For a gal who wants to take the world by storm, singer/rapper Sarah Kaboom has trouble letting people know she’s around. Her Twitter and Facebook pages aren’t usually inundated with updates on where she’ll be performing next. People who do want to see her perform (like, let’s say, writers working on a story about her) usually find out days after a gig has happened.
“You wanna know what the problem is, honestly?” Kaboom asks during an afternoon visit at a downtown Durham watering hole. “I just got the Internet.”
The 20-year-old, Marion Cotillard-looking Durhamite (real name: Sarah Bjorklund) admits that she has had Internet access in her apartment for just a few months.
“There are so many things built up in my inbox, it’s really a shame. I might have made it by now if I checked my inbox.”
Fortunately, Kaboom has chums in the local hip-hop community, like rappers Azon Blaze and Skyblew, who’ve been getting her name out there by featuring her on their songs.
Since she was 11, Kaboom (who got the name as a teen, when friends remarked how her beats “are the bomb”) has been set on being a performer.
“I was sitting in my mom’s bathroom in this little apartment complex, and my parents were just getting divorced,” she remembers. “And I was like, if you want to do something big, it’s time. Because you’re gonna be too old next year.”
Since then, working on her talents has always been in her daily regimen. “Every day has to go toward my music,” she says. “Every day, I practice. Every day, I write. Every day, I do something.”
For fine honing, Kaboom went to Durham School of the Arts for seven years, where she found singing wasn’t a problem. “With singing, it was always natural,” she says. “I was pretending to be Alicia Keys one day. And it came out, and it sounded just like her, but different.”
With rapping, however, she had to observe and learn from her schoolmates. “I was that one girl that hung out with all the boys, and we’d sit at the end of the lunchtable and all the boys would freestyle and hit beats on the table. I was like, I could do that!”
Kaboom (who’s working on her debut EP) has been maintaining a steady presence in the Triangle’s hip-hop scene. This Sunday, she’ll be one of the many MCs on hand for “Rebuilding the Bull 3: Pamplona Style,” happening at the Pour House Music Hall.
And while Kaboom is aware that a pale-skinned lady busting rhymes may still be a bit of a novelty around here (although white female MCs, such as Kreayshawn, V-Nasty, Iggy Azalea, Kitty Pryde and others, are all the rage now), she says that growing up in Durham’s West End has definitely given her a rapper’s upbringing.
“I don’t know V-Nasty,” she says. “I don’t Kreayshawn. I don’t know where they came from. The only thing I know is that from the day I was born, I grew up living the things I heard rappers talk about. I feel like I went through the real deal. I feel like I’m still going through the real deal. I can’t degrade anybody else’s message and meaning and stuff. But I know I go through a lot.”
Hopefully, Kaboom will work on promoting herself online if she wants more people to take notice of her. Then again, maybe sneaking in and bum-rushing the music world is what she wants. “People always think I’m somebody’s girlfriend or somebody’s, like, person that came with them to watch,” she says. “I like being that person that nobody expects to do what they’re about to do.”