Sabela Bee deals with personal grief in lofi dream-pop single ‘Phantom’

The Sabela Bee project is the product of the awkward, suburban teenagehood of Maria Coraza in Houston, Texas, in which she escaped into surfer pop-rock and early ’00s girl band jams. The sounds of The Cranberries, Liz Phair, Jay Som, Weezer became the soundtrack Coraza’s coming-of-age era and it was later when she became friends with drummer Michael Galvez at an open mic that the first inkling of Sabela Bee came around.

Now, the talented young musician is busy creating a sonic world for younger versions of herself, as listeners will have already heard in ‘Suburban Summers’. Following up on that debut, SB has released ‘Phantom’, an eerie dream-pop track about dealing with grief, loss, and loneliness. In addition to a signature lofi guitar and skillful percussion, mournful tones are drawn out in a moody bass and lingering cello, while dusky vocals express such a wealth of pained experience that reaches into the heart of the listener.

Speaking about the songwriting process behind ‘Phantom’, Coraza shares:

“When writing this song, I reflected on the aftermath of losing someone. The emotions we feel: melancholy and longing. When we lose someone, it feels unfair. We replay memories and visit places where we associate that person. It can be a fix for the moment, but eventually, we realize they are not here anymore. This song is how I painted that emotion. But grief does not always have to end in despair. We have the joy of experiencing that person’s presence. The ones who have passed will continue to live on through the hearts and minds of the people they’ve encountered.”

As the song progresses, the emphasis on melancholy drops away in favour of punchier drums, more energetic strings and an almost-joyous “ooh-aah”. The pain is still present, but it’s become smaller and more manageable. The way in which Sabela Bee has dealt with grief here so tenderly is testament to her maturity, emotional intelligence and songwriting ability.

Find ‘Phantom‘ is our much-loved Outsiders Club playlist.

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