V Girls: Sabrina Claudio

The stirring storyteller with an R&B influence

This feature appears in the pages of V140 now available for purchase

Since she was a kid, Sabrina Claudio wanted to make music. Great music. The kind that you fall asleep thinking about. The kind you can’t wait to share with your friends. The kind that you return to time and again, always finding a new layer of meaning. It’s this singular sense of purpose that propelled Claudio from a SoundCloud artist to a Grammy-nominated songwriter in just six years.

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Well before she started releasing her own material, the Miami native found herself falling in love with music. Growing up with Cuban and Puerto Rican parents, dance music like salsa, merengue, and reggaeton were inescapable. “You’ll listen to my music and you won’t really associate the two, but it really did teach me a lot about melodics, layers, and all that type of stuff,” Claudio explains to V. More direct influences on her sound came from her family. Her grandfather turned her on to jazz and bossa nova. Her father exposed her to R&B and soul. Claudio had powerhouse artists like Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey on repeat and became a Destiny’s Child fan, not dreaming that she would one day have Keys feature on her 2020 Christmas album, or co-write a track with Syd that would end up on Beyoncé’s Renaissance.

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That Beyoncé track—”PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA”—was one of the first Claudio wrote after moving to Los Angeles to pursue her dream career in music. She’d garnered an audience from SoundCloud releases, culminating in her stellar debut EP, Confidently Lost, in 2017. Claudio was labeled an artist to watch, a title she proved she deserved with the release of her innovative full-length mixtape, About Time, the same year. The four studio albums that followed document her growth from a virtuoso newcomer to a veteran singer-songwriter confident in her artistry. Her most recent album, 2022’s Based On A Feeling, came after an informal hiatus of several years. “I was in a weird situation, career-wise and business-wise, where I was completely unmotivated to even get in the studio, let alone release new music,” she recalls. A conversation with a friend helped her out of her funk, and Claudio spent two months crafting the album, a combination of intimate lyricism, thoughtful instrumentals (see: live strings), and her signature silky vocals. Its release, along with “PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA” receiving a Grammy nod, have made the last year a busy time for the newly independent artist. “I’m exploring a newfound freedom that I’ve pretty much never had my whole career, and who knows what’s gonna happen?” she says with a laugh. While others would be intimidated by uncertainty, Claudio is in her comfort zone. As long as she can make music, she knows she’ll be all right.

Based On A Feeling is now available on all streaming platforms.

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