Sabrina Carpenter on her unexpected new single Fast Times and upcoming fifth album: "I want to love my life and not waste anymore time"
Sabrina Carpenter has the need for speed on Fast Times, her unexpectedly genre-fluid new single, which kicks off her 2022 with a bang.
The lead-in to her upcoming fifth studio album (and first since signing to Island records in the US and Polydor in the UK), Sabrina hits the high-way on a track inspired by the likes of Fiona Apple and Lana Del Rey, all about throwing caution to the wind and barreling through the prospective stages in a relationship.
Fast Times follows on from a very busy 2021 for Sabrina - at the start of the year the headline-grabbing Skin became her first-ever UK Top 40 chart entry, as well as one of our very favourite singles of the year to boot.
We hopped on Zoom to chat to Sabrina about her new single, working with her songwriting mother and father Julia Michaels and JP Saxe, as well as everything fans can expect from her new album...
Hi Sabrina! A lot of people have been anticipating new music from you - what made Fast Times the ideal follow-up to Skinny Dipping and Skin?
I think it was truly the fact that this song felt a little unexpected. [It] just filled a space where I hadn't heard me making something like that, or really anyone else around me. I really wanted a moment where I could just enjoy life, I couldn't stop writing sad songs! So when I wrote Fast Times, I wanted to jump off a bridge. I wouldn't recommend it, but do you know what I mean? I just want to live. I just want to love my life, and I don't want to waste any more time.
The sonic references you're pulling for the song are really interesting. We can hear, in the beginning at least, a bit of Tidal-era Fiona Apple...
You're actually not the first person to say Fiona Apple, which is really cool. I'm such a huge fan.
It's a real change-up from your previous material too. How did you pivot?
I did make a little transition in the pandemic - I signed to [my new label] Island [Sabrina is signed to Polydor in the UK]. And there was no question that I wanted to make music inspired by the stuff I grew up listening to; which is basically all organic instruments. Like, I love the new Silk Sonic album because it reminds me so much of that.
I'm really lucky that I have the creative freedom and control to be able to [pivot sound-wise]. I always want to experiment. I follow the sounds that excite me.
Speaking of excitement, we really need to talk about Fast Times' transition! Where suddenly the champer-pop stuff kind of stops and you bring post-disco violins and an electric guitar (!)
John Ryan [who has worked with One Direction and Charlie Puth] produced the shit out of this song. It really drives you to keep listening and then it just explodes. The bass line in that song is outrageous. When the guitar comes in, it feels huge. We just had so much fun with it.
You co-wrote this song with Julia Michaels and JP Saxe, who also wrote Skinny Dipping too. It seems you've found a real partnership there.
Ugh, my mom and dad. My parents. I couldn't have asked for a team I feel safer with. Being in a room with people that emotionally intelligent is like...woah. We could have just written continuously. The funny thing is, Skinny Dipping initially started out a lyric we wrote for Fast Times but thought it deserved a song of its own.
I'm just the biggest of them both - separately and together. So anytime you're able to capture an emotion so well in a song, you can just sleep well at night.
We assume this means you've been working with them for the album then...
I have! And a few others...I'm just excited. I'm so excited. It feels like it's been so long talking about music and talking about it is the worst. You want to listen to it. You just want people to feel it.
And speaking of the album! What have you been listening to for it?
A lot of Carole King, interestingly. A lot of Carly Simon and weirdly a lot of Queen? Those are some great, great records. Joni Mitchell was also a big one. Obviously. I couldn't stop listening to those when writing this album.
Fast Times is out now via Polydor.