Is Sage Charmaine even her real name?
Sage Charmaine started writing songs as early as seven years old, and appeared alongside Ariana Grande and Victoria Justice when she was just nine years old on Nickelodeon’s series “Victorious”.
Most would say that’s not a bad resume to have before the age of twelve, but for indie-pop singer Sage Charmaine, that was just the beginning.
Having just recently turned sixteen — it’s been just over a year that Sage released her first single under her new moniker, Sage Charmaine.
“I went through an emo/alternative phase, then into a Grouplove-esc hippy-pop phase, then straight into pop —finally I think I found the perfect mix of indie/alternative/hiphop, & pop — which may not even be a genre, it’s just me making whatever I want,” she laughs.
Most people look at Sage and can’t believe she’s just 16 — “I think because I come off much more mature both mentally and physically. People usually guess I’m around 20 based off of my lyrics and appearance, but I don’t really mind cause usually people respect me more that way,” Sage says. Take one listen to any of her songs and you’ll think she’s definitely singing from experience, or is she?
For example, on her very first single “Cherries,” Sage croons, “…just put your hands on my body, ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb…” a lyric that sounds like she’s enticed many teen boys with that pretty little face of hers saying things like that.
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“Cherries” is no doubt one of the songs that fits into Sage’s “genreless” descriptions, serving as the first of many bops that’ll have you wondering if she is to be a pop princess like Ariana or a R&B “croonette” of likes of Billie Eilish.
The truth of it is, Sage is neither — she’s part girlie and part tomboy; part indie-rock and part hip hop; a genuine combination of artists such as Post Malone and Hayley Williams. She’s the new “create your own” type artist that pulls from actual experiences and creative fantasy. She mashes together multiple elements from every genre you’ve ever encountered in order to make it her own sound.
“Cherries” recently was remixed over the summer by Rocky Lynch of The Driver Era, and was given a groovy-funk facelift in only the way Rocky can do. Sage says, “Rocky made the song feel chill-yet-hype, and it makes you want to vibe to it with all your friends.” After meeting through mutual friends, Sage and Rocky started co-writing songs together from scratch — which Sage is planning to release in 2019. “When we work together it’s less like “work” and more like just chillin’. We just sit back, hang out and make music as it comes — which is really nice because then the song flows more and comes out more organic. We usually listen to some inspiration music for a bit, then we come up with a simple beat, some lyrics + a melody.”
Sage’s last single of 2018, “Bitter Chocolate” is another sexy tune featuring female rapper CupcakKe, who claims the song has a “leave your virginity at the door vibe.” Sage’s love for hip hop and rap music was likely the culprit in thinking that CupcakKe would make a great feature for the song — telling us that in addition to CupcakKe, she listens to artists like Denzel Curry, Trippie Redd, HUNNY, Rex Orange County, TV Girl, YBN Nahmir, and Lil Mosey.
When it came to “Bitter Chocolate” and working with CupcakKe, Sage says, “I love CupcakKe because she’s such a fucking QUEEN!!! I love how open and free she is with her body, beliefs, and sexuality. Obviously, Bitter Chocolate isn’t the most innocent song, so I knew she’d be the perfect feature.”
Sage’s newly dyed blue bangs and pink hair make her seem like she was always born to be a star, but Sage says, “It’s definitely hard to be a young female musician because there’s so many of us. I can’t even tell you how many teenage girl singers I’ve met, so it makes it super hard for us since we really have to find a way to stand out.” The bangs apparently happened after Sage had a dream where she had bright pink bangs. She then woke up the next morning and cut and dyed them herself— to her agent and mother’s horror. Ironically, it’s now the thing that’s made her stand out from the rest.
Within the last year, Sage has released five original singles (with a double-diamond producer), a remix with Rocky Lynch of The Driver Era, two music videos (one that went viral over a weekend) and even went on tour with Bhad Bhabie. She says of her experience over the last year, “I’ve learned a lot. I’ve definitely learned to work with a ton of different people and to value the different advice and ideas you get from each person. I’ve also learned to use songwriting as more of a therapeutic escape rather than as a job.”
As for what’s up for next year, Sage is hoping to “have at least one song reach 1 million spins” and to perform as much as she can.
She recently worked with pop-punk trap-rapper Lil Aaron, of what she says is one of her favorite songs she’s done so far, “The song is called “Don’t Bother Me,” and it’s dope as hell. I performed it at the Galore Halloween party! I got Lil Aaron to feature on that bitch because you already know his emo hip-hop style would bang super hard on one of my songs.”
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With plans to release an EP in Spring of 2019, Sage can’t wait to share more of music. There’s also rumors of Sage having a rap verse of her own on one of the new songs. “I want to be performing in front of more and more people because there’s literally no better feeling than being on stage and hyping everyone up.”
When it comes to thinking back to her days on-set at Nickelodeon, Sage says she would tell her nine-year-old self, “stop listening and caring so much about everyone else’s opinion because in seven years you’ll still be stuck doing what everyone else wants you to be doing if you don’t start ignoring that shit now. Make whatever kind of music you want, and don’t “finish” it til you’re actually satisfied.”
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Photography by Amber Duran