Pre Grammys: Sabina Ddumba

Tomorrow night singer Sabina Ddumba is performing her new single Effortless at the Swedish Grammys. Radar met up with her on her 21st birthday to talk about the Grammys and being under pressure.

When she released her debut single Scarred For Life last year she became one of Sweden’s most promising music exports. Radar met with her last March to have a chat with the rising star about the person behind the hit single. Since then Ddumba has left everyone waiting for her next move and last Friday she finally released her second single Effortless. It differs from Scarred For Life but disappoints no one, and we’re now all looking forward to her debut album more than ever.

What have you been up to lately?
– I was just in Lanzarote and shot the video for my latest single Effortless.

What was it like releasing your new single Effortless?
– It was so exciting! My friends and family have been nagging me about it for so long but I haven’t been able to say anything. The whole process has been so secret and now I can finally share it with the world.

You’re performing at the Swedish Grammys on Wednesday, how are you going to prepare?
– Well I have rehearsal today and tomorrow. I really don’t think about it too much, I usually just take a deep breath before I go on stage.

Do you have a vision of how you want it to be?
– Sometimes I do, it depends on the occasion, if it’s something bigger like the Grammys I have a vision of how I want the performance to be, otherwise I don’t think about it that much. The most important thing for me is that it sounds good rather than how it looks.

Do you ever get nervous before a performance?
– No not really. I get an adrenaline rush while I’m on stage but not beforehand no. Sometimes I don’t even get that, I just perform.

Which performance has been your favorite one?
– It was with my choir when I was 16. It was a really large gospel choir at Konserthuset in Stockholm, and they asked me to sing one part solo, which was really unexpected so I was unprepared. I remember how I thought that “Okey so I haven’t rehearsed before this, so I simply just have to sing.” And when I listened to it afterwards I was like “Wow this sounds really good!” Sometimes it’s good when it’s unexpected because you don’t have the time to overthink it too much.

I’m trying to be as calm as I possibly can in a very stressful industry

You always seem so calm, do you ever get stressed?
– I’m trying to be as calm as I possibly can in a very stressful industry and environment. I’m in the studio a lot and the work pace there is really fast so that’s pretty stressful. Nothing good can come from getting effected by the pressure so I always try to keep calm.

– And I also come from a very non-stressed family, they don’t really get worked up about anything. For an example, when I released my first single they were like “Okey Congratulations” Haha. Nothing is really a big deal which is the reason why I’m the way I am.


Do you think that your calm approach can be perceived as being cold or standoffish?
– Yes, all the time! It’s never fun when people think that you don’t care, cause I do. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have chosen this career. But it is what it is, I don’t really feel the need to explain myself to anyone. As long as I’m making music, good music, I’m happy.

 Is that why it has taken so long before the release of Effortless, that you don’t let yourself get pressured?
– I think you should take your time, so that it turns out right and the way you want it to. Focus shouldn’t be on releasing new songs all the time, it should be on being satisfied with the outcome, rather than to remain in the spotlight. People get stressed out because they feel like they will be forgotten if they don’t release new material all the time, but I feel like if your songs are good they will last anyway.

I believe that good music can
never be forgotten

Have you been nervous about being forgotten?
– No not really, because I believe that good music can never be forgotten. It lives on if it’s good. It has been a really long time since I released my first single Scarred for Life but it still gets played and is getting talked about. I’m not nervous about being forgotten since my first single never was.

Do you think that your surroundings effects what you write about?
– Of course, it’s about what’s happening right now in this moment. Scarred for Life wasn’t really about me in that sense though, it was more about my surroundings. It was about my friend’s experiences rather than mine. I’ve been the one to listen to the problems and I almost ended up in the middle at times. Me getting that involved created the song because at the end of the day it almost felt like it was happening to me since it was all around me.

Has the way you write music developed since you first started?
– Of course, I’ve been writing on and off since I was 10 years old but writing music has become harder now. Before I just wrote and didn’t really think much of it. Now you have to think about the structure all the time, you have to have a verse, a bridge and a chorus, that awareness makes you feel limited in a way because you can’t write exactly how you want. But the more you write the easier it will get I guess.

Tell us about your upcoming debut album.
– I’m hoping that I will be able to release it this fall, and it’s going to be a bit more of an Effortless vibe than a Scarred vibe.