Monday, January 30, 2012

Asia's Acoustic Sweetheart Sabrina Releases New Single While 4th Album Goes Platinum in Indonesia

"Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguillera became a big hit in the airwaves in 2011 and it continues to be popular this year as Sabrina, Asia's Acoustic Sweetheart, infuses her own music style on the hit song. Its music video, directed by Daphne Oliveros, is set to be premiered this February at MYX, the Philippines' top music channel. 

The "Moves Like Jagger" single is released as a follow-up to Sabrina's highly successful "I Love Acoustic 4" album which happens to have turned Gold in Indonesia last November and is now certified Platinum (like her first three albums) this January. The accolades made Sabrina one of the few Filipino singers to gain multi-platinum success in Indonesia where other singers have tried but failed to break in. 

Last night, I got to meet her in person during the Bloggers' Evening with Sabrina held at Red Box in Eastwood. I first heard her sing "Who Says" in MCA Music's CD Sampler and liked her style. It was a treat to hear her render her versions of several songs live. Here's a video I took of her singing her new single:

She shared with us that she consistently had vocal coaching since she was seven and was her school's resident singer who always gets to be volunteered to lead the national anthem or perform in school programs. When she was in third grade, she joined a singing contest, sang Greatest Love of All, and won. "That was my first and last kasi nanalo na ako. Ayoko ng matalo," she expressed amid much laughter from the room.

At age 14, she remembers singing at a family reunion then did some recording two years later. She was signed up to focus on Bossa Nova after she was heard singing 'Like a Lover' in Erik Santos' birthday concert. Sabrina also disclosed she only started learning to play the guitar when she was in second year high school. "Self-study lang. Never akong nag-enroll sa formal music school."

When somebody asked her if she composes songs, the lovely young woman candidly replied, "Honestly, dalawang songs pa lang. Kasi, nakaka-compose lang ako kapag depressed ako which is bihira kasi masayahin akong tao. Ipapa-arrange ko pa lang pero I'm not sure kung yun ang unang ilalabas na original kasi crucial. Kapag composition ko kasi, baka di naman ganun kaganda pero sana ... you know ... para galing sa heart."

Asked why she thinks it's much harder to please Filipino audiences, Sabrina honestly replied, "In other countries, what matters is your voice and how you sing, not really how you look like. Dito, you have to look like an actress, be super skinny, super white, and you have to be perfect physically. It's the reality. You have to know the right people and you have to look the part." 

She first gained Indonesian followers when her first album was released there in 2009.  She has been to the country thrice to grace different events and admitted how surprised and pleased she was that audiences sang with her when she performed. "I feel very honored. Feeling ko naka-cross ako ng boundaries. Kasi mahirap magpabilib ng tao na hindi mo ka-kultura. I'm a Catholic, most of them are Muslim. Pero na-prove ko na talent is still being recognized."

I Love Acoustic 4 has one Tagalog track, Saranghae, which has become a favorite of some of Sabrina's Indonesian fans. "Lagi nilang pini-play, ang ganda daw kahit di nila naiintindihan. So ni-tweet ko na lang sa kanila that the song talks about love para naman ... kasi ako, if I love a song, kailangan malaman ko yung message. Mamya, gusto ko s'ya pero puro naman pala masasama yung kinakanta ko," she explains. "I love my Indonesian fans because they really buy my albums; they don't pirate music."

Sabrina revealed her musical influences include Mariah Carey, Arnie Hidalgo, and Kyla. As to future collaborations, she named Usher and Boys to Men, although she wondered how they would sing acoustic duets together. To date, she has already recorded songs with Richard Poon and Calvin Jeremy who's considered Indonesia's John Meyer.

She revealed her ideal guy won't be someone from showbiz because, "Baka hindi totoo yung sasabihin sa akin." Nevertheless, in the future, she wants "to have a family, be a housewife, and have kids." She likes children and confessed that two of her childhood dreams are "maging yaya tapos President ng Philippines."

Sabrina with Annie and Ayelski of Pinoy Song Mag
If she hadn't made it as a singer, Sabrina supposed she would be a lawyer doing pro-bono work for women. And she could well likely be one given she graduated cum laude from her AB Comm Arts degree in UP Los Banos last 2010. At the moment, she's planning to take up her masters, "Maybe this year.Yes, while singing!" she affirmed. 

When it comes to being in a romantic relationship, Sabrina was quick to say she's choosing her career over a love life at the moment. "Lalo na yung klase ng trabaho ko, ang daming may gusto nito tapos blessing pa na binigay sa akin. Di ko nga alam na gusto kong maging professional singer eh. So binigay sya talaga sa akin ni God bago ko pa nalaman na ito ang gusto ko. Everything happened because of Him. So kailangan ko talaga alagaan ito." 

She also expressed that she wants to become successful for her fans. "Para maging proud sila sa akin. Kasi ayoko silang i-let down. Ingat ako sa mga kilos ko kasi di maganda yung tinitingala ka tapos masama ka pala. And I make sure I also do things na makakatulong sa career ko."

I Love Acoustic 4 has 18 tracks including Price Tag, Who Says, Edge of Glory, On The Floor, Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), California King Bed, Hold It Against Me, Rolling in the Deep, The Lazy Song, Back to December, That Should Be Me, Marry Me, Rocketeer, Just The Way You Are feat. Calvin Jeremy, and Lucky feat. Richard Poon.

This coming February 17 (Friday) at 4pm, catch Sabrina as she serenades fans in SM Pasig. Those who will buy her album "I Love Acoustic 4" will get to have their CDs autographed by the Acoustic Sweetheart after the show.

"I Love Acoustic 4" is now out in CDs under MCA Music (Universal Music Philippines) and available for download at To download the single Moves Like Jagger, text JGR to 2728 (Smart and Talk N Text), text KL343 to 2332 (Globe/TM) or text 5493161 to 2300 (Sun). For more of Sabrina's music, text SABRINA to 3456 or check out

A Bloggers' Evening with Sabrina was organized by MCA Music in cooperation with Pinoy Magazine (the January 2012 issue has a feature on Sabrina!), Orange Magazine TV and Red Box: Rock, Dine, Roll.

* For Sabrina's fans from other countries who would like a translation of the Tagalog quotes or words, just leave a comment under this blog post and I'll do my best to give you the English version so you'd be able to understand what she was sharing :)

* Most photos used are borrowed from Orange Magazine TV's Facebook album.

SABRINA PROMO (for Philippine residents only -- sorry, I can't afford the postage for overseas shipping): Knowing how much her fans love Sabrina, I'd be glad to make one of you happy :) So I'm giving away this tumbler with Sabrina's signature and a small towel with your idol's name.

Here's how you can win:

1. Like the Write, Breathe, Live page on Facebook.
2. Copy and paste the link of this blog post ( on your FB status and type: "I'm a big fan of Sabrina and would love to own a Sabrina towel and tumbler from Write, Breathe, Live (tagged)"
3. Please don't forget to set your status message as "public" so I'd see it even if we're not yet friends on Facebook.
4. Deadline for entries is midnight of February 20, 2012. The winner will be drawn digitally via and will be announced in this blog and on WBL's FB page on February 21. Good luck! :)

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