Sabby Sousa Makes Angelic Lullabies For Girls Who Love Pink
If you haven’t heard of Sabby Sousa yet, there’s no doubt you will in the future. The self-coined Floss Pop Princess has an instantly recognizable aesthetic that intertwines seamlessly with her ethereal vocals made in heaven.
In 2016, the songstress dropped her debut single titled “Heartbreak Hotel,” followed by fan-favorite record “Cloud Boy” the following year. Shortly after, Sabby released her dreamy EP The Dream Palace, which contained an array of sweet and pop-tinged singles like “Scam Your Man” and “Sundae Thot” to name a few. Coming off the heels of her debut EP, Sousa graced fans with more songs including “Lux Love,” “Dolla Dolla,” and “See You Again” before arriving at her 2021 project The Dream Place: Side B—a collection of songs that she created years prior.
“Cream n’ Frosting,” one of Sabby’s most celebrated singles, rose to viral acclaim a year following its 2019 release. Since then, it’s amassed over 4 million streams across Spotify and 300K+ YouTube views to date. Two years and a remix featuring Alisson Shore later, the Toronto-based songstress is in a completely new space musically. Now, as she prepares to release original music for the first time in a year, 2022 is a promising year for the angelic singer.
In our latest interview, Sabby Sousa chats with us about her upbringing, the viral success of “Cream n’ Frosting,” and new music amongst other topics. Read on for our conversation.
How did you first get started in music? Where did your interest come from?
I was born and raised in Toronto, it’s interesting because the pop scene is very close-knit. There’s a really big rap and indie scene, but I’m hoping to bring pop back on the map. We have our Justin Beiber and Shawn Mendes, but there’s not much to say about the underground pop world. I grew up watching a lot of Disney channel; I love Raven Simone, Hillary Duff, Hanna Montana, and I feel like growing up with that saturated Disney, we were pushed in the direction of pop star power. I was just very interested in the early 2000s pop star aesthetic to the point where I was like yeah, this is who I am.
I was doing choirs and musical camps throughout my childhood and even in high school, and once I got out of school I joined this showcase where I met the producers I work with now. Getting out in the scene and doing gigs is how I pretty much got started, but I knew that I had to start somewhere. It was a lot of fantasy at first and I feel like, after my first few songs, the vail just lifted. It still technically is very fantastical but there’s a realism element of we’re all hustling.
When approaching the task of songwriting, what are some topics that come naturally to you? And, what are some ways you incorporate personal experiences into your music?
For me, I’m all about conceptual things so I always like to relate my music to the cute things that I love about my aesthetic. For example, “Cream n’ Frosting” is a very sexual song but I brought it back to the itching using words like baking and cakes. I pretty much take things that are happening in my life and turn them into a storybook. It’s honestly like I’m telling a story so they’re very much descriptive and cute things. Basically, it’s is a little bit of everything. I love songs where you have to think about the symbolism and storytelling elements.
Honestly, a lot of songs and even when my life is boring, I’ll take friends’ experiences and incorporate them into songs. I’ll turn them into stories that are so unrealistic. My song “Scam Your Man” is about my friend that kept getting played, and basically, I made it feel like a scam or robber like Joanne the Scammer.
Let’s talk about “Cream n’ Frosting”—the song has been out for a few years although it recently exploded into popularity in 2020 and since then things have continued to spiral up. What’s the inspiration behind the song?
It’s definitely excited, I’ve been very blessed to have that TikTok moment. It’s such a huge app that you never know what to expect from it and it’s reaching people all around the world. That was a song about girls who prioritize a guy and they don’t need to as much because you’ll always have your girlfriends. It’s like why do you only come back around during Christmas time or when circle people pop back up in your life. Have your priorities right! It’s a whole rumble jumble but it’s cute. Sometimes you need to know that you’re that girl and you don’t need to bend to everyone’s knees.
Pink and girly garments are staples in your aesthetic, how would you describe your personal style? And do you have any favorite designers?
