Hanna Meets Sabrina Carpenter
It’s a rainy day in May. A typical, British, rainy day. I was bouncing off the walls though. No amount of dullness was about to dim my sparkle. Not today. Why, you ask? I had been invited to meet Sabrina Carpenter backstage, whilst she was stopping off at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham as part of her tour with The Vamps. Alongside supporting the group, she was also on her own EVOLution World Tour, for which she was headlining dates across Europe. She’s basically on two tours at once!
Sabrina is known for playing the role of Maya Hart on Disney Channel’s hit show, ‘Girl Meets World’, the spin-off to 90’s show ‘Boy Meets World’. I’ve been a fan since the revival aired in 2014. Sabrina is also signed to Hollywood Records, having released two albums, ‘Eyes Wide Open’ and ‘EVOLution’.
With my iPad on my lap, and my bag on the seat beside me, I stared out of the window of the car, my copy of EVOLution playing along. Watching the rain fall outside, still not quite being able to process the fact that I was going to meet Sabrina Carpenter, and only down the road in Nottingham! After around half an hour of driving, we reached the arena. It was almost as if the rain was falling like confetti to celebrate what was about to happen, like it knew how much today meant to me.
I sheltered my head with my brother’s jacket, to protect my hair from the danger of encountering the rain. I couldn’t meet Sabrina looking like a Furby now, could I?
It took a while for the staff to direct me in the right place. It was 4pm when we arrived and we were waiting at stage doors in the fierce rain, waiting for Sabrina’s tour manager to welcome us in. He arrived soon after, and the gates opened. My three-year dream to meet my inspiration was almost about to come true.
Walking through the auditorium, I saw Sabrina’s name on a sheet on a door and before I knew it, I was being guided through a corridor backstage. I was shown into a little room with a table and a few chairs and was left to wait for Sabrina to come in and meet me. I set the table up with my Seventeen Prom magazine, which Sabrina recently graced the cover of, and my copies of her two albums.
I was so nervous: between you and me I was secretly practicing what I was going to say to her. I noticed Caleb (Sab’s guitar player) walking down the hall and as we waited I could hear her talking from the room next door, I could hardly contain myself. It felt like just a second went by when I turned to see Sabrina standing there in front of me, and I was star struck. The moment I’d been waiting for had arrived. She was wearing a gorgeous vintage sweater. First thing she had done that morning? “I went to a vintage store and bought this sweater! I love vintage stores”. she said.
Before getting into the questions I had for her, she commented on her “love” for my Sabrina iPhone case as we sat down * shocked face emoji *. Then it was time to begin discussing the tour.
Me: How does it feel being here?
Sabrina: It’s been one of the best experiences of my life so far, because I haven’t really been able to tour for a longer period of time outside of the U.S. and you guys have been so kind to me! I love the fact that I can learn more about where you guys come from is a really amazing thing for me.
Me: So you’ve been here for a few weeks now…
Sabrina: Yeah! I’d only been to London once before, which is where I shot the ‘On Purpose’ music video, but since then I haven’t…
Me: We love that video, by the way!
Sabrina: Thank you! I think the coolest thing about it for me was that I hadn’t really been to the UK before and hadn’t had the chance to meet any UK fans. When I released that video they could almost feel like, you know, you guys could feel a part of it. It was a really special thing for me. It was probably my favourite video so far.
Me: The video was personal too…
Sabrina: It was, and literally how we filmed it was with one camera guy and me running around with my mum.
Me: …and in the back of a cab!
Sabrina: Yeah! The back of a cab all day – it was as casual as it looked. I dressed myself and did my own hair and make up, and it was fun! It was just kinda like a day in the life.
Me: What has been the highlight of your trip to the UK?
