ABISHA: Authenticity is Key

This interview was originally conducted in November 2019. 

Here at Glosse we love artists from the UK just as much as the ones from the states. And because of that, it’s only right we put y’all on too. Enter UK artist: ABISHA.  I had the pleasure of talking to her about how she creates her music, how she defines herself and her plans for 2020.

Abisha_Real_Life_Stills5873 (1)
Image via Artist Representative

ABISHA’s music can in three words: Excellent, ethereal and genreless. With so many influences and blending happening it’s so much easier to just enjoy it instead of trying to put a label on it. She’s drawn to production with “Unusual and weird sounds, Distorted vocal sounds, [and] Pitched up or down [elements]” so you already know you’re getting into something as creative as it is fire. “All That” features some of these including a sound that I’d describe as something you’d hear during the opening logos of the Transformers movies – trust me you’ll know it when you hear it. “All That was one of the first songs I wrote and recorded. I was at the very beginning of starting to discover my sound so I didn’t really go into it with any idea how I wanted the production to sound. But my producer came up with this synth loop and we just started vibing with it and the lyrics I had just worked so well with it and it came together almost instantly. So it was sort of accidental I guess.” A happy accident for sure. 

Abisha_Real_Life_Stills6271 (1)
Image via Artist Representative

 In addition to being in it’s own lane the creation of her music is special in its own way too. While ABISHA’s music is atmospheric at times the lyrics still matter even if they have immersive effects added to them. Like all talented songwriters inspiration for lyrics can hit her at any time. “I have a note in my notes app on my phone of hundreds of lyrics which are just words and thoughts that I write down at random moments every day.” With ABISHA the song creation process goes back to a central theme in her life: an inner feeling.  “When I’m in the studio with a producer, I usually always have an idea of what I want to write about that day because it’s probably something that I’m feeling at that time or something that’s going on in my life. And then I think about the mood and the feel that I want that song to have and we lay down the chords and a beat and build it from there. Usually the melody comes to me quite quick and then I write the lyrics to fit with that. I love writing, it’s my favourite part.”

Image via Artist Representative

Before you even press play on ABISHA’s music you might be drawn into her by her look. Her long braids extend down her back like the cables and cords used to make her music. This signature hair is complimented by her unique style which comprises jackets (oversized or regular sized) boots and various versions of cropped and halter tops. “My style is ever-evolving. It changes all the the time and I’m constantly pushing the boundaries of it” ABISHA has mastered something what we should all strive for in all aspects of our lives: Evolution. If we remain stagnant, the talent cannot grow and the power cannot increase.  Knowing what to wear may seem trivial for some but for ABISHA how you look and hope you feel go hand in hand. “Finding my style was a massive part of finding myself, it’s my main resource of expressing myself and I feel good when I like the clothes that I’m wearing and I feel ‘me’. The most important thing for me is that I’m comfortable, both physically and mentally in that I’m wearing.” This love for clothing has led ABISHA the chance to work with Puma as a partner/model which she hopes will lead to her being able to do a collection for them. But, it wouldn’t be a typical one in the slightest “I had this idea for a while ago to create a unisex range for a big brand because I dress quite androgynous and often by men’s clothes over women’s because I prefer the oversized fit, and I think that would be so cool to do something like that with Puma.” 

At this point you’ve likely noticed that each time I typed ABISHA’s name it was capitalized. This is a common trait amongst artists lately with album and song titles being in all caps – or sometimes all lowercase. It’s a minor stylistic choice that subtlety brings direct attention and makes sure it stands out from the other names/titles in your playlists. Originally her name was going to be “Shakti” which means power but her Mom decided to make this her middle name after concluding she “looked to gentle” for it. Despite this, she was still raised by her mother to be a strong woman.  ABISHA is her real first name and it actually is a Hebrew name meaning “God is my Father” – but her mother isn’t religious. “I think she just liked the name. I used to hate my name because it was so different but it definitely works as an artist name which is good, I don’t know what I would have come up with if I had to make one up!”

ABISHA’s name has a special meaning to it and the rest of her identity does too in which she says she is a “double minority”. Not only is she a woman of color but she is a gay woman of color too.This combination is not as common as you might think in the music industry and ABISHA understands this and thinks about it often. “Both being a woman of colour and being a gay woman have their own difficulties, there’s already pressure being a woman of colour in the music industry to prove yourself a bit more and prove that you deserve to be doing what you’re doing. Even just being a woman, but a woman of colour even more so. Being a gay woman in the music industry feels almost quite vulnerable. I feel like I have to ‘come out’ every time I meet someone new or that they might be surprised when they find out I’m gay, and having to experience their reaction to it.” Despite this ABISHA is still confident and proud of her sexuality. It’s not the only aspect of her life that defines her but it is a part of her image and a part that plays a large and direct role in her music. Music is a form of expression and she will continue to express herself through her music. ”I’ve been told in the past to not mention my sexuality and to hide it in fear that it might alienate listeners or potential fans or even put them off, but I’m extremely proud of being gay and I reflect that in my music now. My songs are all very open and honest, I want to encourage everyone including other LGBQT+ people to be themselves and that they’re perfect the way they are.”

landscape-credit_Sam Leviton.JPG
Image via Artist Representative (Photo taken by Sam Leviton)

ABISHA’s latest single “Real Life” differs greatly from her other music and is the last single to drop before her debut EP drops this year. It’s special to ABISHA for several reasons but also is special to listeners and supporters of her music too. “I think you can almost hear the breakthrough in my music style and it’s definitely evolved from my last release. Most of my new music is predominantly R&B but Real Life definitely has a bit of a pop element to it, which makes it catchy and quite fun. I think Real Life is the bridge between my older stuff that I’ve released and what’s to come, it represents my transformation as a writer, artist, and as a person.” 

