Sometimes the seeds of songs are planted long before the songs themselves fully form. In the case of Hayley Sabella’s new song “Maria,” that process took several years.
Sabella based the track, off her forthcoming sophomore album Forgive The Birds, on a chance encounter with a stranger outside the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona while she was backpacking through Europe after graduating college. Though it was a minor interaction, it stuck with her long enough that years later the conversation inspired “Maria.”
“An older gentleman with a bad back and a lit cigarette sat down next to me,” Sabella says. “While I was a bit suspicious at first, we had an unexpected but wonderful conversation. Some time later, as we were parting ways, he told me something striking: that I reminded him of someone who had died. It was an unusual thing to hear, and I never quite forgot it. A few years later, it manifested in a song told from his perspective called ‘Maria.'”
Forgive The Birds is out April 27. Listen to “Maria” below.