Pretty Sick is pushing the boundaries of rock with its New York flair

New York City-raised Sabrina Fuentes always knew she’d get into music. As she puts it, she never really had a passion for anything else — she’d spend a lot of her time listening to the Smashing Pumpkins, Hole and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

At the age of 13, Fuentes decided to take her own stab at rock music, forming Pretty Sick with her friends as its lead singer and bassist. They played their first show opening for the experimental jazz group Onyx Collective, where they met drummer Austin Williamson, who would later join Fuentes as a member of her band. Today, Pretty Sick consists of Fuentes, Williamson, guitarist Wade Oates and bassist Orazio Argentero.

“I think everybody who plays in the band is an integral part of the music and has as much ownership over the work that we do as I do,” Fuentes said on “Making It,” a co-production between In The Know and Complex’s Pigeon & Planes. “Pretty Sick is more like a collective than like a set, rigid, like, band.”

The group’s music is reflective of the city Fuentes grew up in, she explained.

“New York has always been a city of forward-thinking people and forward-thinking artists,” she said. “And that was definitely a big part of me being able to find likeminded people.”

In the midst of the pandemic, the band caught the attention of U.K.-based indie label Dirty Hit, which has signed Pale Waves, No Rome, Oscar Lang, among other rising groups. In September, Pretty Sick released its first single “Allen” — a tribute of sorts to the Lower East Side neighborhood in Manhattan —  under the label. The song has so far received nearly 100,000 plays on Spotify alone.

“Out on Allen Street, it’s 7 in the morning,” Fuentes sings at the beginning of the track. “If I help him up, will he give me fair warning?”

Since then, the band has seen its fanbase steadily grow, but, for now, Fuentes said she is just enjoying the journey as a signed artist.

“After this year, who knows what’s going to happen in 10 years?” she said. “Maybe I’ll be getting, like, abducted by aliens or perishing in the rapture, or I’ll be, like, the biggest rockstar in the world.”

In The Know teamed up with Pigeons & Planes to highlight up-and-coming artists. “Making It” tells the stories of their journeys and documents how self-made stars rise to prominence in the digital era.

If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about Melvoni, a Brooklyn rapper who is channeling his rough upbringing into music you’ll definitely want to hear.

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