out and really missed music. I ended up leaving school. After a whole year andI was just messing around in my home studio when I recorded a stripped-down, acoustic version of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”. I posted that track to SoundCloud and it sort of took off. After that I realized people enjoyed my voice and style so it was motivating and got me excited to pursue music even more seriously.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Well this is a funny story. When I was filming the “Secrets” music video for my last EP we were shooting at a borrowed location in a shed back behind a friend’s house. Meanwhile, there was this huge house party going on right outside with tons of people at the house and in the yard having a great time. One of the scenes in the video involved me hanging upside down by these gravity boots from a rod on the ceiling to create the whole bat-hang-vampire effect. For the life of us, me and the film crew couldn’t figure out a way to get me up there. We resorted to fashioning a landing pad out of some forsaken old mattresses we found in the shed in case I went down with one of the rafters. We ended up recruiting a bunch of the guys from the party who hoisted me upside down to get me in place for that shot. It’s funny because people had no idea what in the world was going on, everyone at this party was super curious about what we were doing, and it’s cool they were super excited to help us out.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I used to think I could perform without practicing, like I was some kind of total pro at age 17. That definitely did not go well. It’s definitely cringe to think back on a performance where I was so nervous that I forgot my own lyrics, but it’s funny too to think of my ego. The audience definitely cuts you down to size quick! Mistakes aren’t all bad, especially when you’re open and let yourself learn from them. They show you how to be better and try harder. I’m not super self-serious so it was easy for me to just laugh it off but I learned I couldn’t have that blasé attitude if I wanted to make it in the music industry. I certainly realized the importance of practice and stage presence, especially living in a city with so many insanely talented people.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I just wrapped up my second EP of 2020, Dragonfruit, along with a music video for the song “Hotline” and I’m incredibly proud about both projects and excited for more people to hear and see them. I have about a dozen more songs that I’d like to record, and I’m already back in the studio. The next project is going to be a full length album, likely with a release date in 2021. I’ve also been kicking around ideas with my friends at Media Team about another music video for the track “Water”. I’ve made two videos that build more from a theatrical narrative form, both of which I love. For the next one, I’m interested in working on something more experimental.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

It’s very important! I’ve been privileged to have grown up and lived in diverse areas. When you grow up around people from different backgrounds, you get the opportunity to be exposed to different ideas and perspectives. We actually recorded Dragonfruit at my producer Tyler’s studio in Clarkston, Georgia which is maybe one of the most diverse places in America in terms of having a huge immigrant and refugee population living alongside both black and white native Georgians. I think a lot of American’s nervousness about and distrust of people who are not like them come from a lack of familiarity and exposure. Entertainment is a huge presence in most people’s lives and provides the opportunity for people to be exposed to people who look, sound, and act differently than them and find out they enjoy it. Just thinking about entertainment and the LGBTQ community, shows like Will and Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and even Survivor had a huge impact in terms of introducing mass culture to the gay experience which I think contributed directly to greater acceptance and political and policy gains. Diversity in entertainment reminds us that we’re all just people regardless of our differences, we’re all complex, and we all just want to be happy. I like it that kids from various backgrounds can see people like them in different kinds of roles in T.V. and entertainment today.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Surround yourself with people who believe in you and push you to be better and enrich your creative endeavors. Try to find those people who share your vision and want to create alongside you and put in the same quality of work into your projects that you do.

Don’t sacrifice your vision for the sake of collaboration. Collaboration is essential in creating, but there’s just no need to water down your ideas to appease the opinions of collaborators, especially if it doesn’t feel authentic to you.

Do stay open minded to change and new ideas when making music. Sometimes you get really stuck when you’ve heard your song 300 times, try to seek input from someone who has achieved something you want to achieve as well. Also, take the random dude on facebook’s critique of your life and art with a sense of humor.

Stay positive when it feels like no one is hearing you. It’s easy to focus on lack of progress/growth in regards to growing your audience but remind yourself of why you make music in the first place.

Lastly, learn learn learn. There are so many nuances to the music industry and sometimes it seems like there’s more business than there is music. Most indie artists like myself don’t have the financial or legal backing to make the right decisions all the time. Whether it’s promotion, or playing gigs, or signing contracts, try to learn as much as you can, and be willing to adapt and learn from your mistakes.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I like to try to see myself in other people. There are some people who are easy to love and others, maybe not so much. When I’m feeling really on edge about someone, it helps me to try to put myself in their place and think about what they’re going through. I think if we could all just work to find our empathy and compassion for each other that would go a long way toward solving the world’s problems.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I especially want to thank the two producers I’ve worked with, Tyler Gunz on Dragonfruit and Jesse Owen Astin on On My Mind, my manager who doesn’t like me to name him on press things, but who has been incredibly helpful in managing my career, and Ben Martin and John Roche from Media Team who have been amazing, talented, and generous with their time in helping me create music videos. Also, I want to thank all my fans. I’m so happy to be able to make music and I’m very grateful to my fans, especially the super fans, who are always there to support me and cheer me on.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

First things first. It’s a good rule of thumb. You can’t produce an album until the songs are written, and you can’t promote it until it’s produced. For me, having a plan and developing the discipline to stick to it has been incredibly important in actually being able to create and release music.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

Well, he’s not alive, but Steven Biko. He had this absolutely insane idea that if you could teach South African children to think about themselves and their situation differently that they would eventually grow up and end Apartheid. And you know what, it worked. His writing is super deep and embedded with philosophy. I just love the idea of focusing on psychological empowerment as a means to achieve political and economic gains over time. If you can change the way we think about ourselves and others, you can ultimately change the way we treat each other. That’s not a dream. Steven Biko proved that. I’d love to just sit and hear everything he has to say about his life’s accomplishments.

How can our readers follow you online?

Thanks, you can find all my socials through this link linktr.ee/sabiine

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Pop Culture, Business, Tech, Wellness, & Social Impact

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Karina Michel Feld

Written by

Executive Producer of Tallulah Films

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.