Growing up in Boston, Massachusetts — a short train ride from Salem and its history of witchcraft — has had a profound impact on Sabrina Kennedy from a young age. Childhood trips to the location of the witch trials discussed in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible exposed Sabrina to a past world of alternative spirituality and religion. Her anger for the women who were murdered for their inner power, her connection to nature, and her love for tarot cards all seeped into her soul and have defined her music ever since.
Now living in London, Sabrina has released the first single off her debut EP, Wheel Of The Year. Titled “Puritan”, the song sets the stage for the four-track project. A powerful display of pure unapologetic individuality, Sabrina rejects the pressure of conformity and comes into her own — her own sound, her own voice, her own identity. With a voice as strong as her message, “Puritan” showcases Sabrina’s song-writing skills and vocal range. Each track evokes a solstice, and this track is the spring equinox: a rebirth and a new chapter for the refreshingly honest, soulful, and powerful artist.
“This song is an anthem and answer to my ancestors’ prayers,” Kennedy says. “It is honouring those that came before me who were burnt at the stake and crucified for being powerful and different. It is the sacred rage that has been under the surface for centuries. It is about rising from the ashes and using that power for radical change.”
We talk to Kennedy about her connection to spirituality and witchcraft, stepping into her power, and releasing a new era of music.
You can stay up to date with Sabrina Kennedy here and buy tickets to her show here.
Stream “Puritan” now…
And now for the interview…
Who and what influences you to create?
I create from my soul and from my experiences. My spirituality and connection with my inside and outside world is what guides me to magic. I would say most of my music is created from painful experiences, a few broken hearts, and beauty. I admire many artists from both today and further back, both for their sound and their attitude. In the present I love Halsey, Miley, Post Malone, Alicia Keys and Sam Fender. But deep inspiration comes from great women like Janis, Patti Smith, Etta James, Stevie Nicks and Billie Holiday.
How did you first discover your talent for music?
I started singing from the age of three and then my father would take me to the bar and sit me on the piano to sing. It came naturally, there was a force within knowing that it was what my soul wanted. At that age we were less conditioned by society to diminish our dreams. I am fortunate that I never let my dreams or light be dimmed by outside forces.
What is it about creating that drives you to continue writing?
I’m always evolving and changing based on my experiences. We’re here to live this magical life so why wouldn’t I want to create? Creating is my life force. No matter who we are, we all need to be creating. My writing is a part of who I am and that needs to constantly be nurtured.
Your style is very distinctive, how did you find it?
I always felt different growing up. I was very in tune and empathic at a young age. With the influences of rock n roll, country, pop and spirituality I decided to emerge as who I wanted to be. You can call that a witch, a priestess or a medicine woman. My style is a woman in her power owning who she is.
How would you define the essence of your sound?
The essence of my sound is from my soul. Whatever is living in my soul at that time is what I create.
Talk us through the impact of witchcraft on your music?
Growing up catholic I always had a connection to source and I was always in tune. It wasn’t long before my trips to Salem, Massachusetts, where the witches were burnt, sparked something in my soul. I have always felt connected to the earth and the energies around me. It’s in my blood, and there was a calling to explore who I truly am. I still go into church without spontaneously burning! I still chant everyday. My spirituality isn’t conducive to one sector. I firmly believe we all have a source within us and that looks different for everyone.
The short film that followed your life, Sabrina Kennedy Witch, Reborn, seems really interesting. Could you explain to us how that came about and what has come of it?
Witch, Reborn has changed my life. In the corner of England resides a town called Glastonbury filled with healers, priestesses, warlocks, and hippies. It is known as the heart chakra of the world and for some reason my heart was called there. I was asked by the producer to document my life there and it was the first time I truly stepped into my power of who I want to be and for the world to see. This little short film is set for big things and I am excited to see where it goes, already having won multiple festivals across the world. I suppose when you are true to you that energy speaks for itself and is inspiring. I was terrified to film this in fear of what people would say. It has been so well received and I am so glad I spoke my truth.
Talk us through the creative process of the new single “Puritan”?
I remember sitting in the studio with my producers afraid to tell a group of men how I was feeling. I was angry. I was angry for constantly feeling like I couldn’t be myself. I was angry for hiding my magic and the sacred rage I was feeling for my ancestors. “Puritan” was born from the depths of that sacred rage. Everything changed that day in the studio because I decided: no more hiding. I will not sacrifice who I am at the expense of others and their belief of who I should be. This song in its essence freed me.
What are you portraying with the track?
“Puritan” is an anthem for my ancestors, witches who were burnt for being who they were. I am channeling their sacred rage. Growing up near Salem, the idea of destroying women for being “too much” took root in my mind. I am portraying the parts of myself that I thought were unworthy or too much for the world. This track has allowed me to embrace who I am and not apologize for it. I used to walk into rooms and want to be small and hidden. This track is my liberation to take up space and be unapologetic. I shot a video for “Puritan” on a beach near Newcastle. I discovered there were witch trials locally in 1650, 40 years before Salem! So it was the perfect location to conjure the ancestors.
What can we expect from your upcoming debut EP, Wheel Of The Year?
The Wheel of the Year is the Wiccan calendar that existed before the Roman one we use now. So it’s reaching back again to the world before the one we’ve conformed to. I’ve used it to make my own wheel of the year, a journey through the seasons of my life, the different seasons that have shaped who I am. I call this the introduction to the magic, mayhem and power sprinkled with a bit of tragedy and beauty.
How are you feeling about the project’s release?
I’m glad to get this music out there. I have waited for this since I was a little girl and with putting out any piece of art the world’s judgement awaits. The first single, “Magic & Mayhem”, is doing well, it’s on some big playlists. I can honestly say this is who I am and little Sabrina would be proud for not giving up, for remaining in her power and truth.
Where do you want to take your artistry?
I want to take my artistry in the direction my soul wants. I am so inspired by rock n roll, country and soul. I believe this is just an introduction to the versatility I am going to bring into the world as an artist. I also want to show people they can be exactly who they are without fear or judgement: to own their power and stand in their truth.
What’s to come from you this year after the EP?
I have more tracks up my sleeve, some very defiant, some heartbreaking. I’m playing a headline show at The Grace in London on May 25, then more shows over the summer. It’s world domination as I am rising from the ashes.