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On Tour with:Absolutely

by Maja Bebber

Born Abby Keen to a Swiss-Ghanaian mother and British father in South London, Absolutely is hard to overlook.

Born Abby Keen to a Swiss-Ghanaian mother and British father in South London, she initially dove headfirst into songwriting for the likes of Normani, Anitta, Tinashe, Mahalia, Kiana Ledé and David Guetta, making waves with her pen game as well as earning studio time with some of the biggest stars in the world in Rihanna, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez.

Across thirteen tracks, the CEREBRUM record arrives as an insight into the artistic depths of a truly creative burgeoning talent. Expanded by cutting-edge videos for standout tracks like “Close to You”,“Higher” and “24 Hours”, Absolutely’s sonic world feels like a breath of fresh air, drawing from a diverse palette of genres, sounds and moods to fuse together her own unique artistic proposition – CEREBRUM feels like the birth of a vital new star in the making.

tmrw sits down with Absolutely to discuss her inspirations, her music and life on tour.

How would you describe your music style or genre?
It’s hard for me to categorize my music; it’s a fusion of many sounds and feelings. There’s influences of R&B, alternative, soul, electronic, rock and more all presented in the language of Pop. I guess you could call it experimental pop?

What is your songwriting process like? Do you collaborate with others or prefer to work alone?
For my own project I prefer to write alone. I can get into my flow with no pressure or structure, and the song becomes a flow of consciousness. It depends what I’m trying to create, sometimes I just need to pour out my heart, so I’ll find some sounds that inspire me, turn all the lights out and just sing whatever comes onto the microphone. That’s usually how the most authentic songs come about for me. I would like to collaborate with other writers for my artist project at some point, it’s just finding someone that I truly connect with and trust enough that I can just be 100% myself.

Are there any specific themes or messages you aim to convey through your music?
I don’t think there’s a through line yet when it comes to song concepts. I’m constantly learning and evolving and the more I live life the more I will have things to say. My first album was just a collection of thoughts and feelings, there wasn’t much of a deeper meaning behind everything. But as I’m developing, I’m learning how to search beyond the surface of myself. I’m discovering all the parts of myself that I wouldn’t usually express outside of a song; exploring existentialism and figuring out my place in the world and also talking a lot more about my relationship with God. I’m still trying to understand who I am, and my goal is to capture that journey sonically.

What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
I want my music to wake up every cell in people’s bodies. To wake up from the trance that life has us caught in, often times we overlook the beauty of all the small details around us. We were created to immerse ourselves and be in wonder and awe of God’s creation, while the leaders of this world want us to be stuck in a system where we are numb to our surroundings. A place where everything turns gray and square, where every day blends into one. We sometimes forget that we are here to enjoy our lives. I want my music to spark something in people that they may have forgotten ever existed, to allow people to be and feel.

Have you faced any challenges as a musician, and how have you overcome them?
There are definitely endless challenges as a musician. I think my biggest battle is with myself. I’m an introvert and at times I find it hard to talk about how I feel. I get anxious in crowded spaces and I don’t like being the centre of attention, which obviously clashes with my career choice. So I’m trying to navigate the biggest juxtaposition of my life all of the time, but the more I step outside of my comfort zone, I’m starting to learn that I don’t need to pretend to be something I’m not. I don’t need to be the loudest in the room, or the one who says the most – it’s okay to just be who I am.

Are there any artists or musicians who have had a significant impact on your musical style or career?
Some of favorite artists are Bon Iver, 070 shake, Frank Ocean, Enya and Cocteau Twins. What all of these artists have in common to me is that they created a whole universe around their music. It’s immersive and atmospheric and transports you to another place when you’re listening. I love that their sound doesn’t seem to be tainted by the world’s opinion; they stay true to their own identity and that’s why all of these artists have such individuality, because they have their own unique way of expressing who they are that sounds like nothing else and can’t be replicated.

You supported your sister in London at The O2 recently. How was that experience like for you? What was the most memorable moment of your performance?
The O2 was such a beautiful, surreal experience. I was so scared before going onstage but as soon as I stepped on, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. It was the freest and present I’ve ever felt when performing, which is odd because it was the biggest stage I’ve ever performed on. The best part was when I was performing “Close to You” as everybody put their flashlights up. It felt like I wasn’t on Earth, like I was floating in a sky full of stars. It was so heart-warming and beautiful.

What’s your favourite thing about going on tour?
Probably meeting all the new people and fans along the way. Seeing how people are actually moved and inspired by what I’m doing. Everyone had the most beautiful, encouraging things to say and it definitely helped me, especially on the days where I felt a little low on the road.

Follow Absolutely on INSTAGRAM

Photographers
Melat Semere and Jeanyuzhengart
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