Poppy Haddigan, aka Sabella, first caught our attention with the 2015 release of her EP Home Truths. A shimmering collection of tracks, the EP established Sabella as one of pop’s most exciting new writers and voices.
Born in Islington and raised in Somerset, Poppy (like all great future popstars) was a big fan of musical theatre, crediting the stage as her first foray into singing and clearly influencing her ability to craft stories into songs, saying: “There’s always a narrative, and some sort of soul in it.”
Now signed to Hot Hot Records/Polydor, she’s returned with new single “Fortress”, a glistening pop/R&B crossover track that’s full of heart.
Get to know Sabella and watch the video for “Fortress” below.
Your recent single was “Fortress”, what’s it about?
Without meaning to sound like some new age flower child , Fortress for me is about looking within yourself, living your own truth and turning away from negative outside influences and realities. Turning off your peripheral vision and focussing on what YOU actually value and love.
We were also obsessed with the video, how important are the visuals to you?
Visuals are super important to me in both the creative process- in terms of inspiring ideas and in the aftermath. I mean, Fortress was purely motivated and energised by a video I found online of Burning Man Festival. I remember seeing this video, which in short, follows people explaining their reasons for wanting to find an escape from day to day bullshit. A narrative that I could really relate too and took on. Without that video, that song wouldn’t be around. So I suppose that’s the most obvious example of how central it can be for me. But beyond that, generally, for my own project and music it’s nice to create a visual to enhance or direct someone’s mind into a place of my choosing.
To the uninitiated how would you describe your sound?
I think I would struggle haha! I always do whenever I'm asked this question. There is definitely difference in some of my material and at times, a duality. As a through line though, I hope when people describe my music as soulful. I hope the sincerity in my songs is what is consistent. I really think honesty has a sound you know? but, at a push, I guess I would say electro pop but it’s got a hints of everything really- a bit of r&b, a bit of disco. There’s a ton of crossover.
You grew up in Glastonbury, a place synonymous with music (and mysticism) what’s your earliest musical memory?
I have many great musical memories but my earliest memory I can’t imagine will earn me any kudos. It involved my mother and Nan taking my older sister and me to see Blue at Butlins. All rise!!
Even though you left Glastonbury are people still asking if you can get them free tickets?
I'm never really asked!! It's surprising how enterprising people can be when they really want to get somewhere or want something. It’s become more difficult over the years and the pursuits of gaining entry have also become more imaginative. No-one is asking me!! They're making fake wristbands or jumping into their friend’s dads truck who does stage lighting for some famous band haha!
Did moving from the country to the city influence your songwriting?
To an extent, sure! I was a teen when I first moved from Somerset to London and you only have to be a teenager once to understand how much your mind and perception of things change during this time. And then again in your twenties. But it’s less about the places I have been and more about the time in which I'm writing.
Which musicians influenced your sound?
Liquid Liquid, Donna Summer, Kanye, Peter Gabriel, Sade, Everything But The Girl…..I could go on but for fear of sounding confused, I will stop there! But the list is endless and senseless. I find influence and steal from everywhere.
What record are you currently playing on repeat?
Prince- I Wanna Be Your Lover !!!!!
What’s next for you?
I have another single coming out soon. And then a world tour ?????? My management are yet to be informed of this plan haha!
"Fortress" is out now via Hot Hot Records/Polydor.