An interview with Bianca Alysse for Billboard.
Miami’s soulfully upsurging millennial singer-songwriter Sabrina Claudio is still overjoyed after the recent release of her project, About Time. She was briefly out of the spotlight while penning this beloved collection of songs, which followed her seductive debut EP, Confidently Lost. Alongside 6LACK, the R&B sensation is optimistically preparing to showcase her passionate sonorousness on her first major North American live tour.
The “FREE 6LACK TOUR” alignment came about after their sultry collaboration on the remix to her virally acclaimed song, “Belong To You.” But, Claudio isn’t decelerating in the fast lane — she is whisking up millions of streams and towards her first national TV performance, on CBS’ The Late Late Show with James Corden that’s set for Monday, Oct. 23. The emerging songstress’ sweet vocalizations and intoxicating lyrics are eons ahead of her time, with her art exhibiting true promise of superstardom.
It is clear, in addition to being easy on the ears’ fans are all-too captivated by her dreamy vogue and sexual magnetism. Billboard sat down with the self-assured Claudio for an exclusive look at her fresh ambitions, lusty visuals and how her half-Cuban, half-Puerto Rican heritage influences her sound. Check out why cyberspace is obsessing over this melodic bombshell.
Billboard: You’ve mentioned how salsa and merengue have influenced you. What was it like growing up in Miami with these sounds?
Sabrina Claudio: I grew up around that environment, salsa and merengue were around me at all times. It has influenced my sound completely. There’s a lot of Latin influences in terms of sonics and sounds [in my music]. It will just always be in my blood, really.
What cover song went viral and pushed you to become a singer?
I think I went viral on Twitter. It was probably a Frank Ocean song. I can’t remember. Wait! I believe it was “Super Rich Kids.” One of his songs on channel ORANGE.
Your sound seems virtually limitless. Who are your influences?
I get most of my influences from specific genres. I listen to a lot of R&B music, obviously. But, jazz, and bossa nova music, too. I get influenced by honestly anything, whether it be artists or sounds, or certain production, [it inspires me]. It is not anything in particular.
What do you feel are the key differences between Confidently Lost and About Time?
There are key differences. But, the main, main difference is I wrote a majority of this last project. Yes, About Time, I wrote on my own. On Confidently Lost, I had a co-writer with me. On About Time there were about three times I had a co-writer with me. The rest of them was me, I wrote them myself.
“Unravel Me” was arguably your most vulnerable video. Did you have to build confidence before going bare on camera?
I don’t think it was a confidence thing, the only thing I was worried about was what my dad was going to think. [Laughs] That was my only worry the whole time. But, being bare was something that I felt was needed for the visual and for the concept of the song. So, I was confident about doing it. It was just a matter of what people were going to say, specifically, my daddy.
You’re currently the No. 1 R&B artist on iTunes at 21-years-old. How surreal is that for you?
It is crazy! I don’t typically look at charts, but this chart, I am most proud of with my genre. I worked really hard on this project. So, to have that type of feedback is extremely rewarding.
You’re opening the “FREE 6LACK TOUR,” what can your fans anticipate?
Obviously, there will be a lot more music happening. It’s just going to be a new experience overall. I am still looking forward to seeing what is next musically for my team. There is going to be a lot more movement on the “FREE 6LACK TOUR.” Fans will see me with my band. My set is going to have a live feel. The show is going to be different from what I feel people might expect from me.
What was it like working with 6LACK for the “Belong to You (Remix)?”
I was not physically in the studio with him when collaborating. Still, the process was amazing. 6LACK is just a true artist. So, the process with him was easy, we did not go back and forth much.
He was great! What you heard on the remix was what 6LACK sent me the first time in the studio. I thought he killed it immediately. So, yeah, it was pretty easy to collaborate.
Teen Vogue named you “The future of R&B.” What are your thoughts on the current state of R&B music?
I think R&B is at its highest peak. At the moment, I think it is the top genre for our generation and I am proud of it. I think that R&B is something that people need to hear. The vulnerability in the music is something that has been missing [from the sound] for a little bit. I am glad I am apart of something that was able to bring that back to listeners.
Who are you listening to?
Ahh, myself! [Laughs] Honestly, I really have been focused on my project, About Time. I wanted to put it together properly. So, I have been in the studio. [I am there] so long every day, that is all I have been really been focused on. But, there are artists who I [believe in]. I will take the time to listen to their projects. There is Daniel Caesar, Khalid and SZA! Honestly, all the new up-and-coming R&B artists are what I listen to.
The “Belong to You” video was very fashion-forward. The gold body paint scene had a sunset background that wrapped the crown of your head in a way that almost looked biblical. What was the message behind that image?
Yes, fashion-forward, but the crown was not biblical. I believe its message was empowerment. The entire video was based upon empowerment. We wanted to go with something goddess-like. That was the inspiration behind the image.
You said, “I like being carelessly but cautiously creative.” Can you elaborate on that quote?
It is just that I am a free spirit. When it comes to creation, I am open. However, I am extremely picky when it comes to who I create with. So, that is pretty much what it is. When I find a group of people or the person that I relate to the most, or that I have the best chemistry with — then that is when we are completely free. But, if the compatibility is not to that point, I am a little bit more standoffish. You know? That is what I meant when I said that.
What is your message to women?
That’s a big question. I guess my message is to embrace yourself. Women should embrace who we are as individuals. You can embrace yourself by enhancing yourself if that is what you want to do. Or you can embrace yourself by being natural. Just to love yourself, no matter what. And, do not let any insecurities get you to a place where you feel like you need to change something.
You’re a Cuban & Puerto Rico woman, what are your thoughts on what’s happening in the Caribbean?
What recently took place was devastating. If I had the power to make an incredible change I certainly would. But, thus far, I have been doing what I can by making donations. I have made sure my family out there is okay. Yeah, it is devastating. But, what can we do, though?
What would you like your fans to know about you?
I am fairly transparent about my life. I think my fans pretty much know me as a person. But, I understand that personality wise, it is [somewhat difficult to convey] across social media. Still, with this upcoming tour, and all that I am doing by getting to know more people in the business, taking more interviews — I think that people are getting to know me personally a little bit better.