13th April | Trinity
Maverick Sabre has a family-grown philosophy that allows him to connect internally with huge audiences. He has grasped the spirit of a true musician and recognises the need to contribute to the world with pure, exposed love through his work. With his newest album When I Wake Up on as I write, I’m stirred by the depth of conscience he unveils more and more with each play. It is no surprise to me then, that his Spring tour has sold out, including his date at The Trinity Centre in Bristol, and a November tour has already been announced. Be sure to cop a ticket for something very real indeed.
What follows is an interview that needs no dressing up: Maverick Sabre spoke straight from his heart, accommodating my rambling need for guidance and curiosity as a fellow musician and songwriter. Caught in the middle of his tour, his team were busy unloading into the Leeds venue, yet he addressed me with consideration and generosity throughout, unfazed by his surroundings.
I still struggle with knowing what to call myself, how did you decide on your artist name?
I had my initials M.S.; obviously Marks and Spencers was taken. Maverick is someone who always thinks out the box and Sabre is someone who puts on a hard front to get through hard times. These are both things that connected with me and what I wanted to represent through my music.
I feel like you have found your own zone of music with this album. Did you have a certain direction you wanted to go in?
No, it was the opposite of that. I had no intention of making it, it kind of just made itself, which in a weird way is how the whole thing has gone on with the videos and everything. It’s been us just having fun and wanting to tell stories that would strike a chord in me and in other people.
It feels like as soon as we let go and stop trying to box ourselves into one style or genre, the magic starts happening.
Whose boxes are we really putting ourselves into? It’s just for people to feel comfortable. What is alternative? Alternative to what? Musicians as artists, I think, get labelled the most out of anything. You wouldn’t tell a painter that they have to paint a specific subject. They are free, designers are free, architects are free. Your voice and your story should be your genre and whatever you make through that, as long as it’s good, who cares?
It’s clear audiences can feel entitled to hear certain hits live, or want new albums to sound a certain way. Do you feel you’ve had demands?
That’s for us as musicians to break down. People are always gonna have opinions; in a way it’s hard for them not to, especially in the era of, well I’d loosely call them music shows, X Factor and The Voice. They are great for giving opportunities, I suppose, but it also makes people think there’s one type of way of making music, or being successful, or having hits and it’s for us as musicians to be the ones at the forefront, breaking that stuff down.
I had that exact thing with an Uber driving telling me to go on the X Factor.
We can’t blame people for having that perception; they’re not musicians and that’s sometimes the only thing people see. It’s for us again to show we can do it our own way.
I keep hearing routine is key to life. Is self discipline something that’s always come easily to you?
The only time I’m disciplined is when I’m on the road. My voice needs to be the best it can be; we’re athletes at the end of the day with how we use the muscles in our throat, so we need to warm up and down properly. I don’t smoke and drink as little as I can. With writing, though, I like to keep quite free. Normally I create in the evenings when I’m chilling at home, so I don’t like to put a routine around that.
It’s kind of forcing you to do something when you might not be inspired right?
Maybe it works for some people, but for me routine comes in promo and tour, ‘routine’ and ‘create’ to me are different worlds. Don’t let anyone else tell you how to create.
Did you feel like there was a certain point in your career when you felt momentum, like something was going to happen?
For me it was when I started gigging and performing. I’ve always felt an underlying confidence and had such a passion and love for music. It was just a subconscious thing. Even through my ups and downs, it’s always been in me and I always felt that I would be alright, music’s got me. Once I started putting stuff out, I felt okay – this is the momentum, this is what I should be doing.
When it comes to my own music, I feel like I have a block, a fear of failure.
The fear is what stops a lot of people from doing it. If you really, really do love this and you want to put passion into them words, then you need to get rid of that fear. And what is failure? My dad never made any money out of music, but he’s still putting out albums and putting on shows; that’s success to him. If you love what you’re doing and you continue to write better songs, isn’t it a success? Again it’s a concept that hasn’t been made by us; it’s someone else telling us what success and failure are.
Has your dad been a big inspiration for you then?
Massively, he’s just shown me pure love in music.
You have a collaborations on this album again. What’s it like writing with Jorja Smith and Chronixx?
Me and Jorja have been writing together since she was sixteen and we’ve just been mad close since. We’re very similar in the studio, inspired by similar melodies; it’s just easy. Again, I’ve known Chronixx since he was about twenty-two. We’ve worked together a lot. I’ve been to him in Jamaica, he’s been with me in London and I’ve been to all his shows over here. We’ve just got a friendship. It’s just easy and they both represent what I’m trying to represent.
And what is that exactly?
Music is one of the last pure things we have left in the world and it’s unique because it tells you how to feel; you can’t decide if music is going to connect with you or not. It’s so pure that it either touches you or it doesn’t. If you put the right message into it and the right feeling into it and you tell your own vulnerable stories, as vulnerably as you can and as truthfully as you see the world, then people connect with it.
Music has changed my life, it’s educated me and it’s made me feel not alone, so I just need to pass that on as much as I can. I would be dismissive of my responsibilities as a musician if I had been inspired to say something like that and not pass that on.
See the video for ‘Slow Down’ (feat. Jorja Smith) here: