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She’s riding the new wave

Young singer was raised on the Beatles, Blondie and punk rock, her dad says, and her band I Don’t Carebears reflects her influences.

October 08, 2009|By Brianna Bailey

Nine-year-old Audrey Sjobeck’s voice seemed to come from the bottom of her hot pink high tops. She was belting out her rendition of a popular Katy Perry song after school on a recent afternoon at the Balboa Island Starbucks.

’Cause you’re hot then you’re cold / you’re yes then you’re no,” Audrey bellowed as her dad strummed along on the guitar.

Starbucks patrons shuffled by with newspapers under their arms and cups of iced coffee, some stopping to turn and smile as Audrey crooned, her mouth opening wider with each measure, as if she couldn’t open it wide enough to get all the sound out of her little body.

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“She’s really good,” one customer whispered to barista Zona Morgan, who nodded knowingly as she handed back the patron’s change.

“I just saw Katy Perry in concert, and she better look out,” Morgan said.

Audrey and her father, local musician Nick Sjobeck, are regulars at the Starbucks on Marine Avenue.

“We come here to try out new songs and practice in front of people,” Sjobeck said.

Audrey and her dad just started their own band, a four-piece made up of Sjobeck’s musician buddies called the I Don’t Carebears.

“We wanted a name that was a little edgy,” Sjobeck said. “It’s a little punk, too.”

“Yeah,” Audrey chimed in, her feet swinging from the bench outside Starbucks.

Audrey, a third-grader at Lincoln Elementary School, has eclectic tastes in music. She loves Blondie and the Beatles, and was burning her own CDs filled with Beatles tunes by age 6. She went on a David Bowie kick when she was 3, her dad said.

“My favorite Blondie songs are ‘Call Me’ and ‘Hanging on the Telephone.’ I love that one,” Audrey said, jumping up and down.

As the I Don’t Carebears’ precocious front woman, Audrey belts out the lyrics to punk and new wave classics like “What Do I Get” by the Buzzcocks and the Go-Go’s “Our Lips are Sealed.”

“She is the true leader of the band. She takes charge. That’s her forte,” Sjobeck said.

Audrey has been listening to the Buzzcocks and the Ramones since infancy, her father boasts.

The sound of Buzzcocks lead singer Pete Shelley’s heavy Manchester accent had a soothing effect on baby Audrey, Sjobeck said.

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