Confidence takes many forms. Sometimes, it might be overt. Other times, it can be understated. Either way, it leaves an impression. On Singular: Act II [Hollywood Records], Sabrina Carpenter naturally projects a heightened level of poise on the microphone as a singer and in the lyrics as a writer. The 20-year-old’s personal stories assuredly reflect a strong self-awareness that belies her age.
Speaking up and showing out, this creative and personal growth glows right from the heart without filter.
“As a young woman in the entertainment industry, it’s easy to question who you are on a daily basis,” she admits. “I’m obviously still figuring it out, but many fans are doing the same thing. When I’m writing, it’s important for me to tell my own story and to have fun, but I also think about what listeners might need in their lives. We make music to feel like we’re not alone, which I hope these songs convey.”
Throughout 2019, the gold-selling talent identified another side of herself. She divided her third full-length album— Singular—into two acts. Act I highlighted her writing in a powerful and palpable spirit. Within six months, it clocked 100 million-plus cumulative streams and incited widespread tastemaker applause. The Line of Best Fit extolled it as “her tightest, most polished project to date,” Earmilk called it “dynamic and demanding,” and People summed it up best as “a force to be reckoned with.” Simultaneously, standout single “Sue Me” surpassed 41 million* Spotify streams and 21 million* YouTube views. (*numbers as of May 2019)
As she pieced together Act II, the songstress slightly switched gears…
“I split up the acts to show two different ways of being confident,” she explains. “Act I is about the classic confidence we see when somebody has great posture and walks into a room with a twinkle in their smile. After writing all of these tracks with sass and attitude to them, I realized a few of the very confident people I look up to in my life aren’t always the loudest ones in the room. Sometimes, they’re just observing. They’re intelligent and aware of their emotions at the moment—whether positive or negative. Act II shows the vulnerable side of confidence; it’s more open and raw. There’s an interesting range in terms of music and messaging. None of the songs sound alike.”
The diversity remains evidenced by the lead tracks. Throwback R&B production from Oak Felder [Rihanna, Alessia Cara] gives way to soulful delivery on the undeniable “Pushing 20” as she winks, “I’m pushing 20, got no time for others.” Elsewhere, airy clean guitar and strings entwine with breathy delivery on the intimate “Exhale,” which Carpenter says, “lets you in a little deeper to what you might not see on the surface,” and which she initially teased live as a solo performance to close her shows. Its stark sensibility represented what she calls, “pure honesty in the moment.”
A danceable bass line and heavenly keys accompany sweeping vocal runs on the kinetic “In My Bed.” Her voice swings towards the confessional and catchy chant, “I’m still stuck in my bed about it.”
She goes on, “It’s a clever play on words instead of saying, ‘I’m in my head about it’. The song is about one of those moments where life feels like a lot to deal with. We took that and turned it into something really fun and vulnerable.”
Boisterous horns and salsa rhythms punctuate “Looking At Me,” while “Can’t Stop Me” [feat. Saweetie] marks the biggest creative departure by merging hip-hop and pop. Her expansive range captivates as California spitter Saweetie serves up a spunky cameo.
“I love the fact ‘I Can’t Stop Me’ has another really strong female on it,” continues Sabrina. “It adds to the Singular team. It was also really experimental, because even I didn’t expect this sort of collaboration. Vocally and lyrically, I’m at a time in my life where there are no limits or rules.”
This uncompromising and adventurous spirit defines her as an artist as well as an actress, designer, and style icon. She continues to captivate on-screen with a diverse filmography including The Hate U Give, NETFLIX’s Tall Girl, Orange is the New Black, Girl Meets World, The History of the Long Road, and the upcoming Alicia Key dance comedy Work It. Not to mention, the style icon drives an Aéropostale collaboration, designs her own merch, and regularly generates millions of “likes” for her fashion choices. Musically, she earned two gold singles— “Thumbs” and “Why”—supported Ariana Grande, and took the stage at Jingle Ball three consecutive years in a row.
In the end, her own confidence empowers.
“On Act II, I was able to say exactly how I was feeling,” she leaves off. “I hope when people hear it, they can see themselves in the music. This is what I’ve always wanted to say. It’s like when you put on an outfit you love, you walk a little differently and you’re more comfortable with yourself, your body, and your smile. That’s how I want my music to feel.”