Jordanian singer-songwriter Elias Sabella is gearing up to release his debut EP ‘Thoughts’ at the end of the month, with one melancholic track out already (‘No Love’) and an upcoming single ‘Way Too Much’ arriving on October 3.
The guitar- and piano-driven six-track EP has a “much darker undertone” than Sabella’s previous works, says the Dubai-based artist, who’s less afraid to push himself lyrically and vocally.
“These new songs were my gateway to finding myself ... and trying to be as real and as vulnerable as possible,” Sabella tells Gulf News tabloid!.
With Auguste Rodin’s famed statue ‘The Thinker’ on the cover, the album tackles issues of mental health and introversion, which Sabella says he deals with on a day-to-day basis.
“I feel like there are some misconceptions. A lot of people consider introverts to be shy or sad and lonely all the time, but I think that is just a myth. As an introvert myself, I tend to be a reserved person. I find my place of solitude and peace by being alone, which helps me connect with myself and let go of many things in my life,” he explains.
MUM’S THE WORD
Musically, Sabella doesn’t limit himself to one muse or another. From pop to metal, he’s open to finding inspiration from across the musical spectrum.
“I grew [up] listening to a lot of alternative and rock music. My favourite artist, the artist that really paved the way for me to start playing guitar, was [Australian rock band] AC/DC. There was just something about their energy and guitar solos that got me hooked,” says Sabella.
Post Malone, NF and Blackbear, he adds, are the three contemporary artists who have most heavily influenced his current sound. But Sabella also gets inspiration from much closer to home.
“My mother is the biggest influence in my family when it comes to music and art,” he admits. “She used to be a music teacher when I was in primary school, and she used to play classical pieces from some of the legends, like Bach and Mozart, on the piano and pushed me to learn.”
At 13 years old, a young Sabella came across a video of guitar icon Jimi Hendrix playing ‘Purple Haze’. He fell in love with the instrument and made the decision to master it. By high school, he had started his first rock band with his best friend and was writing and composing his own songs.
“Fast forward to 2018, I became a solo artist, still creating music with the same passion that I had when I was 15 years old,” says Sabella.
‘Answers’ – the only ballad on the EP Thoughts – is the closest to the singer’s heart.
“The track is very personal to me because it talks about my struggle growing up as a third-culture kid and fear of losing my roots. It builds on the idea that I don’t completely belong in one country. I grew up in Dubai but I am from Jordan and I consider them both to be home. But if I leave one and live in another, does that mean that I will be forgotten?” asks Sabella.
Sabella gave “a huge shout out to [producer Rayan Bailouni] for his vision and helping me bring the songs to life.”
“When I first contacted Rayan to work on the EP, I had no idea what vision and direction I wanted for the songs, but I knew that I wanted to create something more personal and relatable,” he says.
Sabella considers the trap and pop-rock track ‘Way Too Much’, which features rapper Foreign Geechi, to be the most radio-ready single on the album.
“As soon as [Geechi] heard it, he was thrilled to be onboard. After sending a few demos back and forth, we managed to create something special. And, as they say, the rest was history,” he says.