We had the good fortune of connecting with Sayed Sabrina and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sayed, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When I think about risks I’ve taken in my career and in life, I have taken many risks and in some cases none where I wish I had. I took a risk by becoming a teen single mom with no help, no money, or having any understanding on how to be a parent, let alone a good parent. It was a choice I made with no regrets. Being a mother opened my awareness to many things. Being selfless and responsible for a little human life. It was difficult and I was pretty ignorant. I knew that love and determination would (and did) keep me going.
Other risks I took were moments when I chose to peruse music when it looked like a dead end at every turn. I had interest from different professionals in the music industry (when I was very young and green) that tried talking me into changing the trajectory of my career path. Like changing my musicality style and be more commercial sounding and looking. Learn how to be a pop star and not waste my time with writing and being a creator. Being told to get skinny and sing like a pretty girl…whatever that means…
That led me to great moments of depression and feeling stagnant and unacceptable. If I were to follow through on that path it would have been a lie and lead to great unhappiness.
The risks I regret not taking sooner was recording my songs with me on piano, recorded how I originally heard the songs. The album Thou Art That is the proof of my abilities as a songwriter, vocalist and music producer. I am grateful to have recorded much in my lifetime but Thou Art That is my passion project. The first time in my entire career I allowed myself to take 100% risk and follow through and stay true to my sound and I’m so glad I did.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart from other music artists is also what excites me and makes me most proud of with my latest album, Thou Art That. The album is my passion project that I produced and made how I originally heard the songs when I first wrote them. I decided to take some very personal original material that I had not been performing and that was much different to what I had been known for and put it out into the world with me on piano and vocals and with a few different musical styles. It is not something people set out to do in the music business, especially as a known blues singer. Most recording artists set out to make something that they think people will buy and help to gain them notoriety, whereas I made something that was solely in staying true to my sound and kept all intentions on just that. I have so much gratitude for how well the entire album turned out. I think it’s incredible how the blues audience has embraced Thou Art That. I didn’t know how it would be received. Especially since my audience doesn’t know me to normally play piano and sing songs of the protest nature. This album is one of my art pieces and I’m dang proud of it. It took me a long time to get where I am. I have been performing and recording for many years with many talented people along the way and some not so much. I have had to deal with being a round brown female on the spectrum and doing my best to take steps forward in my career path with my nonconformist personality. I keep going. That is what I have done to get where I am today. I keep going. I stay focused on my goal whatever that may be and I keep going. It has not been easy and is not easy. I acknowledge my shortcomings and work on myself constantly. I have overcome many challenges by solely staying focused on a set goal and taking each day as it happens. I know I am fortunate to have the ability to play music and make some money doing it along the way. I don’t take it for granted. It’s all i have ever desired and all i know how to do. I’m dang lucky that there’s people that can relate to me and my songs and enjoy them. I have learned much along the way to where I stand now. I am and hope to always be learning. I’ve learned how to stand up for myself and recognize my own strengths and weaknesses. I have learned that staying true to who i am has been my biggest lesson and challenge. I’m stubborn and that is one of my best qualities because I do not give up.
What I would like the world to know about me and my music is that , hello, I love you and thank you for listening. My brand is my stories and the style in which I present them. My stories are in my songs. Interpretation is open to each individual. I will not apologize for who I am or who I love.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When friends visit me I do enjoy showing them around. Since I live in the heart of LA I’m close to many popular spots. I like to take my pals to fun eating spots and tell them some of my little tiny bit of historical Los Angeles knowledge. I’d start the day by taking them to the Grand Central market to people watch and drink some fresh pressed garlic and cherry juice. It’s a spectacular combination. Then we’d walk over to Clifton’s cafeteria and stare through the glass as I tell them what a great place it used to be and we keep walking till we get to Philipes on Ord in Chinatown and get some fabulous grub while I tell them more about my favorite city. We’d walk over to the train station and admire the acoustics and architecture. We’d go across to Olvera street walk around there and go visit the house that is open to the public to tour and learn about the early families that flourished in that little area. I would make sure to take my friend to the Last Bookstore on Spring street and try to sneak in the Hotel Alexandria across the way to admire the original Tiffany chandelier hanging in the lobby. We’d go eat again and have some