Although the Caribbean's main island of musical export is Jamaica (Bob Marley and his children, Sean Paul, Beenie Man), newcomer Angelique Sabrina brings light to another sea-dwelling hot spot, the Bahamas.
"Being from the Bahamas, in particular, there's not many artists who are coming out making it on an international level," Angelique tells BET.com. "I think that's one thing that really helps me to stand out."
The sun-kissed elephant in the room, however, remains the blatant comparison in artistic narrative that she has to now international pop sensation Rihanna, who became a breakthrough star in the U.S. after signing with Jay Z's Roc Nation, placing the spotlight on her homeland, Barbados.
But don't expect this 16-year-old to take offense.
"Honestly, I'm extremely honored [at the comparison] because I understand that when they do it, it's easier for people to imagine the kind of artist that they need to be expecting initially," she says. "Especially the whole island thing."
Taking much pride in her Bahamian roots, the teenage musical prodigy believes that her commitment to her individual sound, which she uniquely describes as "island club R&B," will ultimately set her apart from the Bajan bad gal.
"I think the more music I release, and the longer I'm doing what I do, people will start to see the difference," she says. "[Rih Rih's] a strong woman who came from the islands and is opening the door for a lot of girls like me who are trying to do something that's similar."
It helps that Angelique's father is known as one of the most successful producers in the Caribbean. "My father's a producer locally," she explains. "He was producing a lot of big local talents. One group named Baha Men, then he worked with some American Idol contestants as well, here in the Bahamas. So, I would sort of come to the studio to chill after school or do my homework, and I think that growing up around it had a really big effect on my love for it."
She credits her island's indigenous music style as a major determinant of her journey.
"We have a very rich folk music that we call 'rake-n-scrape,'" she explains. "Growing up listening to that, it's something that's in my DNA; I can't run from it."
Running from anything seems to be the antithesis of Angelique's plan, as she continues to prove to be a force of both modern-day innocence and musical ease. She also credits a few other international stars with a similar artistic aesthetic.
"I love Michael Jackson. I'm obsessed with him," she said. "I also love Sade a lot because I feel as though she could really do anything and she will always have her fan base, and lastly, I'd have to say that I love Frank Sinatra. I just love listening to his music when I'm alone and chilling … He has an amazing story."
Angelique's latest single "I'm Ready" already has captured the attention of several U.S. media outlets, ranging from On Air with Ryan Seacrest to MTV. "The age that I'm at right now is a really good one to speak my mind," she asserts, "and I have a lot to say."
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(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Staples)
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