5 minute read
Interview: Sam // Words: Ollie
“Don’t be afraid to embrace your uniqueness…”
Singer-songwriter ABISHA talks to us about moving from Devon to London to start her life in the music industry, difficulties & the future.
She continues, “The little quirks, things that people think are weird & you may have even been bullied about you need to own, because ultimately that is what will get you somewhere”.
Moving To The Capital. //
ABISHA details her upbringing: “I grew up in a council house in Devon with my mum; my dad lived in London. She didn’t really have much money, so had to make sacrifices in order to give me the opportunities she never had, which I am incredibly grateful for. I danced, went to theatre school…I spent my whole life in front of a mirror practicing & being the only mixed-race person in my schooling, it was a constant reminder I was different. I was surrounded by lots of petite blonde kids & I was this chubby, mixed race girl with curly hair. Growing up I hated it, I just wanted to look like everyone else”.
Continuing, “As I got older, I accepted I was different. I started getting really into fashion, I had a vision for my appearance & became okay with being different. I had a boyfriend who used to dress badly & I would take him shopping for better clothes…then I realised I liked the jumpers in the men’s section & started wearing all these oversized jumpers and hoodies. It was completely different to my friends, but I felt comfortable. I spent my whole life to that point trying to look like everyone else, but at then I finally felt okay being different”.
After becoming more comfortable in her appearance, ABISHA took a big step which would eventually lead her to her current calling: “I moved to London just before I turned 19. I knew I had to go there & my only way was to go to university. It was the ‘done’ thing. I got offered a place to study Fashion Journalism & I also got an offer to study Media & Sociology at Goldsmiths. My mum had this thing since I was young that she wanted me to go to Goldsmiths…she didn’t know a lot about uni, but that was one of the only ones she had heard of, so she sent me there! I ended up doing this course I wasn’t interested in & realised it wasn’t for me. Around the same time, I also started working on Oxford Street at Urban Outfitters & everyone there was studying Fashion, so I questioned why I wasn’t doing it”.
While pondering whether to pursue a career in fashion, a sudden twist of fate would change the course of ABISHA’s path back to her heartland of singing & performing where she had started: “On the last day of my uni course I met this music producer who introduced me to the industry & that was my way in. I am a massive believer in fate, so my mum’s instinct was right! I might not have even been in the music industry if she hadn’t wanted me to go to Goldsmiths!”.
Discovering The Industry. //
With one foot now in the music sphere, things moved fast. ABISHA explains, “The producer gave me his number & invited me to the studio so he could hear me sing. I called him the next day & ended up spending nearly three months watching him working with an artist he collaborated with at the time. That was mad, because I had never even been inside a studio at this point, but I knew from that experience, music is what I wanted to do”.
Despite this breakthrough into the industry, ABISHA had still decided to study a new university course in Fashion Buying & Brand Management as a fall-back plan. Articulating her reasoning, she states, “I knew I wanted to do music, I got a guitar when I was 14 & started writing songs, as well as growing up with singing lessons & musical theatre…but I was realistic. When you get to a certain age, you have to start to knuckle down & focus on what’s in front of you like education & making money”.
With solid foundations, ABISHA was free to develop her creative talent in her spare time. “I played around with the producer to discover my genre, voice, style etc. This went on for 4 years & we wrote some good songs & some admittedly bad songs that will never see the light of day. That was the time I needed to work out what sort of artist I wanted to be” she adds.
While RnB is the key element of ABISHA’s style, she is keen to stress that she does not want to be categorised so easily: “I don’t write songs to fit into a genre, I just want them to be catchy & have substance. However that comes out lyrically & musically is fine by me. There will always be elements of my sound that stick, but hopefully there will always be an evolution every time I write. After all, I like change…I change my hair & my style often, so my sound is just another thing to adapt!”.
On the song writing inspiration itself, ABISHA reveals her process: “I have a note on my phone which I update like 10 times a day with potential lyrics. I create phrases, think of cool words, rant, plot my thoughts…sometimes it is just seeing something, all of which sparks new ideas. On the way to a recording session, I usually pick one which is the most relatable or recent & use that to begin my writing. The most authentic way for me to write is to do it how I would say it, but it’s been interesting working with people who have different perspectives & phrase things differently. I went with one of their suggestions for one song on my upcoming EP & despite not liking how it sounded at first, I love the way it does now. It just reminds you of the value in working with others”.
Hurdles, Success & The Future. //
“Overall, it’s an unpredictable industry. I have the most amazing team, I feel I have just been lucky to even have accessed the industry” she says.
Talking on her success, ABISHA adds, “I often forget to look back & appreciate how far I have come. Sometimes, things can feel slow as the highs are never as easy to remember as the lows. If I had to pick some highs, I would say getting to DJ last year & shooting my latest music video in New York – both were a lot of fun”.
In contrast, when asked about the lows to date, she says, “When there is no money in what you are doing, that can be hard. It also makes you start to doubt yourself & compare your ability to other more talented people. Like with all jobs, you can get that imposter syndrome. The key is to rise above that & focus on your own journey & what makes you happy”.
Finally, speaking on the future, the Devon-born RnB singer comments, “My visualisation is me being happy & content with where I am in life. If I continue to get the chance to share my music & reach lots of people with positive vibes, I will feel good. It would be great I suppose to also be a role model for young, LGBT+ people to relate to, especially being a mixed-race female. Career wise, I want to tour, do festivals & sell out arenas in the next couple of years. Another tangible goal is to buy my mum a house!”.
Finishing the interview, ABISHA is keen to stress the importance of not comparing yourself to other people in her advice to up & coming artists: “With social media especially, it can sometimes feel like everyone else is having a great time reaching their goals. However, you must remember that Instagram is a fake life, no one shows the down days & your life is different to everyone else’s for a reason”.
The talented, upbeat ABISHA is an artist who continues to make strides in the industry & we suspect will continue to raise her profile as she pursues her goal to connect with ever larger audiences.
ABISHA’s new EP ‘Scorpio’ is out now
Follow ABISHA @abisha