It is not often you meet very talented people who someday will be signing autographs. Sabrina Nembhard is a down-to-earth God-fearing individual; who is also funny, a lover of music, fashion and food. More affectionately known as Sabree, she is a ‘Jane of many traits’ and has saturated the art industry with her personality and flair.
“While I was at Edna Manley College, I had a Jazz teacher who would call me Sabree at times and even suggested I use it as a stage name. I didn’t like it at first, but when I graduated I remembered his suggestion and thought it was pretty unique. So, that’s how I came about the name. Plus, “Sab” and “Bree” are two of the many names my friends call me, so it all worked out perfectly in the end.” – Sabree in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
Sabree moved to Kingston in 2009, but grew up in the hills of Cavalier’s District, St. Andrew and attended Manning’s Hill Primary School then Oberlin High School. Growing up, she was exposed to a Christian background; she believed those teachings helped shape her character as she adopted those principles. Throughout her growing up years, she found inspiration from her friends and persons who work on their grind to make their dreams a reality. Sabree affectionately attributes her strength and meticulousness to her mom and aims to make her proud.
During her high school years, she studied the social sciences and music to the 9th grade and was one of the lead singers in her school choir. She did not plan academically to pursue music as she initially desired to become a lawyer or journalist. Years later, while enrolled at the University of Technology (UTECH), she decided to follow her dreams of breaking into the music industry as a singer. She went to Edna Manley School for the Visual and Performing Arts from which she graduated with first class honours. Believing education is key, she feels it is integral to the effective and efficient functioning of an individual in whatever field they wish to pursue. Her biggest accomplishment to date is her degree and her release of her single “Be Sure”.
“I’ve always known that singing is what I was meant to do, but when you have [people] telling you that singing is not a career, doubt will definitely creep in… and at the time it did. I’m glad I chose music though.” – Sabree.
Other than having a passion for singing, Sabree has many different hidden talents – dancing, modelling and she knows how to play the piano. She aspires to learn how to play the guitar in the future. If she chose to pursue another degree, it would be in Music Management, which would widen her knowledge in music.
Although she admitted that she wasn’t where she wanted to be in terms of her life goals, she knows that she is where she is supposed to be in the moment. Nonetheless, she is grateful for now and is trusting the process; nothing happens before it’s time.
“Always be true to who you are, no matter if you have to disappoint a few people. I think being your true self is one of the most freeing things ever.” – Sabree.
This musical gem is trendy with traditional influence and has a distinct voice that captivates her audience. Her heart and soul gushes forth like a fountain of passion as she does not just sing the lyrics of the songs, whether original or covered, she expresses them. She does not limit herself to a particular genre when it comes to her singing career, but most of her songs find light with Jamaican and pop music fusions – it is “soulful, unique, jazzy, sweet and sultry.” Jitters get the best of singers most times when they are gearing up for a performance. Before Sabree performs her gigs/corporate events, she prays and gives herself pep talks to fend off the ‘butterflies in her stomach’.
She writes from a place of inspired personal experiences and the ebbs and flows of life – she draws inspiration from Tori Kelly, India Arie, Aretha Franklin and Lauryn Hill. When she completes a song and feels confident about what she has just created, it makes her feel very accomplished. In turn, she hopes that listeners feel motivated and inspired by the words of her music; the feedback she has received from her audience has been great as it motivates her to never give up on her art.
“When people tell me they love my sound and music that really pushes me. Some have suggested I experiment a bit more genre-wise without losing the essence of who I am and what I want to say. I’ve taken those critiques and advice and I have to say my new materials are pretty solid.” – Sabree with The Caribbean Current.
While people don’t see or accept the strife of upcoming artistes, Sabree still finds the struggle eminent, especially being a female in the music industry. She is still confident in her talent amidst being true to herself, so having to compromise her character in order to propel in the industry is a risk she would not engage in.
She is currently working on her EP and has released two new singles she prides herself on conceptualizing; while her journey has not been easy it has been worth it.
“The journey has been a mixture of happy and sad days, somewhat like an emotional roller-coaster. I’m finding my groove now though so things are definitely better. I’ve learnt a lot about music and myself. The growth has been great so no regrets.” – Sabree.
In the Near Future
Sabree fosters thoughts of opening or collaborating with artists who she believes are her idols. Opening for Chris Martin, Ikaya, Romain Virgo, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, and Jessie J at one of their performances or collaborating with Chris Martin, Ikaya or Tori Kelly would definitely put her on Cloud 9. Her favourite artists are Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill and Tori Kelly. She has not ruled out leaving Jamaica to pursue her ‘big break’ in other parts of the world; she wants to reach a wider scale for her music and her brand.
High hopes motivate us all to be our best self and strive to achieve our goals. Sabree’s short-term goals are to release her EP early 2018 and develop a team to work alongside her to promote her music; her social media presence can’t do it alone. For her long-term goals, she envisions herself being a platinum accomplished singer, selling out arenas and performing at her own world tour.
“I’d like to do a collaboration with Chris Martin. I’m a huge fan and I think our voices would blend well together. Ikaya too cuz she’s just full of so much soul. Tori Kelly is my girl, so I’d definitely do a collaboration with her as well. I love her voice and writing style.” – Sabree with The Caribbean Current.
In the future, while accomplishing her life goals, she also wishes to give back to those who do not possess the resources to pursue their dreams. In doing so, she will promote the ideology that persons should know what they stand for and go make their dreams a reality no matter what.
By Alexandra Daley