Maverick Sabre: Life, music and choosing the higher route

Marcus Barnes

mav Maverick Sabre: Life, music and choosing the higher routeMaverick Sabre is a singer I’ve admired for quite some time now. I first came across him during my time at The Sun back in 2009 or 2010. We met several times on the night time circuit during my second period at the tabloid, though never managed to get together to work on any press-related content. Now, five years later, we finally knocked heads and had a great chat about his forthcoming album…

How’s the summer looking?

Yeah pretty busy, I’ve just finished off the album so I’m having it mixed and mastered and just adding some last little finishing touches to everything.  Gig-wise I’m going to be on the road doing a lot of festivals with Gorgon City, because I’ve got a couple of tunes on their record. It’s going to be a good summer, definitely.

Is the album you on your own, or are there a lot of collaborations?

I’ve worked with a lot of different producers, like I did on the first record – like Steve McGregor, the genius from Jamaica, who did the first single ‘Emotion’.  There are loads of others, but as far as collaborations there’s Chronixx and Joey Badass too. I didn’t have anyone on my first record and I was adamant that I wouldn’t, so it’s taken a lot for me to think about people who I could get on board for my second album. I think Joey and Chronixx are the main, if not only, ones right now who suit what I’m doing.

What characteristics did those two guys need in order for you to be inspired to collaborate with them?

Because I’d never met either of them before, it started with their music. I connected with Joey through Twitter long before I’d even started writing the record. He was fan of me and I was a fan of his, and we always said we’d work together. It just so happened that this song came up that I thought he’d be perfect for. A similar thing happened with Chronixx, I met him when he came over to London – there was space on a track that I thought he’d be right for, the energy was ideal for him.

For me, Chronixx and Joey are two artists that are one, masters in their own field, and two, guys who believe in having a message in their music and that music is more than just disposable – they stand for something, they’re conscious, rebellious and innovative. They’re two people who inspire me to better what I’m doing and I believe we’re all under the same umbrella with what we’re trying to do with music overall, which is to have a more positive effect on the world.

In terms of what it says about you as an artist, how does the second album differ from the first?

It’s a lot more personal. My writing has changed and developed, I’ve been influenced by lots of different music since the last album. Idris Elba invited me over to Africa to do some work on a record he’s making with a lot of South African musicians, which was a really amazing experience and opened my mind to a lot of different styles, voices and tones I’d never heard before. My style has developed, grown and matured.

Is there a theme or story behind the album?

Yeah, the story is over the last two years I’ve had the biggest transitional period I’ve had in my whole life, learning more about myself and understanding myself more than I ever have before. I really had to put myself into a mind state that was reflective of what I wanted to be. So the record really represents that and, from start to finish, it’s the deepest reflection I’ve had in my life, so a lot of the songs are very personal. The record really gives a good reflection of how I’ve been changing over the last couple of years.

What’s been behind this change? Growing up? Your career? Or personal stuff?

It’s been a mixture of everything. Ever since I’ve been a kid I’ve been addicted to learning, learning more about myself and the world, being connected and working towards a higher self and keeping positive. Understanding the world and, through that, understanding myself. For the last two years so many things have gone on in my personal life, and when you have things going on in your personal life, and you’ve got music going on at the same time, it’s a battle and you have to jump ship all the time – you have to juggle two things at the same time. You get caught up in negative thoughts and don’t have time to express them freely or the way you should do. It came to a point in my life where I was either going to go down one path or another, the negative route was not going to allow me to achieve what I wanted in my life and from my music, so the only option was the higher route – if that makes sense.

No doubt. Are there any other artists or inspirations that have been the catalyst behind the album?

It’s been a range of stuff, I worked with a lot of different musicians on the album and everyone gave their own little bit of inspiration. The first record that came out of the project was a tune called ‘Breathe’, which we put a video to and released before the first single, ‘Emotion’. The producers on that were Dan Radcliffe and Jimmy Hogarth. The session with those two triggered off a lot of ideas in my mind, mainly from the bass that Jimmy played – he played some bass riffs that I’d never heard before and really gave me an idea about what I wanted to whole record to sound like. That was probably the biggest inspiration, that first tune.

You’ve obviously toured a lot too, has that fed back into the album project?

Yeah, the more you tour and interact with people, you’re able to gauge different audiences – people of different ages, backgrounds, from different towns… you can gauge their appreciation, what works and what doesn’t. Subconsciously I think that will affect anyone’s writing.

Are you still in London?

Yeah, I’ve been here on and off for about seven years now. We’re in north London, but I like to move about a lot.

Have you been out and about much recently?

Yeah, I’m always out and about. I like to live a fruitful social life, and I like to enjoy myself. I’m a lad at the end of the day and I’m just as honest with my music as I am in my life, nothing changes, I’m still the same – in the pub, in fabric, in the middle of the street. I like to live my life, I like to be around people and be connected to people because for me that’s what I’m writing my music about. So if I’m stuck in an Addison Lee or in my flat all day long, I’ve got nothing to write about.

Going back to having a positive or conscious message in your music, what kind of effect would you hope the album might have on someone who picks it up when it’s out?

I can never specifically say the individual effects, or that I’m some kind of higher being that can teach anyone anything. I think what changed my life and my outlook and musical journey was artists like Tupac Shakur, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye… artists that were vulnerable. Especially Tupac, he’s one of my favourite artists of all time, he was able to express himself in a really honest way and he stood for something, and wanted positive change for people in general. As did so many people from the past.

If someone comes away from my record feeling anything I’d hope that it had the same effect as when I listened to Tupac as a child, he opened my mind to certain things and connected to me because he was being vulnerable. No one’s being vulnerable singing about dancing in a club, which isn’t a bad thing because I write songs about dancing in clubs as well but if that’s all we’re hearing then we’re not connecting to anybody. I wanna hear honest songs about people suffering and standing for something, because that’s what people are about in their core. The world’s not in a great place right now, England isn’t, nowhere is, so the music should reflect the feelings of the people. That’s what I would like, is for someone to come away and think, ‘He’s speaking for me and he’s speaking from a place I can connect with and I understand’. That’s my main aim.

For more information on Maverick Sabre check out his website here

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