Sabrina: That’s a really hard question…I’ve had a lot of highlights. I’ve been getting to explore with the most incredible people. The crew on this tour is so fun and they’re amazing, and my crew that’s traveled with me, we have a lot of fun. We’ve gotten to explore a little bit. [The tour] has been all around the UK and Ireland…we got to go on a hike in Dublin – that was beautiful. And then we got to explore a little bit in Glasgow, when I was there for a show [headlining her own show as part of the EVOLution tour]. In London, we obviously got to explore a little bit which was really fun, because my sister [Sarah] hadn’t seen half of the things that I got to see the first time I came, like Baker Street and Abbey Road, and all that good stuff.
Me: I’ve seen videos of you performing, all over my social media! What would you say is your favourite song to perform?
Sabrina: On this tour, ‘Thumbs’ has been really fun. Because of the fact that it is one of the ones that seems to be familiar to people. They get really involved and it’s cool because I think my job is to get the crowd excited and that’s just a kind of song that hold a lot of energy. People like to jump and go crazy. It’s really fun to perform.
Me: I can’t wait to see that tonight!
Sabrina: Aww, thank you!
Me: We love the video for that as well. How it’s shot is amazing!
Sabrina: Thank you so much!
Me: The set of the video, is this the same one used for scenes in Girl Meets World?
Sabrina: (smiles) No, it’s so funny because they make…I don’t even know how many subway cars they have in Hollywood, but there’s hundreds and they all look very, very similar depending on the decorations they put on it. But, no, we filmed that in a basement of a studio in LA, so not even New York. I know…the illusion is shattered now!
Me: Being here in the UK means you’ve played the UK’s biggest arenas, like the O2!
Sabrina: You know, it’s funny, people that didn’t know me before I performed the other night were like “is this your first time performing in London?” I was like “yeah! I guess!” The O2 is a pretty good venue to start off in. It was legendary, and beautiful! I was just skateboarding all day. The boys in New Hope Club [another one of The Vamps’ supporting acts] got me a penny board for my birthday, so I’ve been practicing, giving people heart attacks all over the stadium! It was one of the best shows so far.
Me: Yeah, I saw that on your Instagram! That was quite cool! I’ve seen Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus at the O2 and I hope the next show we see there is going to be your headline tour, Sabrina!
Sabrina: Thank you so much! Thank you, guys.
Me: Going back to your first album, ‘Eyes Wide Open’ [at this point Sabrina widely opens her eyes!], there’s quite a few references to faith. A lot of your Carpenters [that’s what we Sabs fans are called] would like to know, what does faith mean to you?
Sabrina: Faith, I think so much of it is what you believe in strongly. I think it’s very personal to what you believe in, how you were raised. My family was raised in a lot of different ways. I’ve always had a faith. So that song [‘Eyes Wide Open’] was able to connect with me in a way that was also able to connect with my family. Which is why that line talks about my grandfather, it’s very special to me. That was a song on my first album that I didn’t write. But when I first heard the song it was like when you hear something and you didn’t write it but it almost sounds like you did, it feels like you did. It feels like it came from yourself. The first line was “everybody loves to tell me I was born an old soul”. I was like six years old and I would be like “yeah, I’m an old soul! I don’t know what that is!” but everyone told me that. When you’re a kid and you hear something that’s a bit, you know…I guess more mature, you hold on to it because you wanna be able to know those things. I always held onto that. Then later on, when I heard that song it was very special to me. I hope that people carry that and I hope that song inspires them.
Me: We talked about you graduating, how does that feel?
Sabrina: It’s funny, I guess I casually mentioned it the other day because I totally forgot. My teacher – well here’s the thing *don’t tell anybody* but I graduated early and I wasn’t supposed to tell anybody; I was supposed to graduate on time with everybody else but I wanted to get it done before I left because I thought it would be easier without having to do both [exams and the tours], so, I finished all my work on time. I worked really hard and finished early. So my teacher said I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody until everyone else graduates, so that’s why I didn’t tell anybody.
Me: That was a huge milestone in your life, and Girl Meets World was also a huge milestone.
Sabrina: Thank you.
Me: How do you feel about it ending?
