Interview with SABRINA FRANCIS
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Music has always been a huge part of my life. It’s ingrained in my culture and I grew up in a fairly musical household. My mother was a singer/songwriter herself, a calypsonian. I didn’t see music as a solid career path though until a few years ago when I met my now mentor, Dieter Burkhalter.
If music didn’t find me I would probably be working a 9-5 in someone’s office, possibly as an accountant.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love quiet moments to myself. My daily life is quite busy and chaotic. So when I’m not actively
working on my career, I like to keep it calm. I go to a water source, a river or waterfall preferably, it’s very important that I spend time with my family, and I’ve taken up reading again.
These things make me feel rested, and when I feel rested, I am more creative. I have energy to reflect on all sorts of things and play around with ideas that eventually find their way into the music.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been writing songs since my early teens, and I’ve been in pursuit of my own sound since around 2014.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I go back and forth to the UK. But I am mainly based in Grenada. My music is Afro-Caribbean-pop, my Caribbean upbringing plays a major role in my sound.
Tell me about your most memorable shows?
It’s very hard to choose because I've had so many shows these past few years. But in November of 2021, I did a series of concerts across the UK, each of them special in their own way, still, the show at the Tabernacle in London stands out to me. It was sold out, there was a healthy balance of people in the audience (different ages, races and backgrounds) I know because I spoke with many of them after the performance and the sheer ENERGY and love in that room still gives me chills to this day when I think about it.
On the other side of the coin, very early on in my career we went to Spain, just for the hell of it, and had a few shows. Most of them sold well, but there was one show, where only ONE PERSON turned out. His name was Francis (my last name is Francis) and he took a stool from the bar and put it right at the front of the stage and sat patiently waiting for the show to start. So instead of cancelling the show, I got on stage, and sang my little heart out to Francis and he sang his heart out to me. It was great! and still one of my favourite shows to date. I still think of Francis, I hope he is having the time of his life.
What is your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
In Grenada, during covid, I created a special venue called “Sabrina’s Treehouse” where I host a show once every month for about 40 people. It feels quite exclusive and intimate. It’s up in the mountains amongst nature. Every audience sits among the band with headphones on and enjoys a one hour concert. The ambience, the nature, the immersive nature of the show, has been my favourite place to play since the pandemic.
One day I would like to be on the Glastonbury Festival stage.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Little Simz, Simi, Yeba, Buju Banton, Tarrus Riley, Burna Boy, Aurora
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
If you’re just getting into music my biggest advice to you would be to educate yourself as much as possible on the legal side of things. The more you know the more confidence you will have when faced with certain decisions.
Speaking of which, don’t be afraid to make decisions, you will be faced with many and they can be intimidating, but if you don’t make them, someone will make them for you. Lastly, stay creative, it’s literally the heart of everything you do.
Advice to my younger self: Lighten up. Let go a little bit and enjoy the process.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
‘I'm Awake’ is a song I wrote in 2019 when I was inspired by my African roots. It was the beginning of a transformative journey with regards to my sound. I ended up in South Africa and collaborated with some AMAZING musicians and singers, which then led me to the decision to incorporate my Caribbean and afro sides because it just felt right. The song was also dedicated to my mentor, Dieter. He is the reason I’m able to lead the life I am so blessed to have.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
It changes every week, but right now, my favourite song to play is “No Way”. It just makes me happy and emotional.
My most requested song at the moment is Cocoa Tea, which I also enjoy playing, so win win.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
My music is truly an outlet for me, so as I experience life, I pretty much journal my emotions through my songs. But I take inspiration from other people’s stories as well. Because music requires constant production, I realised early on that I can’t wait for inspiration all of the time. So I’ve kinda trained myself to "write on demand”. Whenever I go into a writing session, I need to come out with a song, no exceptions. Some days are more difficult than others, but when you hold yourself to that, you’d be surprised at the amount of ideas that flow.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I try to keep my music uplifting and relatable. I’m an advocate for mental health because I have my own daily struggles, so through my music I’d like people to know that they are not alone and remind them there are always things in your life to be grateful for. I want people to take care of themselves.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is it coming up?
I’m coming to the UK in October of this year. I have an upcoming concert at Bushhall on the 27th of October and will be releasing my single 'Call Me’ on the 28th. Which I am VERY hyped about.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Follow me on instagram or facebook @sabrinafrancismusic or subscribe to my YouTube: Sabrina Francis. You can find my music on every streaming platform. Keep an ear out.