Meet Maverick Sabre – Abbey Road’s Songwriting Masterclass

As part of the ongoing partnership between Abbey Road Studios and BBC Music Introducing, we are delighted to be returning to Tobacco Dock with the Abbey Road Production Hub at this year's BBC Music Introducing Live. Returning with our world-class recording and mastering engineers, we will also be leading a discussion on the art of songwriting, sharing invaluable advice and insights for the next generation of musical talent. The panel will be moderated by Abbey Road's Jack Lintorn who will be joined by Maverick Sabre, Grime artist Novelist and British songwriter Rachel Furner. The audience will also have the opportunity to ask the panel their questions.

Over the past two weeks we introduced you to our panellists; multi-platinum selling British songwriter Rachel Furner and Mercury-Prize nominee Grime artist Novelist. Our final panelist for Abbey Road Studios’ Songwriting Masterclass at BBC Music Introducing Live is English-Irish singer, songwriter, and rapper Maverick Sabre.

About Maverick Sabre

In the front room of his top floor flat in North London, Maverick Sabre (aka Michael Stafford) sits at his laptop, flicking through the clips of movies, music videos and short films that have inspired his new record. There’s a full length keyboard on the floor, a mic stand set up in the corner, a fretless bass leaning against his stereo, two copies of the same Noam Chomsky book, and on the sofa by his side is a Aria jazz guitar that most of his new music was written on. Mav is a visual person. All the music he makes must have a visual reference, even if it’s just a 30 second clip of an ocean’s surface shimmering under sunlight. He draws sentiment and atmosphere from things he sees and the world around him, and then tries to turn them into pieces of music. For this specific record, he’s drawn inspiration as varied as the '90s French social realism of La Haine to the hip-hop cinematography of Kahlil Joseph. And around 90% of the music was written in this very flat, on this very sofa, as the clouds passed and the faint British sunshine gleamed through two massive French windows.
It’s been seven years since he first arrived on the UK scene as a fresh-faced Irish (but London born) rapper with a brassy singing voice. Championed by Plan B, his music drew a line between the Irish, American and UK rap scenes he grew up on and the timeless blues and trad Irish music of his family’s heritage. His debut album, Lonely Are The Brave, was a roaring success. Arriving at #2 on the UK album charts and going on to sell over 250,000 copies, it was the pure and unapologetic sound of young man seething with thoughts. His follow up, Innerstanding, was a mature and exploratory collection of songs that tried to capture a dark period in his life in which it felt like everything around him was in a state of flux. He followed it with a tour around the world in which he stripped it all back to just him and either a guitar or DJ. This year he has released his third album When I Wake Up, where he poignantly lends his soulful voice to a record that tells untold stories of the world around him.

Mav was born to Irish parents in East London, but grew up in a small town of around 8000 people called New Ross in County Wexford, Ireland. His dad was a musician, and there was always blues, soul and traditional Irish music playing in the house. As a wide eyed kid, he would often be taken along to band rehearsals. He learned guitar at the age of eight, but things changed when he found Tupac in his early teens. He taught himself to MC and spent his adolescent years relentlessly gigging on the Irish hip-hop scene. One night in Dublin, he supported Plan B, who gave him some stirring words of advice. Mav listened; at the age of 17 he dropped everything, moved to London (where he lived off his Aunt’s sofa) and pushed music as far as it could go. By 20, he was performing live on Chris Moyles’ BBC Radio One show to over three million people.
As well as the Abbey Road sessions, ticket holders will have access to over 30 different industry seminars, Q&As, performances, and the chance to get your music heard in the BBC AR Feedback Centre. Find out more about the event.