ESSENCE.com’s “New and Next” column spotlights the brightest talents we think you should know. This week we meet soulful singer-songwriter ABIAH who describes his sound as the “love child of Anita Baker and Jeff Buckley, with Nina Simone as godmother.” The Harlem-based crooner is getting ready to release his new album, BOTTLES, in 2016.
What story are you telling with your music?
The concept of my new record is all about content. What we put in is exactly what comes out. The idea came to me when searching for the meaning behind my album, BOTTLES. I heard a small voice say “Are you content with your content?” Then the album wrote itself.
Why should we get to know you, and your music?
I believe people are searching for authenticity and music that feeds their souls in a world where so much music offers vapid returns.
Who would you say are your greatest influences?
I would have to say Jesus as his humanity is a shining example of how we all should be. My parents because of their love and support; Nina Simone for her wonderful artistic colors, and Oskar Schindler’s heroic selflessness during the Holocaust.
What do you want a listener to walk away with?
Memorable melodies, timely lyrics and curiosity to discover more about my artistry.
Who or what would be on your all-time music playlist?
Anything Leontyne Price, Sarah Vaughan, Bjork, Tribe Called Quest, Andrew Bird, Brandy’s Full Moon, Feist (The Reminder album), Jazmine Sullivan’s Reality Show, Damien Rice, Miles Davis, The best of Nina Simone, Darryl Coley (In My Dreams), Best of Kent Henry and of course, Anita Baker.
Finish the sentence: My music is…the new cool.
Watch “Sorry,” the first single off ABIAH’s forthcoming album, BOTTLES.