In Sabby Sousa’s world, the mean girl is the main character
Once upon a time, in an era far away, high school teen drama villains were teen girls who knew what they wanted. They wore pink, went on shopping sprees to cure their petty problems and did everything in their power to stay in the spotlight. Characters like Cher Horowitz (Clueless), Regina George (Mean Girls) and Tess Tyler (Camp Rock) were all made fun of for being the poster children of how a young girl shouldn’t grow up to be. But the more we realized that all the girls in these movies were victims of patriarchy pitting us against one another, the world discovered a newfound appreciation for such characters. And for singer Sabby Sousa, she’s living and reclaiming that Mean Girl Dream™ with Spoiled!
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Spoiled! comes at a climate where women worldwide continue to embrace hyperfemininity—whether that means adding baby pink ribbons to everything and calling it Coquette or transforming Bimbohood into being unapologetically yourself. However, the project also serves as a breath of fresh air for Sabby Sousa. “I just finished doing a project that was super serious,” she shares in an exclusive with Wonder. “And when I came to Spoiled!, I got inspired just to make something silly and funny. It didn't have much meaning to it—it has a lot of meaning to me, but the lyrics are very surface-level.”
The high-energy hyperpop song is the title track and first taste of a larger EP also entitled Spoiled! With saccharine pink visuals and a load of sass, Sabby Sousa is channeling every 2000s-era mean girl that ever reigned. From the OG Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf to defending Sharpay Evans’s honor, Spoiled! pays homage to the misunderstood gals of our childhood. This comes from the need to make some feel-good music in a post-pandemic era, where everyone focuses more on having fun and not taking things too seriously.
Up ahead, we chat with Sabby Sousa about what makes her forthcoming project worth waiting for.
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Wonder: We’re in love with the overall vibe of Spoiled!. It’s pink, sweet and feminine with a touch of ferocity and grit. Just like all the so-called villains we love from the 2000s—Sharpay Evans, Regina George, maybe even a little of Paris Hilton. Why reference these women in particular?
Sabby Sousa: I feel drawn to these women because, growing up, I always felt—this is going to sound so weird— I was the center of attention. I'm not an only child, but I always wanted all eyes on me. I felt like a lot of the time in the media, movies and TV shows, these girls wanted all eyes on them. But they were always made to feel like they were these absolute mean girls. Most were “mean girls,” but I feel they were so misunderstood. So I wanted to reclaim that aesthetic and put my own sweet twist on it because many of these girls gave me a lot of confidence growing up to be unapologetically sassy and iconic.
W: Let’s talk about the track itself, Spoiled! You mentioned, “it feels like waking up in an early 2000s movie and being the beautiful, spoiled, main character mean girl.” Can you walk us through your thought process while writing it?
SS: In the meantime, I was on a small tour and working with many friends that made a lot of fun hyperpop [songs]. I never saw myself making hyperpop, but I was in that space. Then I wanted to make something, my take on [a song] so easy-going—something you can play at the club or on a night out. It doesn’t need to make as much sense, but it feels good. So I thought, “You know what, let's make something silly.” And I had the word “Spoiled!” written down in my notes for a while because I just love the name. It wasn't until I got a beat back from a producer. When I heard it, I said, “Oh, this would be the title track. This is Spoiled!” And I wrote all these songs in 10 to 20 minutes max because it wasn't something I had to think about.
It was just something I wanted to do for fun and something to show a sillier side of me. Since I grew up with many 2000s influences, I wanted to show that. A lot of girls have done something like the Bimbo projects and things made in a pink world, but I've never seen somebody do Disney Channel Original Movie Music™. So I basically wanted to embody the Disney Channel mean girl on a project. It's my take on something lighthearted but also something close to my heart, such as my Disney influence growing up.
W: So, Spoiled! is just the beginning of an upcoming mixtape that will explore this alter-ego of yours. What 2000s-era scenarios will you tackle in the rest of the songs?
SS: There are a couple. There's a song called Shop ‘Til You Drop, and it reminds me a lot of the movie Hot Chick or even Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and Mean Girls. There are a lot of iconic mall scenes that happen in these very referential movies. There's nothing more iconic than the mean girl having her shopping spree. We're all like, “I want her clothes! I want to look just like her! Where does she get all this money to spend on all these things?” So I made this song to reference the mean girl going shopping.
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W: Spoiled! actually blew up in Southeast Asia. So even if you hail from Canada, you’ve reached many people outside your area. How do you feel about it?
SS: I feel very happy because I have such a love for Southeast Asia. Growing up, I was surrounded a lot by Asian influences, and it just feels like home—my second home. I don't have Asian blood, but I just feel so welcomed by the Asian community, and I cannot thank everybody enough. I just want to go there and give everybody a big hug, so it truly means the world to me.
W: Many pop princesses like Britney Spears, Fergie and Miley Cyrus have come before us. So what do you want Sabby Sousa, the next Pop Princess, to be known for?
SS: I want to be known as The Floss Pop Princess. I coined the term floss pop, which I made for myself back in 2016 when I was just making music for the first time. It was when I was submitting to blogs, putting [my songs] in anything like playlists and just looking for outlets to put my music out there. There would always be a blurb where they ask, “How do you describe your music?” or “What genre are you?” And I didn’t know. I'm a mix of all these elements, so I created floss pop, and I've been going strong with it ever since. If I can help put a genre I created on the map and then be the coined pop star of it, it would truly make my life.
W: Can you expound on what floss pop is?
SS: Floss pop is bubblegum-y, cute realness. Imagine everything sugary, sweet and glittery about music. But then add a little R&B, a little grit to it. Add things that remind you of the 2000s, like Destiny's Child and Fergie—all 2000s girls with a little bubblegum pop. I take the word “flossy” as I owe it to many black influences in the early 2000s. They were the ones who put the word flossy, the floss style of music in the 2000s, so I have to give them credit for “floss.” But then I always thought of floss, it was teeth floss— squeaky clean and super cute! So I put together these genres to create a new one wrapped around with sweetness, sassiness and 2000s goodness. Hopefully, my music can embody that.
W: This March is International Women’s Month, and Wonder takes time to celebrate the Nasty Woman. What does this term mean to you?
SS: She's confident and fearless. One thing about a nasty woman is that no matter what's thrown at her, she will always rise above. That's something that I really love about women in general. We will always stand our ground, and I hope that reclaiming this word the saying is empowering for all women. Because the word “nasty” shouldn't be seen as gross–it's kind of cool, it's kind of grungy. We need nasty pop!
@sabbysousa it’s rough out here #rarebeautyblush #shopping #pinkaesthetic #girly #popmusic ♬ original sound – ٴٴٴٴٴٴٴٴٴٴ
Sabby Sousa’s Spoiled! is slated to drop by June of this year, but she has a lot more projects up her sleeve. Until then, you’ll find her enjoying her best pink life, doing Sanrio hauls and making music we all can get down to.
Special Thanks Beat This Philippines
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver