Pronounced shä-brē-el, This Las Vegas native left a lasting first impression on us right of the bat with her challenging Neo Neo-Soul sound, that’s right I said “Neo” twice, and here’s why:
Sabriel‘s newest single “The Flame” has lots of Soul, it’s mainly in her wonderful and ethereal vocals, but the music challenges even the already oblique label of the genre by taking things a step beyond to less-charted waters. Is “The Flame” burning in bedroom dream-pop? raging in Downtempo-lounge? roasting you alive through the power of post-vaporwave? I can’t say for sure, and I don’t think it matters, the greatness of the song lies in that unorthodox-yet-strangely-familiar vibe that resonates in the hippocampus, evoking memories that make the song become your own as they all dance in perfect harmony.
Sabriel is working really hard to deliver her wonderful sound in an upcoming EP (TBA) and I’m eager to get my hands on it so that I can review the entire work properly. Of the EP, Sabriel said: “I want to achieve vulnerability through these songs, so that others can have a better understanding of their own experiences too.”
Check out the interview below for more:
Great song! The sound is very refreshing and dreamy. Tell us what “The Flame” is. What’s burning here?
Thank you so much! The title for the song came from the lyric “You can light yourself with my fire. That won’t stop my flame from growing higher.” Which means that I can be big and bright and that can inspire others to be big and bright, too. Fire is like a never-ending resource. You can light endless amounts of things from one flame. That flame is happy to share because it knows it cannot be extinguished by sharing its warmth with others.
You’re gearing up for an EP release with this single. How has the process been so far? what have you learned and what have you achieved?
Looking back, the process of writing and producing this EP has been similar to writing in a diary. Every song is about a significant lesson or experience I had over the last year. There’s a song about my first relationship with a woman, a song about letting myself feel repressed anger, and other songs are about spiritual awakenings and anxiety. Which makes it seem like there isn’t a consistent theme to these songs, but for me, I think they all fall into a similar category. I’ve been exploring so many new aspects of myself and letting myself evolve into who I’m supposed to be.
Is the EP close to ready yet? which song are you the happiest with and why?
Yes, the EP is really close to being ready! It’s in the process of being mixed and mastered. So close! I’m really happy with a song called ‘Pulse,’ which is probably going to be the title track. There’s something about it that is really vulnerable and true. It’s raw and kind of sad, but at the same time is very nostalgic. I live for a dramatic tune.
The music video you put out for “The Flame” is very sweet. I listened to some of your other tracks and they all have that underpinned retro-wavey and nostalgic sound but in the case of this song, that seems to be amplified so it plays off really well with the old lo-fi footage. Was it all planned like that from the start or is it a happy little accident from the subconscious?
This is a cool question! It’s really interesting to hear how the song and visuals are perceived like this. Thank you for your perspective!
The Flame was inspired by 2 things. The first thing was the photo that I ended up using as the single artwork. I came across that picture and immediately felt so proud and emotional. It really hit me that I have always been on this path of making music. I found that photo at a time when I was not feeling very confident about my work, and then my younger self was like “Dude, you got this.” So I’d say it was both planned and a happy little subconscious accident.
The second thing was the song Our Destiny/Roadhouse Garden by Prince. I was really inspired by how the song started as one thing and completely changed into something different halfway through. I wanted to achieve something similar, but ended up with a big dramatic buildup ending instead! Prince was a huge part of my childhood. Both of my parents are huge fans.
Mandatory Question: Please tell us about your influences, musical and otherwise. Who and what has led you to sound like YOU?
I’m very inspired by Prince & Stevie Wonder. Recently I realized how big of a role Janet Jackson played on my music making, too. My parents really drilled these artists into my head as a kid and I am so thankful for that. My non-music related influence of the moment is definitely my childhood self. There’s something that she’s always known that I want to tap back into.
Do you have anyone recording with you or do you handle all of the music?
For the most part I handle all of the music! For this track, a lovely person named Riley Geare added some really great live instrumentation to The Flame. You’ll hear live drums, guitar, and bass! He also mixed and mastered the track.
The rest of the upcoming EP is all me, with some tasty contributions from friends sprinkled throughout.
Never been there myself, but the way I hear it, it gets all kinds of weird out in Las Vegas, something about the casino lights and the desert… do you feel like there’s an unorthodox vibe from the city that’s rubbed off on you and your music?
I’d like to believe that Vegas doesn’t rub off on my music, but clearly I’m a sucker for flashiness and glamour. I’m more influenced by that classic vintage Vegas aesthetic. Downtown Las Vegas still has some of that glitz and glam (and spookiness). My family has been in Vegas for generations, so for me to think that it hasn’t affected me as an artist would be silly. Maybe I should see what else Vegas has to offer for me!
Can you describe to us where you feel you are right now with your music?
I feel right on the cusp of finding my voice and sticking with it. I love the things I make, but I still question my own ability all the time. I feel like at some point soon, I’m going to need to stop comparing myself to others and just go full out with my own style and process. I guess that’s kind of what The Flame is about. “I will learn from the moments as they come to me. Just as I always have. Just like I always will” is a lyric reminding myself that I work differently than others. It’s always been better for me to let answers and inspiration come to me naturally rather than seeking them out. But sometimes I’ll see how other people work and my brain will try and tell me that how I create is wrong, which just isn’t true. Overall, The Flame is supposed to be a list of reminders for myself, written with love by my past self.
Here’s to growth!
CONNECT WITH SABRIEL
photos / Morgan Roberts
story / Samuel Aponte