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RGM RECOMMENDS – WE INTERVIEW NEW ZEALAND’S SABREEN ISLAM

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide to become a soloist?

I’ve just always loved music and creating it. It’s very therapeutic for me and I think it’s a wonderful way to capture memories and emotions. Deciding to become a soloist wasn’t so much a conscious decision I made, I just love telling stories!

Introduce us to you and your musical history?

My dad is the main reason I love music so much! He really made it a part of our lives growing up, and encouraged us all to play musical instruments. I started writing songs when I was ten (some truly terrible songs on my ukulele) and I’ve done it for nearly ten years now and hopefully improved along the way! I began producing when I was around sixteen and am proud to have produced or co-produced all of my songs to date, and have written all of them.

What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?

I’ll be honest, I hate being asked ‘what’s a fun fact about yourself?’ because I never know how to answer.



Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?

I will say the Princess Diana theory seems pretty legit to me…

What useless party trick do you have?

I can match pitch to any note played or tell the key of any song, which so far has not proved a very useful skill but it is fun!

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

I get quite bad stage fright sometimes, so most of the time just getting past that is really where the fun begins. I think the most fun would have to be when I put on an all-ages show as part of an event management programme and performed there. It was magical to see the night come together and performing was such a rush.

What was the worst experience on stage?

One time I was playing onstage and the guitar strap literally fell off halfway through the song, it was so embarrassing I fully nearly dropped the guitar. My high school music teacher was trying so hard not to laugh!

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?

I am an extremely shy person despite how much I share through my music and writing. I only have a handful of close friends and the person I become while performing or in music videos is often a persona, especially if I’m not feeling great that day. I am not that charismatic or energetic in real life, and that’s okay!

If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe it?

I would probably say ‘hey wanna cry’

What makes you stand out as an artist?

This is a tough question. I like to think that I stand out because I really love experimenting with my sound while always staying true to the song I wrote on my guitar or piano. I really love to have fun, and I hope that’s contagious from my music.

Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?

Politics.

What’s your favourite song to play live and why?

My favourite song to play live is one that is currently unreleased, which is called ‘still love you’. I’m hoping to release it in the near-future, it’s really upbeat and energetic so I’d love to have people hear it soon!

I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?

My new single ‘count me out’ is about a true story of a loved one of mine who got stood up on a first date. I remember being so furious on their behalf that I marched downstairs to the piano and wrote ‘count me out’, about how they deserve so much better! It’s a fun, upbeat chill-pop track which I wrote and produced myself, I really hope people enjoy it.

Talk me through the thought process of the single?

I really just wanted to send a message that people deserve someone who will show up. I remember how heartbroken my loved one was and I wanted to tell her how much better she deserved. I hope it can make someone in a similar situation smile.

What was the recording process like?

Due to the pandemic, I’ve mainly been recording at home. It’s quite fun because I have my little setup and can dance around like an idiot. Like with all my songs, I record/create the instrumental first, and then add the vocals and harmonies on top. This song is pretty light in subject matter, so I had a lot of fun recording it.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?

The song has an interesting three-chord structure in the verses, which when I wrote it was the first time I had composed something like it. It felt very different from my other songs, so I’d say the biggest learning curve was to allow myself to experiment more with chords and melodies, because the result may just sound good!

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

I would have loved to use real drums, but due to the pandemic I had to create the beats on my laptop. They sound good, but nothing beats (excuse the pun) that live drum sound. If I could go back and record it again I would try and use real drums.

What are your plans for the year ahead?

My plan is to release some more singles while I work on a longer body of work! I’m also at university at the moment so the plan is to try and get a balance between music and my studies. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Just some good vibes. I feel as though this world needs some more of those right now. 

CHECK OUT SABREENS WEBSITE HERE