With summer in full swing and social gatherings re-emerging, it’s time to dig out those platform boots from deep within your closet, for the Saturday Night Fever is back with a vengeance, and we have Sabine to thank.
Debuting her solo single, “No Pressure”, Sabine (Francesca Vannucci) gained high prestige as front runner of the band Sabine and the Red Lotus – a group that, through transcendent production and classic alternative-pop saturation, follows the influence of the Greats (Amy Winehouse, Shirley Bassey, and Nick Cave for example) and glistens in lavish glamour and romance.
Drawing off of the band’s sound, Vannucci brews up her own original voice, taking on a golden-era approach that sparkles in sugar-coated pastels and groovy neon lights. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this new track could fall as a stand-in for The Bee Gees’ “Stayin Alive”, as a similar guitar riff, a funky bass, pulsing drums, celestial harmonies, and 80’s inspired string glides and synth swells make for the perfect soundtrack to John Travolta’s iconic street-walk. In fact, the song’s music video literally films Vannucci from the knee down as she struts through the city. Not to mention, the chorus spiritedly repeats “I feel so alive”, and whether intentional or not, this crossover sounds like a match made in heaven.
The Jersey Shore native began her music career as little as eight years old, training as an opera singer up until transitioning to jazz in college. There, Vannucci strived to find her ‘real voice’, deconstructing everything she learned growing up in order to develop new vocal techniques that worked best for her delicate instrument.
In 2019, she released her first EP, Infinite Orb, under Sabine and the Red Lotus, accompanied by Marcus Watkins (guitar), Chris Joyner (keys), Mark Fontana (bass and background vocal), and Tony Braunagel (drums and background vocal). In January, they dropped their newest single “Broken”, a powerful cinematic ballad dedicated to the human experience, specifically the tendency to perceive meaningful connections towards unfamiliar and unrelated things. The track’s visual narrative is just as mesmerizing, with production akin to a motion picture potential.
There’s so much more to learn of this new Sabine, so without further adieu…
After sitting with your music (this new song AND your material with The Red Lotus) it’s very clear that you were born to be a musician. Do you recall the moment or moments that made you decide to pursue your current path creatively? Were they early in life, or did you figure out your innate creativity later on?
I studied classical music for a long time, and dabbled in musicals and jazz, but I never really found my direction until much later. I was a singer first, but I didn’t know where and how to channel that craft until I (finally) started writing for myself.
Tell us about Sabine and The Red Lotus. When did the band form, and what is the creative vision of the group as a whole?
We formed almost four years ago, though Marcus and I (the guitarist and co-writer) have played together for almost ten. We wanted to make dynamic, cinematic music. A cross between Shirley Bassey and Pink Floyd. Landing somewhere between the worlds of James Bond and David Lynch.
Your new song “No Pressure” perfectly encapsulates so much of what we really love about GREAT pop music – to you, what does it mean to write a truly effective “pop” song, and who inspires you as a solo artist?
I think the best pop music is about simplicity. Which can be a complex thing to accomplish.
Solo artists I love, but am not limited to: Annie Lennox, Erykah Badu, Caroline Polachek, Christine and the Queens, Whitney Houston (the list could go on and on…)
Speaking of being a solo artist, what motivated you to release new music as Sabine? Do you feel you are tapping into a different “bag” with this work in comparison to your work with the band?
I actually wrote this song many years ago with Darien Zahedi (of CRX and Cadeaux) and had intended to be a solo artist, but then the band got rolling and I held off on releasing solo material to focus on what we were doing with the group.
Sabine was definitely more of a dance-pop oriented concept when it was first created, then Red Lotus became its own thing.
Your style is very influential and endearing- any formative influences?
Why thank you. MANY formative influences. I was born in 80, lived the 90’s full on the first time around, and then got lost in the abyss of Y2k. It’s been an amazing few decades for style both sonically and sartorially, and right now truly any and all of it goes. Which is rad. You can embrace all your inner personalities.
I tend to look to the past for inspiration- movies and documentaries (because RL is the best). The 70’s are the coolest decade ever.
Tell us what we can expect from Sabine/Sabine and the Red Lotus in the future.
Red Lotus is releasing an album any minute now ☺ and we have another one in the works for 2022. Sabine has other singles, waiting to be mingled, that will also release sometime in 2021.
One last question – describe SABINE in five words!
Ever evolving genre-less jams (is that five or four?)