ABISHA has built quite the following in the UK and plans to continue to build her fanbase in the US in 2020. “We’ve been focusing on building a foundation in the UK but I’ve had some amazing support from the US too and I’m definitely planning on making a few more trips out there towards 2020. It’s a really exciting time! I can’t wait to travel with my music and meet fans and perform around the world, that’s going to be the most amazing feeling! “ We’re excited too ABISHA.  

ABISHA’s debut EP SCORPIO is out on all streaming services now!

I’ve Been In Love With Iamddb Since 2017 & Here’s Why You Should Be Too

I’ve been listening to Iamddb for the past two or three years. Like most people, I was put on by a *friend* of mine. I was always intrigued by Black music artists from the UK but was unsure where to really start. So this friend of mine sent me a song by Iamddb and from that moment, at least one of her songs stays on all of my playlists.

Iamddb shot by Scott Trindle for British Vogue

I remember vividly which song made me say “wow, yes this girl has something” — Leaned Out. She had the soul of Erykah Badu and bars of Lauryn Hill. So immediately I was drawn to her flow and versatility. Her music made me feel like the baddest bitch in the world and that men were a mere spec on my radar but then balanced me out with wanting to cuddle and smoke with my man. But that legendary balance comes from her Pisces sun. Yes, as you all know, I am a Pisces. “It’s mermaid season”, her famous intro and outro to most of her songs plays off of her water sign sun. So there may be some bias but I promise you, this girl is IT!

Aside from her musical talent, Iamddb, born Diana DeBrito, has proven she is also a fashion girl. With her clothing line “Hoodrich” names after her 4th EP, Ddb recently opened S—ply concept store with her designs on shelves and a space for fans to come and meet the artist.

Ddb is no stranger to going outside of the box with her looks. She’s done bleached blonde eyebrows, long blue braids, orange braids, and so forth. In fact, her hair styles is what truly makes her so relatable for me. As a Black girl, we’re constantly rocking protective styles like braids and twists and Iamddb has fully embraced these looks. Braided bobs, long individuals, rocking her afro, passion twists. As Black girls, we need that. We need to be reminded that the Black women we listen to share some kind of link with us.

Iamddb for British Vogue

Now let’s talk about why you’re really here. Her discography. Iamddb has released five (5), what she calls, volumes since 2016. Each project with its own theme and vibe throughout. So let’s break it down for you and then I’ll come back and give you my top five (5) songs.

  • Waeveybby – her first project released 2016. Waeveybby gives off new neo soul/hood jazz vibes. Six (6) songs of Ddb floating and harmonizing over beats that sound like a mix of early 2000’s neo soul, modern jazz, and deep bass.
  • Vibe – released in 2017, Vibe shows a side of Ddb that starts coming into play for the rest of her songs; her famous hood jazz lyrics. Giving off an arrogance that makes it known that she’s here to stay so get used to her.
  • Hoodrich – this is where we get the full effect of Ddb in her new state. Deeper beats, raunchier lyrics, more arrogance, more of the reason why she’s about to be the new IT girl coming out of the UK. You wanna be reminded how bad of a bitch you are? This is the EP for you.
  • Flightmode – now flight mode was a bit of a shift in Ddb’s discography. Still with fire lyrics but the vibe changes to something we’re more familiar with — the hood jazz vibe. The beats are more toned down. More harmonizing. More enjoying the art of the music. Similar to the vibe of “Pyramids” by Frank Ocean. Changes in sounds. Random mixes. Where the lyrics are pushed towards the back and the production of the beats are brought forward.
  • Swervvvvv.5 – her latest release (Feb 22, 2019). Swervx5 is a compilation of Ddb’s versatility. Staring off with her signature”Urban Jazz” sound (the first song is actually called Urban Jazz, too), Ddb takes us on a trip through the genre she created. After the first interlude, Ddb slides into some very ass shaking music. With “Sweg” and “Ass$s$”, those cocky lyrics come back. I listen to Sweg eight times a day with no remorse. Ending the project, mellows is down with R&B vibes. Vibes you listen to when you’re prepping for bae to come over. Vibes that sound amazing with a spliff.

So are you ready for my top 5? Alright so I originally had it in my mind to do one song from each project but I figured since Swervvvv.5 is my ultimate favorite project, I’ll switch it up a bit.

  1. Swervvvv.5 EP
  2. XOX (Flightmode)
  3. More (Hoodrich)
  4. Pause (Vibe)
  5. Childsplay (Waeveybby)

Now, I believe I’ve convinced you to at least listen to one song or even check out her Instagram. I truly believe Iamddb is the next music IT girl. When she becomes this, come back to this post and remember I told you so.