amazing margaritas and the homemade mole’ sauce on one of the many yummy dishes at Casa la Golondrina mexican cafe’. It is the oldest Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles that I know of. We would drive around the area visiting some architectural examples of some of the unique older homes in Los Angeles. We would drive to Griffith Park up to the Observatory, have a short look around before we head out to Yamashiros Japanese restaurant, above Franklin for some cocktails before we slip into the (invitation only) Magic Castle for more cocktails and some wonderful dinner and several magic shows. If I can’t get an invitation for us at the Magic Castle, we head over to Toi on sunset for some amazing Thai food and rockstar ambiance. If there’s a show in walking distance (it’s all about the parking spot sometimes) and there are many music spots popping up on sunset. We stick our heads in for some fun and live music. We end the evening by driving back towards my house through Laurel Canyon and stop at Joes American Bar and Grill ,in Burbank to enjoy some more live music and dancing. There’s always a good band performing at Joes. Everyone is friendly there and they have pool tables, nice staff, good food. That’s the first day. There’s so much to do in LA there’s never enough time for me to show my friends around town. I have many places I like to visit with out of town friends. It all depends on the person and their tastes, not everyone is into magic. Plus, if it’s a musical pal we most likely will be in my music room jamming for some of the adventure. Also, since the pandemic has closed many businesses down and made it difficult to visit with friends and family, this is for the most part fictional until me and my pals are vaccinated. Of course, there’s always the beach or a nice trail to venture. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
How exciting to tell you about who my shoutouts go to, first off, I’d like to acknowledge Sadie Dean and thank her for giving me a Shoutout. Sadie is a brilliant writer for film and television and music. She is a founding member of the band the Coolers. She was one of the photographers for my album Thou Art That. She is also one of the most amazing and wonderful humans on this planet that exist. One of the greatest loves of my lifetime. Another shoutout goes to Edward Marks for being my life partner in time. He is my best friend and his continued support and pushes help to keep me on track with my career and life purposes. I love him with all that I am. Together we have a strong and beautiful family unit. He is the co-founder , along with Bob Chambers, and CEO of the Producers Group, a premier provider of production and design services for destination attractions worldwide. Edward is also co-owner with me at Marks Creative, Inc. I’d like to give a shoutout to one of my dearest friends , Vince White.
I have had the opportunity to write with Vince and perform live and record with him throughout the years. The best shows I’ve done always include Vince White on guitar. He is an extraordinary person and one of the most humble and hardworking guitarists in the LA music scene. Together we have performed along with musical icons such as Dr. John, B. B. King, Los Lobos, Leon Russell, and the list goes on. Before the pandemic, Vince was hosting an open mic that had become very popular. His open mics are known for being female friendly in a town where most are male dominated and show little respect for the talented women that are many.
I would like to give a shoutout to the talented Jessica Chortkoff of Jessica Chortkoff Photography based in Los Angeles. She is also one of my dearest friends and has taken some of the best artistic photographs of me to date. I had a billboard advertisement in NY Times Square for my album release of Thou Art That that received a ton of positive feedback. I believe it’s because of the brilliant photo portrait of me made by Jessica. It looks like a painting. Jessica is also an accomplished painter so her fantastic eye for color and how to use it doesn’t surprise me at all.
Another person I’d like to give a shoutout to is Alphonso Rodenas, the album engineer from Thou Art That. He is a founding member of the Blue Dolphins band. He was a joy to work alongside in the recording studio. He is a person that could easily have a giant ego for all that he has accomplished in his musical career and yet he is humble. He has many an award for his achievements throughout the years that he doesn’t brag about at all. He would say that is not why he does what he does. He is a world changer and does so with his music and working with other artists and their music.
Other: Digital Links: Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/thou-art-that/1472580306 iHeartRadio: https://www.iheart.com/artist/sayed-sabrina-366155/ Deezer: https://www.deezer.com/us/album/103443462 Amazon Music: https://www.amazon.com/Thou-Art-That-Sayed-Sabrina/dp/B07V6RD2MQ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Sayed+Sabrina+thou+art+that&qid=1565482601&s=gateway&sr=8-1 Napster: https://us.napster.com/artist/sayed-sabrina/album/thou-art-that Soundexchange: https://isrc.soundexchange.com/#!/search?artistName=sayed%20sabrina&releaseName=Thou%20Art%20That&recordingYear=2019&tab=advanced&showReleases&start=0&number=10 Slacker Radio: https://www.slacker.com/album/sayed-sabrina/thou-art-that Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/79LfA7BFU35QtXiEuaDcFR?si=2fZa2icaShOwDea18m0TUw Bandcamp: https://oneshoerecords.bandcamp.com/album/thou-art-that Akazoo: https://www.akazoo.com/album/27867099/thou-art-that Qobuz: https://www.qobuz.com/us-en/album/thou-art-that-sayed-sabrina/gtmfmbccne7nb
Photos by Edward S. Marks, Sydnie Marks, Jessica Chortkoff and Sadie Dean.