Sabrina: I think for all of us, we were in a place where most of us on the show – we’re all around the same age, turning 18 or in our late teens and it was a time where we were super lucky that we had three seasons because so much of this industry is kinda like, you live day by day and hope for the best. The fact that we got to do 75 episodes and grow up together for four consecutive years and learn so much from each other, we just had to be grateful, I mean there’s no other way to think about it…or else you’ll get yourself in a very sad place and I think for us we just had to be optimistic about it, there’s so many things coming and we were so lucky we got to start on something that made an impact on peoples’ lives and, hopefully, helps people. We’ve gotten to meet so many people whether they were Boy Meets World fans or Girl Meets World fans or parents of fans of Boy Meets World that got to watch it with their kids – just to know we had any kind of impact on people’s lives, it’s just, you have to be very grateful.
Me: Well, it helped me take on the world.
Sabrina: It did? Well, obviously, because you’re doing pretty well.
Me: Hands (The Vamps, Sabrina Carpenter and Mike Perry) is out!
Sabrina: The next one is gonna be legs, actually it would be shoulders knees then toes.
Me: Yeah, I was going to ask if there’s a pattern going on here, first Thumbs, now Hands.
Sabrina: You know it’s so funny. No, there was no pattern, I thought that Thumbs was such as unique concept because when you hear Thumbs you think, ‘what the heck could that be about?’ So that was such a cool thing and then Hands, when I heard it I wasn’t even thinking about that, to be quite honest, but I just loved the song so now I’m just going to have to physically write an album about anatomy.
Me: Can I just suggest: can we have Mirage as single?
Sabrina: Can you have it? Sure. What if I was just like, “yeah I’ll call up the label.” You’re so sweet. I love that song too. Actually, that was one of my favourites from EVOLution because it just, it felt very different from the rest of them but it also came from a personal situation, where I went into the session like, something had happened to me recently where, I guess people say, like, someone “threw shade”. I don’t like being specific about things that happened to me, I like to make it relatable to everybody so I tried to find and tie in a concept that I thought everyone could relate to which was people being fake, I guess. In the town that I work in, in Hollywood, there’s a lot of masks and there’s a lot of pretending to be people you’re not. So the best way to describe it was it’s all just a Mirage and I liked the title.
Me: I think I completely agree with that.
Sabrina: Thank you.
Me: There’s a line from Smoke and Fire about rumours…
Sabrina: “Rumours spread like wildfire.”
Me: One of the questions I wanted to ask you was, are there any rumours you’d like to clear up?
Sabrina: About myself? For the rest of my life I’m sure I’ll have to. What have you heard about me? Let’s clear it up…
Me: To be honest, I haven’t heard anything.
Sabrina: No dirt?
Me: No, not much…
Sabrina: Not much? Well I guess there is a couple of things but not much (laughs).
Me: I was gonna ask, what’s the weirdest rumour you’ve heard about yourself?
Sabrina: That’s a good question. I think the weirdest thing is actually, it’ll be so funny, like, I’ll post a picture with my hairdresser and everyone will be like “is that your boyfriend?” So I think that’s like the funniest thing, the ridiculous dating rumours. He’s 40 but yes, he’s my husband. But, so, no I’m not dating my 40-year-old hairdresser, just in case you’re wondering.
So, there you have it! My interview with Sabrina Carpenter. She said I was probably “one of the best interviewers” she’s ever had. Well, I can honestly say I have met a lot of people who inspire me and Sabrina is definitely one of the kindest, most down-to-earth people I have ever met.
I had also booked tickets to Sabrina’s meet and greet session which followed and she performed an acoustic version of ‘Mirage’, just for me. Then I saw the show (front row!). It was absolutely amazing and Sabrina smashed it! She rocked hits such as ‘Eyes Wide Open’, ‘Thumbs’ and ‘On Purpose’, as well as some other amazing tracks from EVOLution. You can download the album here.
Words by Hanna Iqbal