"Lovely, delicate electronic-pop"
-Steffanee Wang, NYLON
"A reflection on compassion"
Capturing the daily heartbreaks of young adulthood, Sabrina Song makes indie pop songs that land with a delicate sting. Armed with an innate sensitivity that goes beyond her 23 years of age, the Brooklyn-based singer, songwriter, and producer writes of subtle feelings that arise as she navigates murky relationship dynamics and inner conflicts that don’t have a simple answer. “Songs don't have to have an emotional resolution,” Song explains. “I can just be exploring something, and its meaning and outcome can always be changing as time goes on.” As sole writer and producer of all of her music, she arranges sparse elements—a simple bassline, a somber piano—to make space for her swelling emotions and tender voice, resulting in songs that are equally meditative as they are cathartic.
Since debuting with the 2018 single “Heartbroken,” Song has increasingly abandoned her self-proclaimed “perfectionist” tendencies for plainspoken vulnerability—as witnessed through her trilogy of EPs: Undone (2019), How's It Going to End? (2020), and When It All Comes Crashing Down (2022). In this process of maturation, she’s emerged as a generational voice who uses songwriting to work through growing pains to find herself anew on the other side. “With maturing in relationships, standing up for myself more, and advocating for my needs in my everyday life, it naturally led me to find the courage to put these stories in my songs,” she says.
The astute emotionality in Song’s music has caught the attention of Phoebe Bridgers, who was impressed by the rising artist’s soul-bearing performance for NPR’s 2021 Tiny Desk Contest, leading the entry to be featured on NPR’s “Top Shelf” series. 2022 proved to be a breakout year for Song, who played a month-long London residency for Sofar Sounds and made her SXSW debut. That summer, she also took the stage at Lollapalooza Chicago as a violinist and backing vocalist in Pom Pom Squad’s live band. A frequent performer in New York City who’s opened for fellow indie artists like Moon Kissed, Sarah Kinsley, and Hannah Jagadu, she’s allowed the city’s energy to influence her music, gradually swapping out glossy dance-pop beats for more raw indie rock elements.
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Song was enamored with singing and performance from a young age and found joy while participating in children’s community theater productions. Around then, she also began taking piano and violin lessons. Though initially drawn to pop vocal powerhouses like Christina Aguilera and Adele for their technical prowess, she later became drawn to artists like Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Mitski for their deeply personal and narrative-driven lyricism. “All their writing feels very intimate,” she says. “It’s not really about showmanship.”
In high school, Song began writing her first songs about wanting to “grow up and out” of dull suburbia. Incidentality, they led her to attend NYU’s Clive Institute of Recorded Music, where she began to develop her own dreamy and elegant indie pop sound. Since, she’s produced for other rising artists like Dana McCoy and Camp Kona, striving to foster an “egoless” and collaborative process that goes against the often bullish, male-dominated production world.
As in her music, Song also explores themes of overcoming self-doubt and strict expectations through her evocative music videos, in which she takes on stifled personas who are desperate to break free. In her MTV-supported 2022 “Doors” video, she plays a gold medal-laden prom queen who’s actually powerless, while her most recent visual for “Down” sees her as a solemn ballerina at the piano—a symbol of cold precision and perfectionism. Melding time-honored tropes of suburban ennui with a specific Gen-Z sense of unease, Song’s artistic output feels at once classic and current. “I don’t want to create something that will feel stale or like it was just part of a trend,” she says. “The videos, my projects, are something I feel I can put on a shelf, and have it be timeless.”