In this Artist Spotlight series, we talked to Miss Sabado, a DJ and musician in NYC about her early work, her process, and her debut single "Rendevous."
Tell us a little bit about your work as a musician and DJ—how did you get started?
I started playing classical piano at the age of 4 and competing from early childhood years into adolescent years. I grew up in a very traditional Filipino household in the 818 with strict provincial practices, and expressing your feelings or talking was not encouraged. So I defaulted to playing music to help tap into my emotions. Music and performance is a very healing, out-of-body experience for me. In high school I played the alto sax in the school band, sang in the choir, and did musical theatre. After high school, I wanted to continue performing but didn’t have the support to do so. I was lost and confused, doing unfulfilling things- going out a lot, running away from having to face reality. Escapism. I met a boy out one night at the Kibitz Room who turned me onto house music… and that was the beginning of my life long love affair with DJing and dance music.
What is your process when writing a new piece of music or curating a track list?
My writing process is… I never stop writing! I have years and years of material that I’ve accumulated, both on my electronic notebook and my paper notebooks, that I dump all sorts of ideas into, trigger words, phrases that I catch in conversation, meditation messages, etc. Sometimes I circle back to them, but more often they serve as a journal archive for me. Coming up with ideas for a song is easy, but narrowing down the ideas into an impactful cohesive story that makes sense and is relatable is the hardest part. Its really a matter of having a deep understanding of who you are, your essence, and finding a subject or theme that resonates with you and spinning it in a way that gives people an opportunity to connect to you. I do a combination of daily mindfulness practices and yoga, supported by proper sleep and eating well, to keep the channels open to receiving and chakras vibrating high. I never leave home without a notebook and pen, because when the muse wants to come down to play, you gotta be ready for her at any moment!
Is there a musician you feel most connected to or inspired by?
I am a Prince girl through and through. I love everything he represents- his unapologetic attitude and his fanatical need to have to creative all the time because it was like food for his soul. Same with Grace Jones. If Prince and Grace Jones had a baby…
Are there themes in your music you find yourself returning to over and over?
I am a huge advocate for female empowerment, disrupting the status quo, standing your ground and staying true to yourself— but done in a fun cheeky way. I revert back to the same themes perpetuated over and over again by dance music's most distinguished divas from 70’s disco to 80’s pop to 90s freestyle/hip-hop/R&B, reinterpreted in my own way as seen through the lens of my own experience and applied to our modern world.
What do you want people to experience or takeaway from one of your sets?
I want to blow minds and bring people closer to source.
Can you tell us about some of your favorite projects you've done to date?
I did a boot collaboration in 2015-16 with Modern Vice called The After Hours Collection, inspired by my love for nightlife, dance music culture, and Burning Man culture, combined with an in-depth knowledge of footwear construction and design that I picked up from many years of working as a professional footwear model. Yes, a footwear model! I moved to NYC from LA in 2010 and unintentionally got linked into a very unique category of modeling specific to just body parts. It sounds X rated, but it’s actually not. It’s a legit business! Parts modeling- hands, legs, feet, eyes, lips, skin, hair. I’ve done shoots for massive global brands and campaigns: ALDO, Samsung, Maybelline, Neutrogena, Pampers, J Crew, AMEX, Victoria Beckham Makeup (to name a few). I love it. It’s weird and interesting and it feeds my creative soul. Google “Donna Boot Miss Sabado” and you can find past content on my designs.
Do you have anything coming up you're excited about?
Last year, I spent the summer in Berlin where I wrote and recorded my very first three songs: (1) Rendezvous (2) Stargazm and (3) Fine. I am kicking things off with the release of “Rendezvous”, my forthcoming debut single dropping worldwide September 19, 2019. It’s been quite the ride, to say the least, as any creative journey is, and I am really proud of it. It’s a hot & sweaty dance floor bomb that showcases my love for retro sounds and styles from the 80s. I also have a music video to go with it that I have been crafting and creating this vision and direction since 2017. The music video turned out better than I ever could have imagined, and I have my amazing team and close circle of friends and family to thank for helping me turn that vision into a reality. I can’t wait to share it and show the world what I have been concocting for the last couple years!