Darby Sabin finds her voice

5 mins read
Darby Sabin and her new puppy, Jerry, at her late father’s apple orchard.

WILTON – It’s been six years since Darby Sabin was last interviewed by the Daily Bulldog. The Wilton singer/songewriter has since lived the “gig life,” attended college, and come full circle back to Wilton where her career is taking hold.

The article ended on a hopeful cliffhanger as Sabin prepared to audition again in Philadelphia. She traveled with her father, Paul Sabin, camping out in a rented Chevy Suburban, living out her 16-year-old dream life. Now, Sabin reflects on that time as a young person’s desire for “instant gratification.”

“I live, sleep, breathe, and eat music, and I didn’t know how exhausting it would be all of the time. I’ve romanticized everything in my life so much that it has been hard to enjoy anything, and it still is. It’s a combination of romanticizing, and never being satisfied with what I’ve done,” she said.

Sabin now creates music described as “folk, soul, and bluesy rock n’ roll” from her home in Wilton. She recently graduated from Berklee College of Music, having lived in Boston for most of her college career, playing “nineteen dollar gigs”, and studying under highly influential music professors. She initially studied at Suffolk University as an affordable option to complete her Gen Eds before moving on to Berklee. While at Suffolk, she didn’t formally gig much, primarily playing on the University’s radio station, and busking on the streets of Boston. She maintained her passion for her artistry, but was unable to focus it, just yet.

In her final years at Berklee, Sabin would return to the Wilton/Farmington area periodically to visit her father, work, and perform at Maine gigs. However, in the summer of 2021, Darby’s return became a more permanent one due to unforeseen circumstances. Her father, Paul, passed away unexpectedly while on a camping trip in June, and left his home in her name.

“Sometimes he rings his windchime…I wrote a lot of songs about him dying right after he died, I still sometimes do. I see signs and feel like I have my way of communicating with him still, I hear him in my head all of the time. He’s definitely around, and I like to think he’s in a more peaceful place. He doesn’t have to work so hard to maintain hope anymore,” Sabin said.

Sabin said the experience of musicianship would be massively different if she had not attended Berklee. It was there that she learned discipline, rigor, and self advocation, which led her to realize that the key to success as a musician is embracing the struggle, the work, practicing often, writing often, focusing on oneself, and enjoying one’s life experiences with attention. She has a new philosophy towards life of “collecting moments” and describes her artist experience as a “cycle of hope” punctuated by moments of hopelessness.

Her passion has taken her all around, from Wilton to Chicago, to Philadelphia, to Spain, to Nashville most recently, and she doesn’t see her travels ending any time soon. She has begun to network with local musicians, as well as greats such as George Porter Jr. of The Meters and Jon Fishman of Phish.

In March of 2022, she performed a sold out concert with fellow New England singer/songwriter Liz Bills at Sun Tiki Studios, and was accompanied by her new band, as well as her longtime collaborator Danny Circharo. She plans to release her first EP this July, featuring songs recorded in Nashville, as well as in Berklee’s studio.

Sabin said she unwaveringly creates music for her dad, herself, the music itself, and the kids. She currently enjoys writing and performing songs with her Farmington band, teaching kids how to play guitar, creating tirelessly and attentively experiencing life’s joys.

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