For those who have been following our blog, Sabrina Gunston needs no introduction. However, from today a singer-songwriter from Brighton wants you to call her SABRINA. Rebranding is never easy and we wanted to hear more about that and what inspired her latest single ‘Losing Sleep’.
As we’ve been following Sabrina’s journey for the last few years we are thrilled to see the new direction she is taking. ‘Losing Sleep’ is definitely the best track to date as there is so much mystery in the production and some of the sounds will haunt you for sure. We were spinning the song on repeat and as it is just a first single, imagine what comes next.
SABRINA describes her sound as experimental electronica with slight elements of alt r&b and pop. The singer just dropped her debut single ‘Losing Sleep” last Friday and we already named it as the single of the week and featured it on our New Music Sunday playlist.
Tell us more about ‘Losing Sleep’
The song was initially written around two years ago. I wrote it based on the concept of someone who you are always finding yourself compromising with, someone who never gives you time but you give them all of yours and coming to the realisation that you’re not happy with this relationship and the need to confront them about it. However, for me, I never confronted that person, instead, I just wrote this song.
What are the things that don’t let you sleep at night?
Melodies and lyrics! It’s the curse of a songwriter. Late at night, you are knackered and you are all cosy in bed then suddenly, you write a few of your best songs and have to record it on a voice memo on your phone so you don’t forget them in the morning! Also, if I’m worrying about something, I start overthinking which then means I’m up all night. But what I find which really helps me get to sleep is writing down anything that is on your mind on paper or on your phone which means those thoughts/feelings/worries, leave your mind and land on the paper so you can sleep easy.
Where do your ideas for songs come from?
It always varies. Mostly on personal experiences, whether that’s being in love, being unhappy, worrying, the world, friendships, feeling empowered, the list goes on! However, I do always find inspiration in friends, in papers and headlines and when I overhear people’s conversations (I’m very nosey).
What does your creative process look like?
Normally, it’s me and my piano. I start playing a chord sequence and I get a certain vibe or feeling from that and suddenly I’m writing a verse or a chorus. I then open up Logic on my Mac and start recording the basics like piano and then some synth and bass then I jazz it up depending on how I feel or how I want the song to feel.
What made you go through a rebrand? Was it a painful decision?
I’m constantly growing into a better songwriter and vocalist (hopefully) and I’ve got a catalogue of new, fun, experimental, electronic songs that I’ve written. With the help of my boyfriend, Edward Sansom who is also a musician, he has helped produce them with me and I’ve never been so excited to share them. The rebrand just felt right as it’s different from my first ever EP that I released (777) and different to the singles I have shared before.
The rebrand is the start of my next chapter.SABRINA
What was the biggest lesson learnt while choosing a name?
Well, no lesson really as it wasn’t that hard. It’s MY name and I think SABRINA is quite a unique name and I didn’t really want my surname to be addressed with my artist name anymore.
Aren’t you afraid that by removing your surname it will be harder for your fans to find you. Especially on Google as it is the same name as a very popular TV Series?
Yes and no. It might help me get some more coverage as everyone is searching in my name because of the popular TV Series so they might see me pop up more often and to be honest, the more I release and do with SABRINA, the more it will appear in searches. Sabrina Gunston will still remain on music platforms and I will probably still use it for certain remixes or features on songs (depending on the vibe/genre of the song). So I guess, for now, I get to pick what single belongs where!
How are you surviving the lockdown?
Lockdown has been ok for me so far. I’ve been very creative and motivated. I’ve been writing lots of new music, recording some covers of club classics and trying to make it more my style. I’ve been creating music videos at home. I’ve been exercising a lot and running along the seafront in the early mornings whilst singing along to some throwback songs at the top of my lungs! I’ve also been able to work out a plan for my new music and create myself a planner of what’s to come
What is the first thing that you will do once the lockdown is gonna be lifted?
See my boyfriend and book a gig slot so I can perform as I miss being on stage and dancing around a lot.
What makes you truly happy in life?
