Florida-bred R&B stylist Sabrina Claudio, named Apple Music’s Up Next artist in September, titled her latest project “About Time.” Yet while writing the album’s 12 originals, she says she didn’t realize she subconsciously was writing every song about time. “For some reason I was always thinking about, or worrying about, time, in a way, and it’s funny that people can now tell that I’ve slowed down,” says the vocalist, whose single “Belong To You” boasts a Sade-sultry phraseology.
You posted a Frank Ocean cover to YouTube when you were only 14. And your parents happily got you all the equipment to do it?
They got me my first microphone as a birthday present, and then a loop machine that I used in my early covers. I asked for one, because one of my favorite artists is Kimbra, and she uses it a lot in her performances. I just had to have one. But my family is super-supportive, and their support has gotten me through a lot of potentially defeating moments.
There was a lot of disappointment and rejection that came really early in my life, until I had to change my mindset and become even stronger. I started making original music during my YouTube process. And as a young female, dealing with a lot of male producers who were older and had more so-called experience, they would discourage me, telling me that what I was doing — and even my vision — was never going to work. And that lasted quite a long time.
How did you finally find yourself?
Once I moved to L.A. two and a half years ago, things were different. I was still trying to do it on my own. But I met my current manager five months after arriving there, and ever since, it was me and him, kind of doing it ourselves. Everything is tough when you’re just starting out in this industry, because there’s a lot of shady people out there. So finding the right people is the toughest thing. But once you find that circle, which I have, it’s pretty rewarding.
And you slowed down musically and literally, too?
For sure. Before moving to L.A., I was working with a lot of people who were manipulating me, where they either wanted to put things out immediately or didn’t — I was on everybody else’s time frame. But once I was on my own, I was like, “You know what? I’m going to do this right and take my time, and I’ll put things out only when I’m ready.” And that’s when everything started smoothing out.
IF YOU GO
6LACK, with Sabrina Claudio
Where: Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 31
Tickets: $30 to $35
Contact: (415) 673-5716, www.axs.com