June is Pride Month and all month long we’re spotlighting queer Austin musicians of today and the legends who paved the way.
Sabrina Ellis was born in Houston. A theater kid and admittedly unpopular, Ellis started caring less and owning themselves. When Ellis moved to Austin in the 2000s, they brought that unique theatricality to the stage, first with the group Bobby Jealousy, then with the face-punching glam-punk energy of A Giant Dog, a group co-founded by fellow Houstonian and continued songwriting partner Andrew Cashen. A Giant Dog was signed to Merge Records for their 2nd album, 2016’s Pile.
Ellis and Cashen also formed Sweet Spirit, a nine-piece outfit that really allowed Ellis to channel their early influence of watching bandleaders like Dezi Arnaz and Bo Diddley. Sweet Spirit’s debut album Cokomo came out in 2015 on Nine Mile Records, and the group eventually also signed to Merge Records for the release of their 3rd album, 2020’s Trinidad.
Between all of Ellis’s projects, they’ve shared stages with artists like Jack White, Ty Segall, Spoon, and Jawbreaker. Ellis’s solo work has been produced by Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, and they’ve accumulated more Austin Music Awards than one can count.
Ellis came out as non-binary in 2019, and while there have been glimpses of gender and sexual identity in their art, Ellis has increasingly put that journey at the forefront. From other projects like Casperella with Caleb DeCasper to the upcoming, deeply intricate concept album Bite from A Giant Dog, there is a noticeable evolution to Ellis’s musicianship and expression. With every project being more singular than the last, Ellis proves that there is no box to put them in. They’re just Sabrina.
You can catch Sabrina Ellis with Casperella on June 25th at Geraldine’s. Ellis also performs on June 29th at Sahara Lounge for Queer Freak Show, a show Ellis says they’ll be performing “something special I’ve never done before and may never do again.”