Skip to content

If you’ve not heard of her already, then you’re truly missing out. A new-wave queer artist, Sabiyha is one to watch. A cross-genre creative that blends cinematic pop and her own cultural experiences, Sabiyha is bringing something new to the table. 

Kitted out with flares of Guyanese and Indo-Carribbean heritage, Sabiyha leans into strands of folk, R&B, metal, South Asian music and the UK scene. An electric, vibrant mix, the singer’s exploration of sound is a joyous, thoughtful fusion of personal, passion and creativity. 

So, with her new project, Sheerkhan, out now, we caught up with Sabiyha to learn more about her artistry and what she has planned next. 

Hey! How’s it going – what have you been up to lately?

Hey! I’m great thank you and super excited to be invited for this interview. I’ve just released my debut EP Sheerkhan and it feels sick to finally have a body of work out. I’ve also been in the studio writing and recording my next EP and rehearsing for upcoming shows.

Your EP Sheerkhan is out now, congrats! Can you tell us a bit about the title and the concept of your project?

Thank you so much! Sheerkhan is my Mum’s surname and to me, represents everything that she encompasses. My mum has been incredibly influential on me and formative in who I am today. Her resilience, vulnerability, empathy and willingness to learn have really shaped who I am. This EP covers so many aspects of myself that I’m proud of; aspects that my Mum has always encouraged me to celebrate and embrace. Sheerkhan to me is the embodiment of empowerment and reclamation of strength.

The EP cover art shows you getting your hair treated. For you, what’s special about that moment?

When I’m experiencing any hardship, my Mum is always at my side to support me. Something that she has always done for me, even at the age of 30, is oil and comb my hair. It bonds us, soothes me and nourishes me emotionally as I feel so unconditionally cared for in those moments. I wanted an image that represents my and my Mum’s relationship in the most vulnerable and raw moments.

What’s your favourite single on the EP?

My favourite song would have to be ‘Big Woman’, including the interlude. I initially wrote this song years ago on my acoustic guitar as an ode to my Mum and Nanny. Taking to it my producer, Sour Sync, rearranged it on piano and it became the wonderfully emotive piece it is now. It’s about my Mum’s memories of Guyana and how much she and her family have had to endure as immigrants and dealing with the trauma of her Dad’s death when she was a child.

It again cements how integral my Mum and Nanny are in my life and the values they’ve passed down to me. Despite having heard it so many times, it always leaves me with a lump in my throat as I know the pain and loss my Mum has experienced and how it has made her the amazing person she is today.

What’s your favourite music memory?

I’d definitely say playing the Isle of Wight festival with my band last year was a highlight. It was quite a lot of stress leading up to it and we even had a few mishaps before I got on stage. But afterwards, I really felt like I had made myself proud and felt very proud of my band and my team for the live show we put together.

It was also my birthday and, not long before that, I had come out to my family as queer. I remember coming off stage and I was presented with a rainbow birthday cake and I burst into tears. I had my wonderful team around me who I love dearly and I felt overwhelmed with happiness as I was finally living my truth and playing the music I have always wanted to play. It was a really beautiful moment.

From your entire career, what would you describe as your biggest creative success?

I’d have to say creating this EP! It’s been a long time in the making and I’ve endured a lot of hardship along the way. A couple of years ago, we had nearly finished the EP and it was ready to release. However, we were not only dealing with the ripple effects of COVID, but I also got very sick with Topical Steroid Withdrawal and had to take a break from music. I was riddled with self-doubt and felt so low and unsure whether I would ever be well enough to finish this EP. So finally completing it and having it out is a huge success to me in itself, as it represents my perseverance but is also just a body of work that I feel truly proud of.

Across the music industry, who is your dream collaboration artist?

I always find it so hard to answer this question because there are so many artists I would give my left toe to collaborate with! I would say MIA was fundamental in inspiring me as a brown person to pursue music and she made me believe it was possible. She has always pushed production boundaries and used her platform for activism which is what I aspire to.

Ethel Cain is one of the most beautiful artists I’ve found in the past couple of years and I would love to write a huge, anthemic, guitar-driven song; I absolutely consider myself a Child of Cain. There is also an artist called Grove that I recently discovered and they blew me away. They use their music to shout about queerness, being POC and the tangled political climate that favours the privileged. It would be amazing to get in a studio with them.

Your EP is out now. What else do you have planned? 

I’m currently in the studio writing and recording my next EP and pushing my creative boundaries further than I ever have done. We’re also gearing up for some gigs; Summer by the River for BBC Introducing on the 29th of June at The Scoop and a headline show on the 23rd of August at Paper Dress Vintage.

Lastly, in the spirit of Pride Month, is there anything else you’d like to add?

I just want to say how happy I am to be interviewed by such a big queer publication. Having only come out to everyone last year, I feel so affirmed as a queer person and proud to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

I adore my community and really want to represent myself as a queer POC artist. I thoroughly believe in utilising my platform to represent and support marginalised groups, using both my music and my online presence. So thank you so much for having me and Happy Pride to my LGBTQIA+ family.