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Get to Know Apple Music’s Newest Up Next Artist

Sabrina Claudio opens up about her sultry sound and emotional storytelling style

On Sabrina Claudio’s newest project, About Time, the follow-up to her debut EP, Confidently Lost, the songstress explores the concept of time, with each song offering a different interpretation or idea on the subject: losing time, not having enough time, having too much time or giving someone else too much of your time. As a songwriter, Claudio strives to have listeners relate to her music. “I have so many stories from the different people in my life, [so] I’m assuming a person can relate to at least one song. I just want people to listen to About Time and have the stories resonate with them,” she says.

In response to About Time, Apple Music announced Claudio as their latest Up Next artist, following the likes of Billie Eilish, Sigrid and Khalid. To coincide with the news, Apple’s Up Next program will premiere an exclusive documentary telling Claudio’s story.

In the half-Cuban and half-Puerto Rican songstress’s household growing up, R&B music buzzed in the air at all times, and traces of it can be heard in her smooth sound. Claudio also cites her grandfather as a major influence; he later turned her onto jazz and bossa nova music. “I think being in a Latin household and being surrounded by Latin music really influenced my sound,” she says. With a supportive family and an initial start in dance and modeling, Claudio was destined for creative greatness. On About Time, Claudio tapped into an even bigger sound and more personal stories. “I always had a hard time convincing people that these were my lyrics,” she admits. Claudio adds that she’s always written older than her actual age. “To go to these shows and have people singing my words is super satisfying,” she says.

Drawing inspiration from her close-knit group of adult friends, a lot of Claudio’s lyrics are very personal to her but not necessarily her personal experience. “My life is mostly just sessions and meetings… things people don’t really want to hear about,” she says with a laugh. On About Time, Claudio credits herself with writing almost every song on the record with an exception for three tracks that had co-writers. “”Unravel Me” is the most relatable for me at the moment,” she says of her favorite track on About Time. The song follows a person who gets over people really quickly but doesn’t know how to get out of the relationship. “That’s me, girl. They try to make excuses for the other person to get out of the relationship instead,” she explains.

As a bonus track on About Time, Claudio employed rapper and former Apple Music Up Next artist 6LACK to help her on a remix of her powerful single “Belong To You.” Perfect timing—Claudio has been on tour with 6LACK this fall.

Photo credit: Nikko Lamere

A version of this interview was featured in DuJour’s winter 2017 issue.