I love high-end and low fashion. My whole life and still today, I didn’t grow up having a lot of money. I remember being in high school and everyone shopping at Urban Outfitters, but I found a lot of love in thrifting and vintage. I was DIYing a lot of my clothes and found a lot of inspiration in early 2000s clothes and even before them. I love Juicy Couture, that’s my go-to clothes, I love a good sweatsuit moment. I also love smaller brands like SHUSHU/TONG and Mimi Wade and even big brands like Miu Miu. I love clothes so a lot of girly girly brands.
In your music videos and on your Instagram page, it’s easy to see how much you enjoy expressing yourself through your sense of style and fresh take on beauty. When it comes to starring in your music videos or performing on-stage how do you harness beauty as a mode of expression?
All of my music is very much hyper-feminine and my aesthetic is bimbo-core girly. I feel like there’s nothing wrong with that, I think for so long, girls shave been told that they’re acting a certain way for guys. For me, I just love pink because I grew up watching Hannah Montana and Lizzie McGuire, and shows like High School Musical. Those were my idols growing up, and I just want to become that.
It’s weird because now when I wear all black, I feel like I’m so out of place. It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable because I don’t like blending in. I feel more safe standing out and people going, “oh what’s that?” It’s very campy and I love that. I’ve always been very conceptual and creating so I think if I wasn’t an artist, there’s no way I wouldn’t be doing something creative.
A lot has obviously changed since the release of The Dream Palace: B-Side. What has it been like working on your new music?
I’ve finished my debut mixtape which is really exciting but the only thing is, that’s getting pushed a little bit because my brain is always creating. Now, I’m challenging myself to finish an EP in two months before the mixtape comes out. I haven’t released music in over a year so I feel like it’s long overdue. I’d love to release something more campy, the project that I’m working on now is very reminiscent of Doja Cat’s “MOOO!” and it’s very fun.
You’ve also been touring a bit as well—what’s your experience been like so far?
I’ve been on the Pop Dot Com tour and it’s me and four other artists. It’s me, AlexZone, Holliday Howe, and RYL0. They all do really cool hyper pop and I’m one of the only R&B pop artists on the tour. It’s been really fun, especially because Canada has been on lockdown for two years, and only recently have things started to lift. These are my first shows back in like two years so it’s really exciting.
In the past, you mentioned that your song took off yet still, it felt like nobody knew who you were. How do you stay motivated and keep your eye on the prize? Were there ever any moments where you doubted yourself or your dreams?
Maybe I’m just delusional but I know I’m going to be a pop star. I do get a lot of hate comments because people try to invalidate the bit of success that I’ve had, but it’s no sweat off my shoulders. I think my biggest motivation for that is that I want this so bad that the hate comments come with it. There will always be a small percentage of people who want to see your downfall, but as long as you love the music or what you’re doing, that’s all that matters. You just have to keep hustling.
I’ve never doubted myself. I feel like that’s so stupid, but I feel like I’m made to be in music no matter what. It’s not that I’ve doubted myself, it’s that I’ve doubted the people around me like who really has my back. It’s more or so about surrounding myself around the right people. There obviously are hard days where you’re like why is it not me, but you have to be your biggest motivator because if you give up on yourself then what do you have left?
What do you look forward to the most as your fanbase and catalog continue to grow?
Fanbase-wise, I want my shows to be moshpits of girls wearing all pink. That would be a dream for me to see these hyper girly girls in their Hello Kitty backpacks jumping up and down. I feel like that’s when I made it, when I have a fanbase of people just like me. Catalog-wise, I have so much hope for this next project and the mixtape. I really want people to recognize the talent in my artistry because I haven’t released a full body of work since 2019. I haven’t shown people what’s going on and this new music is so different from the past. That’s my goal, to continue to make really great conceptual projects.
Elsewhere in music, ASTON is weaving unbounded confidence and pop-rock ethos into her music.