Sabrina - Biography
By Eric Brightwell
Sabrina Salerno (usually simply referred to as “Sabrina”) is an is an Italian singer, television hostess, model, actress, and record producer.
Norma Sabrina Salerno was born March 15th, 1968 in Genoa, Italy. When she was fifteen, she began entering beauty pagents, first winning Miss Seaside followed by Miss Liguira. She was taken under the wing of Giampiero Menzione who groomed her to be a performer. In 1986, Sabrina made her television debut on Canale 5’s variety show, Premiatissima, where she was hired as a dancer and occasional singer. On Grand Hotel, she met producer Claudio Cecchetto. The following year, they released her debut single, “Sexy Girl.” The video made no efforts to conceal its shameless exploitation of Sabrina’s curvaceous figure and no doubt contributed to the song’s considerable success at home and in Germany. Her debut, Sabrina (1987-Fire Records) followed, featuring more English-language dance-pop of a similar nature and was an enormous hit in Europe, Australia and South America. The video for “Boys (Summertime Love)” was even more salacious than its predecessor, depicting a bikini clad Sabrina struggling in vain to keep her top from slipping off. The BBC banned it until it was re-edited and Sabrina herself claimed to be unaware of the repeated “nip slips.” The single sold over one and a half million copies. “Hot Girl” was less successful, although it made the Top 10 in five countries.
In 1988, Sabrina was awarded “Best European Singer” at Festivalbar, an Italian music competition. Teaming with Stock, Aitken and Waterman for the Eurobeat “All of Me (Boy Oh Boy)” resulted in another hit. Super Sabrina (1988-Videogram Records) offered more sexually-charged dance-pop and videos for singles like the vaguely house-influenced “My Chico,” which was a number one hit. She appeared on a number of European shows, writhing and bouncing up and down in skimpy outfits in front of rabid audiences who appeared wholly unconcerned with her obvious lip-synching. That year, she played the Montreux Pop Festival. Giorgio Moroder-produced “Like a Yo-Yo,” which became the theme song of Odiens, a variety show on which she appeared in 1989.
In 1989, 50,000 Russians attended her three day performances at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow. She resumed her acting career, next appearing in Fratelli d'Italia. She also released a new single, “Gringo.” The following year Sabrina hosted the Rai Due’s daily morning show, Ricomincio da 2 with Raffaella Carrà. She returned to Festivalbar with “Yeah Yeah.” Over the Pop (1991-Casablance Records) marked a minor shift in Sabrina’s career. As implied by the title, she attempted to prove that she was more than an Italian Samantha Fox by singing in Italian for the first time, in the lightly-rocking duet, “Siamo Donne,” with ex-punk rocker Jo Squillo. In addition to the new direction, Sabrina was allowed to co-write and produce several of the album’s songs. It wasn’t exactly a sea change, however; the cover depicted Sabrina in lingerie on a beach, albeit holding a violin. The desire to mature and gain more creative control resulted in a rift between Sabrina and her manager. Only one more single, Giorgio Moroder’s “Shadows of the Night,” was released from the album. After the non-album Italo-house “Cover Model” failed to perform suitably, Sabrina parted ways with her management and label.
Sabrina returned in 1995, appearing as a co-host on several TV shows and releasing the uninspired Eurodance singles “Rockawillie” and “Angel Boy” on ZYX Music, resulting only in minor hits in Italy and Scandanavia. Sabrina and her then-boyfriend, Enrico Monti, established her own studio in Trevisio and released her first all-Italian language album, Maschio Dove Sei (1995-NAR International), using her last name for the first time as well. The music resulted from a collaboration with Massimo Riva and was pop-rock of the blandest variety. The album was a commercial failure and afterward Sabrina returned to action, appearing as Morgan le Fay in the comedy, I cavalieri della Tavola Rotonda in 1996. After a two year stint hosting the game show, Il mercante in fiera, she was again cast in a comedy, Uomini sull'orlo di una crisi di nervi. After breaking her knee in an accident, she dropped out and returned to TV, hosting Cocco di mamma on Rai Uno and acting in the sitcom Tutti gli uomini sono uguali.
A Flower’s Broken (1999-RTI Music) was Sabrina’s return to house-influenced dance-pop. It was produced by Sabrina and her husband and was a considerable improvement in terms of quality over most of her ’90s output. However, marketing and promotion were abruptly stopped when the label was sold and neither the album nor the single, “I Love You” were successes. Two years later she returned to theater, acting in the musical Emozioni. As the host of Matricole & Meteore she explored the current situations for former stars, including Shannen Doherty, Dynasty’s Al Corley, Gary Coleman, Jimmy Sommerville and Dallas’s Charlene Tilton, among others.
In April of 2004, Sabrina and Monti married and Sabrina gave birth to their first child, Luca. The following year she was awarded “best actress” at Salerno's Independent Cinema Festival. A new song, “I Feel Love (Good Sensation)” appeared on her website in 2006. That same year, former Persian-Norwegian porn star Aylar Lie released a recording of “Boys (Summertime Love).” Sabrina continues to tour and perform at festivals around Europe, notably a 2008 concert in Poland with Kim Wilde, Samantha Fox, Sandra, Modern Talking, Limahl and Shakin' Stevens. She also works as a producer and manager, heading New Boys Productions. She continues to maintain her recording studio that’s been used by Sade, Simply Red, Vasco Rossi, and others.