World premiere: new video from pop sensation Sabina Ddumba
She started as a backup singer, but we believe she is destined for superstardom. As Sabina Ddumba is about to release her debut album, she speaks to H&M Magazine about why she deserves to be where she is.
Growing up in Stockholm with her dad and brothers, Sabina Ddumba was taught Ugandan nursery rhymes and songs and joined the choir at a young age. But it wasn’t until she discovered Lauryn Hill that she believed she could become an artist.
She even has a tattoo on her arm picturing the American singer and when Lauryn Hill was visiting Sweden this summer, Sabina got a chance to show the artwork to the singer’s stylist.
“What I love about her is that her voice sometimes cracks and that you can hear how she almost cries when she sings”, says the 22-year-old singer. “Beyoncé is also an artist I’ve listened a lot to, but she was never my role model. When I was young all the girls were playing Destiny's Child and I’m darker than Beyoncé so I rarely got to be her. Lauryn Hill was just as dark as me and it was nice to see that someone who looked like me could be an artist. She is everything to me.”
I have allowed myself to focus on singing and I have never been afraid to fail.
You may have heard Sabina Ddumba’s soulful singing on Katy Perry’s Walking On Air or her own singles Effortless, Scarred for Life or Not Too Young. The Swedish singer is now set to release her first album Homeward Bound, and it’s filled with pop gems. She’s worked with Wolf Cousins – collaborators of Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez and Taylor Swift – as well as LunchMoney Lewis, the man behind songs by Nicki Minaj and Jessie J.
“I have always been very stubborn”, Sabina says. “I am very thankful for this opportunity and that I’m able to work with people like these, but I think I deserve it. And I have spent a lot of time developing my voice. That’s what I care about.”
Sabina still lives in Stockholm and thinks her family and friends have helped her stay true to herself. Her mother left the family when she was only eight years old, but Sabina’s managed to keep what happened separate from her singing and career.
“I’m proud that I didn’t let her absence define me”, she says. “I have allowed myself to focus on singing and I have never been afraid to fail.”
Still, going down the record label route wasn’t always the evident choice for her.
“I was in a meeting one day, and I was really sceptical,” the singer remembers. “Record label? How does that work? Some people told me not to sign and said: ‘You’ll sell your soul.’ But [in the end] I laughed at them, there’s no escaping the record labels. So I signed and now I’m here.”
Sabina Ddumba’s album Homeward Bound will be released in a couple
of days. In the meantime, watch the world premiere of the music
video for Time, exclusively here on H&M Magazine.
Sabina’s top five songs
LOCATION Born 1994 in Stockholm and is still living in the capital of Sweden.
WHAT Sabina started out as a backing vocalist for Katy Perry and Swedish singer Jenny Wilson. Her own music has influences from soul, gospel, and R&B. She’s now releasing her first album Homeward Bound.
SPOTIFY Sabina Ddumba