Sabiyha was born and raised in South London’s Croydon amongst a large, extended family – headed up by matriarch ‘Nanny’, to whom her intensely personal recent single ‘Lullaby’ pays tribute. Growing up in Sabiyha’s house was never silent, her teenage world sound-tracked by the latest tracks from Choice FM and Channel U, with Grime and soca playing at day-to-night parties round BBQs (snippets from which also appear as soundbites on ‘Lullaby’). It’s a balance which reflects the broader interplay between her cultural heritage – brought into sharper focus by a visit to Sabiyha’s parents’ former home of Guyana, and filtered through her 2020 debut single ‘Choorile’ – and the ease of Croydon’s multicultural dynamic. I got an opportunity to speak to Sabihya about her latest single and the inspiration behind it.
How is this release the next stage in your evolution as an artist?
I think as an artist, I’m evolving in confidence and conviction in what I believe in. I no longer feel afraid or unsure of writing about things that truly matter to me. It’s so easy as womxn in our society to feel judged for speaking about our sexual freedom; but despite that judgment I feel like it no longer affects me and if anything, fuels me.
What themes do you explore?
In ‘Undone’, I’m exploring the theme of sexual liberation. I feel like there’s been a shift recently where women are reclaiming their sexuality and I’m so here for it. I wanted to explore the themes of sex, lust and and unfiltered confidence.
Talk us through the inspiration behind it.
The inspiration came from my own experience of feeling stifled or oppressed to sexually express myself. Sonically the chords inspired this sensual ebb and flow and song naturally came together from there.
Who are your musical inspirations, and what sounds or influences will we be able to hear in this release?
I’m inspired by so many women of colour and the waves they are making in this industry. Artists such as Princess Nokia, Tierra Whack and Jazmine Sullivan are just a few of the women that really resonate with me. You’ll hear influences from RnB, to Soca to sounds inspired by my South Asian roots, really expressing my pride in my Indo Caribbean heritage.
What did you want to achieve with this?
I’d like to express my diversity within music and also rep my roots and myself as a woman of colour.
How do you define success?
That’s a pretty tough question! But I guess I’ll feel successful when I feel happy with where I’m at. Where I’m putting out art that I love and making a living from it full time. I also want to use my platform for good, to spread awareness on issues that are important to me; like systemic racism, body positivity, changing the way we view women in the industry, mental health .etc. If I can build a platform big enough to permit change, then that’ll feel like success to me.
What do we have to look forward to from you?
Plenty of music that we feel super proud of! And music that people resonate with and feel connected to.
Check out Sabiyha’s music below
Connect with Sabiyha