Less than nine months after releasing her sophomore album, Sabrina Carpenter has already returned with a new single that’s both extremely likable and highly promising of what’s to come from the 18-year-old.
“Why,” released Friday (July 7) and performed for the first time at her North American tour kickoff in Vancouver on Thursday night (July 6), finds Carpenter playing a game of opposites attract with her beau, and sounding steadier in her vocal delivery as she glides over chopped-up synths that evoke Zedd‘s recent smash “Stay” (featuring Alessia Cara).
“This song happened very quickly,” Carpenter, whose Evolution album was released in October, tells Billboard. “We started with the first line of the song — ‘You like New York City in the daytime; I like New York City in the night time’ — and from there, the song kind of wrote itself. It’s basically [about] these differences that we all have, that keep us different from one another but at the same time glue us together. … I like to say it’s very conversational, which some of my other songs haven’t been before.”
Carpenter has long been primed to become the leader of Disney’s next wave of young pop stars: From 2014 to late last year, she’s been balancing her music career on Hollywood Records with her role on Girl Meets World, and has spent much of 2017 on the road overseas following the Disney Channel show’s series finale in January.
Her first two albums — 2015’s Eyes Wide Open and last year’s Evolution — have failed to impact Top 40 radio in the States, but the Jonas Jeberg-produced “Why” sounds like the first step in an inevitable crossover.
“I love constantly writing music,” Carpenter says, “and the second I write it, obviously, I want to release it. But it’s not as simple as that. I’m starting my new tour, and I have a couple surprises up my sleeve, and I wanted this song to be able to take [fans] through the summer. I felt like it was the right period of time to be able to bring something new to the table.”
With Girls Meet World wrapped up, Carpenter also realizes that this is an opportune time to push her latest music.
“I haven’t even looked at it as ‘I stopped acting,'” she says. “As soon as I wrapped the third season of the show, I went straight into tour, because I hadn’t gotten the chance to tour for my first album. … You have to put in the time, and you have to put in the effort in order to have these songs be heard.
“You don’t realize how much you actually have to travel [on tour], and how many times you have to sing these songs before people hear them, because there is so much music in the world. So I’ve been looking at it as, right now I am focusing on music, and acting will come into the picture when it’s supposed to.”
Carpenter’s headlining tour runs through Aug. 27, and although the Evolution songs will remain the focus while performing live, “Why” hints at the sound of her in-the-works next album. The singer says that she’s already written enough songs to fill a new full-length, but wants to keep writing before going forward with a new project.
“I like to keep exploring, and see what I can do and what I can make,” she explains. “I definitely knew when I had Evolution done. Until I feel that way again, we’ll definitely keep going.”
“I was talking to my friend earlier how online and these kids think of it as like, a mother feeding her children!” Carpenter adds with a laugh. “And I’m like, ‘I’ll keep feeding my children if that’s the case. I won’t let my kids starve!'”