If the weekly ritual of going out has changed for you since the pandemic — you’re not alone. What once felt freeing and blissfully liberating can now sometimes leave you feeling anxious, claustrophobic and too deep in your own head, as it does on NYC-based musician Sabrina Song’s lovely new song “Good Night,” inspired by her own cautious ventures into going out again in the vastly changed city.
Premiering on NYLON below, “Good Night,”the delicate electronic-pop track is all about feeling too “in your head” while out with your friends, Song writes in an email. And like all good art, it was written, produced, and performed by Song entirely in the span of one late-night sesh. Lightly chaotic production — stuttering drums, blinking keys, and handclaps — simulates the feeling of sensory and emotional overload, as she wishes softly, “I just want a good night.”
Earlier this year, Song was selected as a finalist for NPR’s annual Tiny Desk Contes, with Phoebe Bridgers even tapping her video submission as one of her “Top Shelf” picks. In it, Song performs her song “Thaw” at a kiddie desk with her friends.
Listen to “Good Night” below and read on to learn more about Song.
What are you up to right now — describe your surroundings.
I’m on my laptop laying on my bed, editing my Bandcamp profile and preparing for an upcoming show. I didn’t used to care much about making my room feel welcoming until I spent so much time here during Covid. I have my grandpa’s artwork framed on the walls, my full size keyboard in the corner, and a new pair of loafers next to my bed that I need to break in.
How did you start making music?
I started writing songs when I was about 16, but it was more of an experiment than a hobby. I overthought everything –– I could barely bring myself to finish a song. Learning how to produce in college was the biggest turning point for me, which is when I realized there's really no right or wrong way to do anything. I felt like I could finally execute what I had always been hearing in my head, and making music became equal parts songwriting and production for me. It feels really special to be the sole credit on each of my songs –– They’re like snapshots of my brain in different periods of my life.
How did "Good Night" come together?
I almost always start songs with lyrics, but I decided to just start producing one night and see what came of it a few months back. I ended up producing the track and writing over it in about three hours. There’s really nothing better than feeling like everything in a song is falling into place right in front of me, and just trying to have my hands keep up to get it all down.
I had been feeling equally nervous and excited to start going out again around that time, so I tried to capture the feeling of being really in your head during a night out. It's like sensory and emotional overload.
Congrats on being a finalist for NPR's Tiny Desk, and for that Phoebe Bridgers shout out! What inspired you to enter?
Thank you! I just love the intimacy of the Tiny Desk series. I love hearing the bare bones arrangements of each artist’s songs, seeing what they choose for their set list, everything. Putting my performance together for the contest was already such a joy to do — it was the first time I was able to perform with my friends in the same room in over a year. It was just icing on the cake to be featured at all.
Besides making music, what else do you like to do in your free time?
Citi-biking, watching music videos with my friends, eating something from a bakery, facetiming my sisters, seeing my friends perform, and filling up my free time with plans :)
Have you gone to any live shows yet? If so, what's a great one you've seen recently?
I’ve been slowly easing back into it — The best one I’ve seen recently was my friend Harry Teardrop at Mercury Lounge.