Under the stage name Sabrina Who, Sabrina Isaacs has released three singles and two EPs within the last two years. The most recent, titled Superstar, includes six new wave pop tunes reminiscent of the early 2000s.
“I think Superstar was just me just trying to have fun like with my music,” said Isaacs. “I think sometimes I try to take it a little too seriously and try to tell some moving story and air out all of my dirty laundry and after this year that we’ve all had I just wanted to kind of like make some music that was about nothing and have fun.”
While this self-titled “trash pop” is not Isaac's usual genre, Superstar gives listeners carefree, fun songs with subtle R&B undertones. Combining multiple styles is nothing new for her, as her eclectic musical background inspires her current releases.
“My parents were a big influence on my musicality. They played a lot of 80s pop music and disco was a very big thing in our house, but then we also got a lot of old school rock influences from the 80s,” said Isaacs. “So that kind of vapor wave drum has always been something I really like to put into my music because it just adds so much drama. I think it's so sick.”
Not only has she been influenced by her parents' musical taste, but also looks up to Tyler, the Creator and Steve Lacy for their independent production process. After learning that Steve Lacy produced music from his phone, Isaacs wanted to try her own hand at producing music.
“I started [making music] freshman year of high school and was really, really awful at it, like so, so bad, but it was kind of one of those things you have to keep going until you learn more,” said Isaacs. “I was religiously watching YouTube videos of how to do this, that and the other on Garage Band and all this stuff and then junior year I started to plan albums and EPs, but I didn’t actually release anything until 2020, so it took me awhile to get there.”
After more than four years of practice, Isaacs released her first project, Thousand, through which she was able to share her passion for recording. Across her past projects, Isaacs has prioritized the importance of storytelling in combination with stunning vocals. However, her most recent EP forced her to step outside of the box.
“I work with this audio engineer—his name is Matthew and he’s the best—and he has been very encouraging in everything that I’ve done this past summer, and this last EP he was kind of pushing me to try this, what if we put this type of audio effects on this,” said Isaacs.
Listeners can hear this exploration through the tracks, and while the EP has been well-received, Isaacs has looked away from external affirmation. The easygoing production process added a new artistic perspective for Isaacs, as she aimed to prioritize her own fulfillment.
“I think before then I was trying to be very surgical about how I made my music and how I put it out,” said Isaacs. “Superstar kind of taught me that people are going to like it and people are not going to like it, but all that matters is if I like it and if I’m having fun, and that was my biggest lesson there,” said Isaacs.