By almost any measure, Charlotte Sabina is a typical ten year-old girl. She lives in Manhattan with her parents and younger brother and has attended the same school since kindergarten. She plays tennis, lacrosse and flag football and she surfs competitively; she spends her free time playing in her tree house with her friends and her brother and she likes to dig her toes into the sand at the beach during the summer when she’s not training as a junior lifeguard. Most of all, Sabina has the joyous, short-attention span of a ten-year old. That is, unless she’s making music. When Charlotte Sabina sits down at the piano, a transformation comes over her. She suddenly displays an intensity and competence that artists twice her age struggle to find, working at her creations with a dogged determination that inspires awe in her teachers and her artistic collaborators.
Charlotte Sabina began to learn piano at seven years old and guitar when she was eight, and started composing music almost immediately. These early works were of a classical persuasion, influenced by her piano teacher and by trips to the New York Philharmonic. Charlotte wrote a piece for her father entitled “Father’s Day,” and played it for her music class at school. The piece itself and Charlotte’s emotional performance reinforced what her music teacher had already suspected, and prompted a letter home: Charlotte had something very special that must be nurtured.
Together teachers, family and friends encouraged Charlotte, but it was the music itself that drove her. She would play the piano in the middle of the night, to the chagrin of neighbors in her apartment building, and sneak away during recess to play in the school music room. Charlotte wrote a special piece for an all-school event for Grandparents’ Day, which would be Charlotte’s first formal performance. She dedicated the piece to her brother and left the audience breathless.
In the winter of 2010 Charlotte was selected to appear at the Guggenheim museum in New York in an interactive piece by Tino Sehgal. While not a musical exhibit, it was the first time Charlotte was exposed to how large audiences of strangers responded to art, and to the spoken word. At the same time Sabina’s friends, who were also intrigued by her burgeoning talent, encouraged her to begin writing pop songs and lyrics. Little did they know what they were setting in motion.
Sabina writes the sort of pop music that makes you happy; that makes you want to sing in the shower. In spite of her tender age, Sabina writes articulate songs full of brilliant hooks and emotion. If you were to hear a Charlotte Sabina song on the radio you’d assume it was written by an established 20-something artist. When you see the reality, you’ll be amazed. Unusual beauty and poise aside, Charlotte Sabina is an all-American ten year old girl.
After seeing Sabina progress so far over her first two years as a musician, her parents surprised her for her tenth birthday with time in a professional recording studio. Working with producer/guitarist Jeffrey Lee Campbell (Jon Bon Jovi, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Michael Bublé), Sabina has begun to make good on the world of potential inside of her. With four pop songs under her belt to date (“Green,” “Moonlight,” the girl-rock anthem “Not the Girl,” and her second, tear-jerking dedication to her brother, “Partner in Crime” ) Sabina is deserving of the sort of buzz that launched artists such as Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Miranda Lambert. Some may think that a ten year old writing and performing is quaint, but those who listen will be humming and singing along with the pop incandescence of this young musician. You’ll cheer for the unconscious joy and innocent grace of . Charlotte Sabina. You can’t help but be moved.
With comparisons to artists such as Taylor Swift, Joan Jett and Fiona Apple, it seems like the world stands at the ready for Charlotte Sabina to take the stage. For the time being, however, music is her passion; not a business. Sabina acknowledges that she’d someday like to make music and perform as a career, but for now music is all about having fun; mastering the rules and then breaking them; creation.
Whether you come for the joy of youth, the magic of promise or the pure pop confections, a little time spent with Charlotte Sabina will make you feel like a kid again. Sabina is a reminder of all that’s good and pure in pop music, hearkening back to a time when songs on the radio were fun, rather than expositions of angst and sorrow. You can learn more about Charlotte Sabina on her website, www.charlottesabina.com, watch her videos on YouTube and download her songs on iTunes or Amazon (for now Charlotte is giving any money she makes to Doctors Without Borders). And the time will come when you’ll be able to find her in any major music store and see her on tour. Perhaps one day she’ll even realize her dream of appearing on Saturday night live. Not even the stars themselves seem out of reach for Charlotte Sabina.