It’ll be a Wednesday when Sabrina Carpenter will hear her ex’s name and drink order at a coffee shop and look up. They’ll make cordial small talk, Sabrina will share a casual update on her sister: “Shannon’s being Shannon.” And suddenly, years after a tumultuous end, they’ll no longer be swimming on the edge of the cliff they’d soon spill over. Instead, they’ll just be existing among hindsight and therapy and time, splashing around in water under the bridge.
The moving image is from Sabrina’s newest single, “Skinny Dipping,” a first taste of her forthcoming album — which will also be her first on Island Records, a deal she signed in January of this year after four albums through Disney’s Hollywood Records. But “Skinny Dipping” is also a manifestation of sorts, a wish for future peace after a breakup.
“I didn’t feel in that moment that I was at a place where I could literally be skinny dipping in water under the bridge,” Sabrina tells Teen Vogue. “I didn’t feel like I was healed and fully out of a place where I didn’t hold any anger or resentment.” Instead, writing with collaborators Julia Michaels and JP Saxe, she dreamed up a scenario where she had worked through those feelings.
She explains all of this while sitting in a different café, Martha’s Country Bakery in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, where she’s spent most of her summer. It’s 11 a.m., and we’re splitting a piece of her cake of choice from the popular (though deserted in the morning) dessert destination. The slice is called the Napoleon, a pastry cake with layers of cream and fresh berries. Breakfast cake, we joke. She’s wearing a cropped t-shirt she cut herself, printed with the face of her friend and creative partner, the actress Danielle Fishel, as her character Topanga from Boy Meets World.
Sabrina starred in the Disney Channel spinoff Girl Meets World for three seasons as the confident, chaotic Maya Hart, best friend to Cory and Topanga’s daughter Riley Matthews (Rowan Blanchard). The show ran from 2014-2017 and was her breakout acting role, leading to more Disney parts and bigger films like The Hate U Give and Netflix’s 2020 dance comedy Work It. But music was the beginning.
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