With the release of her debut album About Time setting our collective speakers on fire, our thirst for more of Sabrina Claudio’s story is growing. Unlike most young artists her age, Sabrina keeps a relatively low profile. Her social media presence is understated, and she hasn’t given a whole lot of “look-at-me” soundbites to give us more perspective on who she is as an artist and a person.
Perfect timing, then, for a mini-documentary on her journey. Claudio recently sat down for an interview with Beats 1’s Ebro Darden and an Apple Music video profile on her career. The 21-year-old Boricuban singer chronicles her childhood in Miami, early disappointments in her career, and the support of her family in the 10-minute doc and interview. She also performs a stripped down set of three of her catalog’s highlights (“Confidently Lost,” “Frozen,” and “Belong to You”).
Sabrina Didn't Consider Herself Well-Liked as a Child
“I don’t know if it was because of my face or something, but I just wasn’t well-liked at all,” Sabrina ponders with a smirk in the mini-doc. She didn’t find much in the way of friendships growing up, but that didn’t stop her from dabbling in performance. Her first forays on the stage were as a cheerleader and dancer, exploring everything from belly dancing to hip-hop, before discovering a passion for singing when she joined her high school’s choir.
The warm feedback she received led to her asking her parents for a microphone for her birthday, which began her YouTube cover career. Finally receiving positive attention from her classmates, Sabrina didn’t know how to process it, as Sabrina admits she sometimes thinks of herself as “naturally unhappy.”
Sabrina's Grandfather Introduced Her to Bossa Nova
In her interview with Ebro, Sabrina explains that she tries not to be influenced too heavily by one artist. “My fear of idolizing one specific artist is that I’m going to become them,” she admits. Instead, she prefers to play with genres, including her first love R&B as well as Latin American influences like bossa nova, which her grandfather introduced her to growing up in Miami. Growing up Puerto Rican and Cuban in Miami, she mentions that “Latin influences” (like merengue, salsa and more) were a part of her musical upbringing as well.
Her Early Experiences in the Music Industry Weren't Fruitful
Between attending high school and uploading her covers to her growing YouTube channel, Sabrina began flying back and forth between her native Miami to Los Angeles to get her first taste of studio life. Though she was confident in writing her own music, her producers rebuffed her lyrics as unbelievable because of their maturity, despite her young age. “‘No, I can write like I’m 20 years old,'” Sabrina recalls thinking. “That was when I was 14, now I write like I’m 40,” she laughs.
Other producers tried to get her to follow the mold of artists like Adele and Lana Del Rey, though Sabrina insists, “In my heart, I knew [that] was not what it was going to be.” She returned to Miami depressed that her dreams were seemingly coming to an end before they could even start.
Sabrina's Family Relocated to LA to Help Her Pursue Her Dreams
Determined not to let her goals fall by the way side, Sabrina’s parents, along with her brother Jeremy, decided to relocate the family to LA from Miami. Sabrina was able to lean on the support system of her family while also asserting her voice much more the second time around, working with producers and a new manager, Neal Atweh, who were more willing to let Sabrina steer her own ship.
With the help of her manager, Sabrina released her first original song “Confidently Lost” and began immediately fielding record contract offers.
Sabrina's Father is Surprisingly Chill
In the Beats 1 interview, Ebro asked Sabrina if she was nervous about the response her dad would have to the music video and cover art for her single “Unravel Me,” which features Sabrina partially nude.
To Sabrina’s surprise, her supportive dad responded to the potentially awkward situation. “He was like, ‘This is beautiful. This is so artistic and classy,'” she said. “I was like, did I text the right person?”