Saba Abraha is a DMV-based Ethiopian songstress that is taking charge creatively and using her voice to represent confidence, love, and passion. Not only does she have one of the most unique and eclectic voices you may ever hear, she also has a songwriting ability that sets her apart from most up and coming singers. Her debut EP How Things Fly was able to top ITunes top 200 pop chart and she has worked with major DMV artist like Chaz French. Although her journey as an artist is just beginning, there is no doubt that Saba has a lot of great things ahead of her.
Between recording and shows, we got to chat with Saba about how she got into music, growing up in the DMV, and what future projects she has in store. Check out the full interview below.
How did music become such a big part of your life?
Initially, I dreamed of becoming an author and journalist. After a series of turn ups, I would end late nights singing my heart out around new faces. Within the same week, I was told numerous times, I should seriously pursue music. It happened to be that the last person who mentioned it, insisted I come along to the studio with them. I found myself exhilarated. It dawned on me that this was the missing piece to myself and I have been singing ever since.
How would you describe your sound?
For a long time I would find myself stumped on this question. I believe my "sound" falls into numerous worlds therefore I describe it as "The Saba Sound."
Has growing up in the DMV area and coming from an Ethiopian heritage influenced your music in any way?
The DMV has such a great balance. I reside in Maryland where I'm surrounded by the suburbs, yet D.C. is a 30 minute commute away. There is a really diverse community of people in the area and you can easily find new and old faces around. Thus being in such a diverse area my Ethiopian heritage has definitely kept me grounded and has influenced my subject matters. I can write about memories of riding bikes with my neighborhood friends or sneaking out for a night to hang in the city. Yet due to my Ethiopian heritage I am conscious as to how I portray all experiences. I tend to stray away from cursing and displaying vulgarity in my visuals. I'm not trying to portray perfection, I just want to leave the audience with a positive message.
“The biggest lesson I've learned over the last year is to not get so caught up in the little trivial things. I find myself stressing out about releases or these deadlines... When in reality there's so much happening in the world, taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture of it all."
Who are some of your biggest music influences (past or present)?
I'd have to say Corrine Bailey Rae and Missy Elliot. Both of them are insanely creative, innovative, beautiful black women who showed confidence in themselves and their sound.
Last year you dropped your debut EP How Things Fly. what was the main inspiration behind this?
How Things Fly covers a range of experiences. Being in love, falling out of love, seeing people for who they really are, losing oneself and finding a stronger person within that. We correlate flying with blooming and growing into the person you are meant to be, thus the EP was titled How Things Fly.
Most of your music videos are very narrative and involve you heavily behind the scenes rather than in front, how did this approach come about?
Growing up, I had trouble transitioning from Senegal to the States. A language barrier can take a toll on ones self-confidence, constantly feeling misunderstood over the simplest things. As I got older and lost my "accent," I still felt at times that I had to explain myself. I've come to realize I communicate best through music. I can sing about many layers of a situation or thought whereas at times I find it difficult to plainly express it in conversation. That being said it's only natural for me to want the audience to fully grasp my visuals. I feel as though sometimes people tend focus on the artist rather than the art itself. I want the viewers full attention on the message so I take pride in writing treatments for visuals because it's my way of conversing with the audience and telling my truth.
What are some of your self-care practices during those overwhelming times?
I'd say my top two self-care practices during overwhelming times are writing and walking in nature.
What's item can’t you live without?
My onesie, I love low maintenance garbs and it's honestly the most comfy thing ever.
If you could collaborate with anyone (Not limited to music artists) who would it be?
I'd have to say Corrine Bailey Rae and Missy Elliot. Let's just pretend I have the option of naming two artist.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned over the last year?
The biggest lesson I've learned over the last year is to not get so caught up in the little trivial things. I find myself stressing out about releases or these deadlines I've made in my mind as to where I think I should be at this or that time. When in reality there's so much happening in the world, taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture of it all.
Can we expect new music soon?
Most definitely, a new single in the next month or so. As well as new visuals right around the corner.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH means being the truest version of you and through that leaving a positive impact on the next.
Photos by: Jamie Cheyenne