Date of Birth: 20th June, 1990
Star Sign: Gemini
Media-related occupation: Singer/Songwriter
Sandrina is currently part of local band Skarlet, featuring Keith Muscat, Simon Vella, Luca Giudice and her brother Alan DeGabriele. The drive and inspiration behind the Skarlet idea was the concept of giving the audience upbeat songs and performances that range from rock stage to club, an idea that’s paved the way with hard work, dedication and passion. The band performed at Teatru Unplugged at the Manoel Theatre in 2012, and Sandrina also took part in Rockestra in the following year, where she performed with the National Orchestra at the MFCC. In 2015, she went on to perform at the Beatles Tribute Concert with Keith Muscat at Smart City.
Image source: Peter Mark Mercieca
For the past few years, Sandrina has been focusing on writing original music, and has recently teamed up with Peter Borg and Matthew James Borg (Red Electrick and Railway Studios) to produce their first single, Stone.
How did you get your stage name?
My full name is Sandrina DeGabriele, but I went for just ‘Sandrina’, since my full name is quite long, and since it’s not a very common name, I thought it would make a good stage name, one that will hopefully be remembered.
What can you tell us about your latest single?
Stone‘s a song which describes the intense emotions one feels when someone you love hurts you. It’s about wanting to turn into stone to become numb and not to feel the pain, to simply exist. This however comes at a price. When you turn into stone, you can’t feel anything, not even the good. So this song represents an internal dilemma: Do I turn to stone and not feel, or do I let it go?
The song ends with the phrase “Trying hard to let it go”, which gives us a sense of resolution, in the sense that at the end of it all, it’s our choice to decide whether we let go of all the pain or to let it consume us.
When did you start taking your talent seriously?
I was first introduced to the performing arts when I was around nine years old at Masquerade Theatre Arts School. My tutors realised that I could sing, and advised me to take on extra singing lessons. I then started training with Gillian Zammit for a number of years, and haven’t looked back since!
Image: Make up by Chantal Busuttil, Clothes by Miss Selfridge, Photographer: Peter Mark Mercieca
Should more kids in Malta be encouraged to take up singing?
There’s lately been a burst of new talent, musicians and singers alike. I think kids these days have become more confident because of what they’re exposed to, and parents have also realised that although making a living out of music is a very tough road, being able to perform is a very rewarding feeling. Being able to sing isn’t something that everyone can do, so I think parents and teachers should always look out for kids’ talents and encourage them to feel confident enough to try, just like my parents did. Having a child of my own has made me realise that it’s important to encourage them, but that we must also learn when to take a step back and let them do the rest.
If you had to meet a singer from the past, who would it be?
I think it would be Eva Cassidy. She was mostly known for her covers of popular blues, jazz, pop and rock classics. Her voice had a very big impact on me when I was just starting out, and I instantly felt like I could relate to her style. She died at the age of 33 in 1996, so I’d probably discuss a potential next album, as I’d be curious as to what music style she’d have adopted or kept. I personally think that she’d have come up with some cool music adapted to today’s trends. The fact that she’s no longer here to make music makes the few songs she had recorded all the more special to me.
Image source: Peter Mark Mercieca
Do you feel you have enough space and opportunities to spread your artistic wings in Malta?
I feel that the music industry has opened up recently, but not enough. It’s still considered to be a secondary level job to some, when in actual fact it’s become quite the profession! It’s always refreshing whenever I attend a concert or an event and see new faces with new sounds. I do believe that there are people constantly working to organise different events, and this is really encouraging, as there’s a need to diversify in the music scene. This is opening up and showcasing some new talents too. I also believe that in order to succeed, you need to work hard at it, and this includes creating your own opportunities rather than waiting to be in the right place at the right time.
What’s in store for the future?
At the moment, I’m constantly writing music to eventually release an EP. I’m excited to continue working with Railway Studios, as I feel there’s great synergy in this project. Since I’m working on a new style of music, which leans more towards digital sounds, another challenge is going to be working on the live set of my songs, which I’m sure will be a very interesting project, one which I’m looking forward to sharing with everyone, possibly at a small concert launch next year.