Rising Artists: Meet Saba Abraha, One of D.C.’s Most Promising New Acts
Interview by Jordan Snowden
Like many kids fresh out of high school, Silver Spring resident Saba Abraha had a tough time transitioning into college. She turned to music to ease her frustrations, singing for her classmates after college beer pong tournaments. Eventually her peers took notice of her singing ability, with one classmate offering Abraha time in the studio. Before even completing her session, Abraha’s future plans finally came into fruition. She forged ahead with her music career and a few years later delivered her impressive debut EP, How Things Fly.
How Things Fly is a culmination of two years’ worth of hard work from Abraha along with local producer Mikeyy. It’s a sonic diary of Abraha’s musical journey and everyday life experiences that are beautifully illustrated through this new record. Getting further into the creation process, I spoke with Abraha about How Things Fly and what lies ahead for the D.C. area’s most promising new artist.
What sparked your move from Ethiopia to the U.S.?
I’m Ethiopian (I was raised in Dakar, Senegal) but I was actually born in Alexandria, Virginia. When I was around seven or so my sister moved to the States for school. My mum was terrified of letting her live by herself so my family moved to the States for good.
How did you get your start in music?
Growing up, I would sing and do skits with my family for our parents’ anniversary and birthdays. I even had a little band with my little sister and a neighbor, which was honestly all lip synching to Britney Spears or some Kidz Bop records along with terrible dance moves. My initial sought out career was to be a journalist or an author.
After high school, college wasn’t really working out. Whilst on my constant state of being unsure of my life, I’d sing at parties after a few beer pong matches. In the same two weeks or so I had people telling me I should pursue music and was invited to a studio by one of them. Halfway into my first session, I knew that music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I saw it as a sign and have yet to look back.
Where did the inspiration for your EP come from?
I draw inspiration from my everyday life experiences. Whether it be old friendships, being on the train, people watching; etc. To be quite frank, How Things Fly was not made with the mindset of forming an EP. It’s an assortment of records all produced by Mikeyy of 94sGold throughout the time span of two years. When I began making music with Mikeyy, I had been signing for a few months. I was not only learning about myself as a musician but the journey of finding our sound. We correlate flying with growing/blooming into the person you are meant to be, so it was only right we named our debut EP How Things Fly.
What themes do your songs cover? How do you want listeners to feel when hearing How Things Fly?
How Things Fly covers a range of experiences. Being in love, falling out of love, seeing people for who they really are, losing yourself and finding a stronger person within at the end of it all. First and foremost when listening to How Things Fly I truly want the listener to understand we are all different and how important it is to respect others for their individuality. To not only see that it is inevitable and we are all so delicately intricate, but to realize that that’s what makes life beautiful. To spark someone to see that there will be ups and downs but you are unstoppable. That being said, don’t clip someone else’s wings because you don’t understand how they fly.
What song on your EP do you feel the most connected to? What is the story behind it?
“You Are Not My Friend” from How Things Fly is the record I am most connected to. It is the point in my life where I was in a constant state of grey. I had recently lost someone very dear to me, there were people that were bringing me down and I wasn’t content anymore with the simplistic things that once were my only forms of distractions. I had an euphoric moment of self-realization one night that not everyone you come across has your best interest at heart. Throughout the record I’m detailing not only what’s going on around me but speaking of the moment of self-realization.
It’s a self-reminder that I overcame the lowest part of my life thus far. To appreciate the people who love me unconditionally and, at the same time, let go of the ones that aren’t meant to be there; “to the highest bidder, you are not my friend.”
What was the most difficult part in the process of creating How Things Fly?
The most difficult part was not the creation but the actual release process. Finding the right platform for our sound as well as finding the right people to help our creations and visions come to life.
Is there anything about D.C. or the city’s music scene that inspires you as a musician?
Most definitely. I am constantly on the train, so a good portion of my day is people watching, looking at graffiti/witnessing graffiti being made. Majority of my writing is done either on the train or walking around U Street. The city is filled with art, strange alleyways and creative individuals.
Now that you’ve released your first EP, what’s your next move?
Now that How Things Fly is out, we are gearing up to serenade the world one show at a time.
Listen to How Things Fly here: