Following on from the release of his 3rd album, When I Wake Up, storyteller, singer, songwriter and social commentator Maverick Sabre will play 7 dates across the UK this autumn including Cardiff’s Tramshed on November 15.
The new album independently released and featuring stand-out collaborations from long term collaborator and friend Jorja Smith and Grammy nominated star Chronixx – is the Irish artist at his finest; a raw statement of intent that explores themes around love, hope, war, faith, society and emotion.
Andy Howells recently put questions to Mav aka Michael Stafford about the album and touring.
Where are you from and do you recall what triggered your interest in music?
I was born In Hackney, London and raised from the age of 4 in New Ross, Co Wexford in Ireland. I was raised around music. My Dad has always been a musician so live music was around me a lot as a child.
Who or what inspired you to get into music as a performer?
My Dad. Growing up going to his performances and watching him sit and write and rehearse and see his passion made me fall in love with music even more. That inspired me to start writing and performing from a young age.
Where does the name Maverick Sabre originate?
I started up a myspace page when i was 15. My initials are M.S. I didn’t have an artist name at that stage, so I looked for 2 words that suited me and the music I was creating. Maverick – someone who thinks outside the box. Sabre – Someone who puts on a hardened front to get through hard times.
You’ve collaborated with many artists over the years including Chase and Status and Plan B, do you think collaborations are an important part of an artist’s growth in today’s music industry?
Collaborations have and always will be an essential part to an artist’s career and growth…surround yourself with musicians that you love and inspire you…that can only be beneficial to your learning. Push your boundaries and the magic you can make in that space can be amazing.
You’ve got a new album out, When I Wake Up – can you tell us a bit about that?
‘When I Wake Up’ is probably the freest body of work I’ve ever put out. A lot of it came from ideas from my living room. Getting back into producing, I started to experiment with a lot of sounds and feels that I had never delved into before. I had a rough layout in my head of what I wanted to speak about both internally and in the world, I see around me and it all came together over time. It’s my favourite album to date!
It’s also your third album, how different are you as an artist compared to your album debut in 2012?
Different in many ways as I have a grown as a person, learnt a lot about myself and music and how to get the purest feeling and emotion out through my songs. But also, I am very similar. I’m still bull-headed about what I like and the way it should hit you when you listen. I don’t hold back on anything; I talk about in my tunes whether it be deep parts of my own life or problems I see in the society we live in.
You’re also out on tour, do you enjoy touring and getting an audience reaction?
Touring is the life source. there’s nothing in the world that makes me feel more connected. both to myself, my songs and the people in the crowd. When’s its right everything is one. It’s the opportunity to bring the emotions in the music to life and get rid of the bollocks of any false separation between the artist and anyone listening. We are in it together and nothing can better that connection from a live show in my opinion.
What can people expect from your forthcoming show in Cardiff?
As much as we can fit in from my 3 albums and collaborations over the years…just a great night of music. My aim with every show is for people to come away from it feeling uplifted. If I can do that then my job is complete.
Which track do you feel best defines you as an artist now?
I think something like ‘Drifting’ from my new album because it’s the most different style I’ve ever put out under my own name. it was about not caring too much and going back to completely putting out tunes (however different from my normal sound) because I loved them from the purest place. and that’s what I’ve done from the start of my career till now.
When you’re not creating music yourself who do you like to listen to?
There’s some great new music out at the minute. GreenTea Peng, Olivia Dean, Bishop Nehru, Skripteh (from my hometown in Ireland) and then all the classic foundation of Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, Bob Dylan.