During last night’s MTV Video Music Awards Pre-Show, a new artist named Sabi performed alongside Uruguayan Cobra Starship lead vocalist, Gabe Saporta on his hit song, “You Make Me Feel.” The sexy singer—who kicked off the performance by riding down an escalator in a white blazer, a red belly shirt, silver pants and hoop earrings, is being billed as Britney Spears’ protégé—and guess what? She's Latina!
Sabi (Whose real name is Jenice Sab-bion Portlock), is the daughter of a Salvadorian mother and African American father, and she speaks Spanish. In 2009, she got her start as one-half of The Bangz, an L.A. based girl-rap duo that was signed to VNR/Asylum Records/Warner Bros. The Bangz released two singles with the label, but the group, which featured Sabi and another member named Korttney Ann Elliot (a.k.a. ElleAnn), was quickly dissolved when ElleAnn was severely injured by a stray bullet in September of 2009. Shortly after that, execs at Warner Bros asked Sabi to continue with the label as a solo artist.
Since then, the singer has toured with Britney Spears and collaborated with Britney on her track “(Drop Dead) Beautiful” from her album, “Femme Fatale.” She was also the opening act on Brit's "Femme Fatale" tour. “I grew up watching Britney’s videos,” says Sabi, an Inglewood, California native who was addicted to MTV music videos as a child. “It’s crazy to want to be a part of the music industry my entire life and then get the opportunity to be featured on a record by one of my idols," she said.
With Britney as her mentor, Sabi is already in the studio working on her debut album with Warner Bros. Records. "This is my first album so it's nerve-racking," she recently told MTV news. "It's exciting. We're still working on it and I can't wait to get it finished and share it with everyone. So we're just still in the process, the grinding process of getting stuff out."
As of now, the album is set for a 2012 release date. Sabi says the album will incorporate her favorite styles of music, including pop, alternative rock, and urban music. “I’m a pop artist, but I want to bring some rawness and urban swagger to the table,” Sabi says. “I’m really inspired by artists like Lauryn Hill, Bat For Lashes, Florence and the Machine, and Lykke Li. They are strong women with a unique point of view who have something substantial to say," said Sabi, adding that she wants to challenge the status-quo with her music. "I don’t want to make cookie-cutter music. I’m looking forward to everyone hearing what I can do.”
Sabi says she wants to make sure that when her music comes out, people know who she is. "I kind of wanted to get out there and a do a little bit of the footwork and introduce myself slowly instead of 'I'm here!' " she said. "And now, when I'm ready for a single that's like 'I'm here,' people aren't like, 'Who?' That's what I'm hoping." After last night's sexy VMA Pre-Show performance (which you can watch below), something tells us people will know who she is!