ABISHA: In Conversation

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“I love my roots and Jamaican heritage and am so proud to be a woman of colour,” ABISHA on how her childhood in Devon impacted her identity. 

London-based ABISHA is the alt-R&B songwriter whose uplifting beats and soul-searching lyrics have seen her grow into a self-assured artist on the brink of releasing her second EP. But, this wasn’t always the case. Growing up in a small town in Devon, ABISHA spent much of her youth in conflict with her identity. As a black, queer woman, ABISHA discovered there weren’t many people like her in the predominantly white area she called home. Then she moved to London.

While ABISHA had been embroiled in music from a young age, it wasn’t until she moved to London, met people she identified with and found herself that her career flourished. And, after a chance encounter with Mike Chapman, ABISHA’s career really took flight, earning her praise from some of the industry’s most esteemed names in the industry, including Notion, Billboard, BBC Introducing and COLORSXSTUDIOS.

Today (March 4th), ABISHA releases ‘Home To You’, the first track from her upcoming sophomore EP. With hints of Ibiza house and irrefutably uplifting lyrics, the song is a summer-ready hit. And, to celebrate the release of her new single, ‘Home To You’, Chapter Z sat down with ABISHA to talk about her identity, growing up in Devon as a black woman and the people who feel like ‘home’.

ABISHA © Ed Cooke
ABISHA © Ed Cooke

In Conversation With ABISHA

Hey! Thanks so much for chatting with us today. We’ve gotta start off by talking about your previous single, ‘Numb’. Can you give us the lowdown on what inspired the track?

‘Numb’ was really inspired by the way I was feeling at the time. Everything around me felt really mundane but overwhelming at the same time. And, the superficiality of social media and relationships was really getting to me. All of this brought a lot of things to the surface, especially because we were also in lockdown. So I was trapped with my thoughts, and I was starting to consider getting therapy and working through those issues.

Now that we’re in 2022, I’ve heard you’ve got more music coming. What’s next for you?

I’m about to release the first track, ‘Home To You’, from my second EP, and I’m so excited! I’ve got a whole load of music to release, which is all good vibes – so, a massive contrast to ‘Numb’! I think people might be quite surprised by the collection but in a good way.

You’ve just mentioned your new single, ‘Home to You’. The track has a really cool, positive vibe. What’s the inspiration behind your track?

The inspiration behind ‘Home To You’ was my girlfriend. It’s about how, even after a bad day, any troubles or worries would fade away as soon as I saw her. I think everyone has someone or something, whatever it is, that feels like “home” to them and makes them feel happy and safe. That’s what ‘Home To You’ embodies for me.

Going back to the beginning of your journey, where did it all start for you? How did music become such a big part of your life and a method of expression?

I started performing when I was as young as I can remember. I was dancing and on stage from around two years old, then my love for music followed shortly after, and I began performing in local musicals and plays. Then, I started writing songs with my guitar when I was about 15. I’ve loved writing poems since I was really young, and that just evolved into songwriting naturally.

ABISHA © Ed Cooke
ABISHA © Ed Cooke

Speaking of the beginning of your journey, you now live in London but grew up in Devon. How did that impact your identity?

Growing up in Devon impacted my identity massively. There isn’t a lot of diversity in Devon, so it was hard to connect with my Jamaican heritage. I was aware from a young age that I looked different to everybody else, and I hated that; I wished that I could blend in. My hair was big, and I was quite tall for my age (not anymore, unfortunately), so I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. As soon as I was old enough, I started straightening my hair to feel ‘normal’, which breaks my heart now. 

Since moving to London, I’ve started to embrace who I am and step into my authentic self a lot more. I still have struggles related to my identity, which I don’t think I’d have if I grew up in a more diverse area. But, I love my roots and Jamaican heritage and am so proud to be a woman of colour.

At Chapter Z, one of our main focuses is LGBTQ+ stories, and last month we celebrated LGBT+ History Month. How do you think your queer identity has influenced your music? 

I’m very open about my sexuality, and pretty much all of my music is inspired by my relationships. I’ve always been really keen not to hide any part of who I am in my music, for it to be authentic and relatable, whether that’s using female pronouns in my lyrics, having women actors in my videos etc. 

 And finally, do you have any exciting plans for 2022? What can listeners expect from you?

 I’m really excited about what 2022 has in store! I have a new EP coming, new music videos and hopefully some live shows! The music is influenced by modern UK Garage, which I love, so it’s super fun and upbeat! I’ve also signed to Select Models, which is super exciting!! Hopefully, I’ll get to do some travelling too because I miss the sun!!

 

 

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