My family, my boyfriend, my friends who make me laugh until I cry. The sun in the blue sky, the sound of the sea and a good find in a charity shop.
Music to me is a way of expressing me, my feelings, my emotions and being able to relate to others.SABRINA
Who are your biggest music influences?
James Blake (always and forever), his music makes me feel something else. Some of his songs are so fragile to the ear, some of them make me walk down the street like I’m a boss, some of them make me feel sleepy and some of them just make me want to move. He’s a very talented artist.
I’ve always loved artists like Billie Holiday, Nina Simona, Minnie Riperton and Sade. They’ve always been playing around the house since I can remember. When they sing, you can really feel their emotion that they are portraying in the song and their voices are just incredible. I’ve also been really into Billie Eilish, Little Dragon and Sylvan Esso but I’m always finding new artists as I listen to so much and such a variety! So if you asked me this next week, it would probably be a little different.
So if you asked me this next week, it would probably be a little different.
Do you experience any of the challenges as an independent artist working in the music industry?
Yes for sure. I think all independent artists face challenges in the music industry. When you haven’t got backing from any label is a hard one, so financially, it’s difficult as you can’t put as much into your music journey as you haven’t got the funds available. So you work full or part-time somewhere to get the money, which is then a long process to get the money. So by the time you have enough, you’re a bit too late to the party.
Also, it’s dealing with all the emails and promotion and keeping on top of releases and schedules and videos. I would say it’s extremely hard being independent but at the same time, it gives you so much flexibility and satisfaction when you’ve completed something and get great feedback from it. I would love it if I could get a team behind me as it would give me a confidence boost as well as help me get to the right people. Nowadays, it’s more about WHO you know!
I would say it’s extremely hard being independent but at the same time, it gives you so much flexibility and satisfaction when you’ve completed something and get great feedback from it.SABRINA
If we’d hack your Spotify account, what artists would we find?
Edward Sansom, James Blake, Billie Eilish, Little Dragon, FKA Twigs, NAO, Foals, Sampa the Great, Esperanza Spalding, Metronomy, K.Flay, Joni Mitchell, Phantogram and Flume.
Do you have a song, that when you hear it, you’d say, “I wish I’d written that”?
Justin Timberlake – ‘Cry Me A River’, James Blake – ‘Retrograde’, Bee Gees– ‘Night Fever’, Earth, Wind & Fire – ‘Shining Star’, Foals – ‘My Number’… The list goes on!
Do you have any recommendations of artists we might not have heard yet?
Ashe is a very cool artist. One of her songs was featured in a film and it’s blown up! Another artist is ((( O ))), she has some lush tunes out right now. K.Flay creates tunes which make me feel like setting things on fire haha (great running songs). Foreign Air has beats which make you bop till you drop.
Success in the music business to me is being able to live comfortably from doing music. Singing, writing, performing, touring.SABRINA
Do you think there’s anything artists or fans can do to support each other during these strange times of COVID-19?
There’s been a few things already that people have been doing to support others which has been lovely. Just sharing new songs, commenting on their posts (which helps the algorithms) and perhaps some even doing some collabs.
What piece of advice you’d give to other artists who are at the beginning of their journey?
Always write/produce music you love. By doing that, you will always put 1000000% into it and you will stay motivated. At some point, you will get to where you want to be. If you want something that badly, it’s bound to happen at some point.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Stay positive during this time. It can be quite negative, with the news constantly telling you how many deaths there have been and how long it will be until we are able to go back outside and enjoy it without the worry BUT, take this time to create, to read that one book you never had time to read, start learning something new, enjoy catching up with old friends over a video call. Focus on your health and try and find the positives.
Take this time to create, to read that one book you never had time to read, start learning something new, enjoy catching up with old friends over a video call. Focus on your health and try and find the positives.SABRINA
What have you got planned for 2020 and have any of your plans been impacted?
More new music and professional music videos compared to my little home-made one. Some new merchandise and hopefully some features on some wicked songs that are coming out later this year! I’d love to gig at the end of 2020 but I think this year has been put on hold for a bit.