His Harmony: Singer ABIAH Talks “American Idol,” Jussie Smollett, Mariah Carey & New CD “Bottles”
One named-crooner ABIAH doesn’t just sing for his supper, he also teaches other vocalists how to master the craft of singing for there’s.
The Rochester, New York-bred singer boats a five-and-a-half octave range, which gives his enchanting tenor tone the ability to hit notes that Mariah Carey could only dream about at this point in her career.
On his newly-released album “Bottles” (Madoh Music Group), ABIAH presents a nine-song collection that meets at the intersections of jazz, folk, soul and country.
A song stylist with a colorful approach to capturing the essence of a tune, ABIAH describes his sound as a “love child of Anita Baker and Jeff Buckley, with Nina Simone as godmother.”
AlwaysAList.com caught up with the artist formerly known as Jeremiah—he explains the name change below—and he music competition shows, “golden throats” and the singers he would love to fine-tune their vocal approach.[divider]
Let’s start with the name change. On your debut album, “Chasing Forever” (Universal Records) you went by your first name Jeremiah. Why have you switched to ABIAH?
It took me nearly six years to release new music from my debut. By that time, so much had changed and I was basically starting over. I was also being confused with the singer Jeremih, although I came out first on a major label. It was either go to court over the name or start again with a new name. Abiah is my last name. It was the perfect way to start again with no compromise.
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Tell me about the musical story you’re telling on this album “Bottles.”
“Bottles” became a concept starting in 2012 while finishing a video for my album “Life As A Ballad.” I heard the water against the shore of the landfill beach where we were filming. The chime of bottle shards was beautiful yet fragmented. I heard the word “Bottles” whisper in my ear. It was the beginning of a beautiful discovery of content. God said to me, “are you content with your content?” It’s the story inside of this album.
This CD features a seductive collaboration “Darling Be Mine” with my favorite newer vocalist, Avery Sunshine. Why Avery and tell me about recording with her?
I absolutely love Avery. She and I were in concert together for the Google Music Series two years ago. We quickly developed a mutual love for each other’s art. It was a no-brainer honestly. She’s dope and I knew our voices would be amazing together. We had an amazing session together and formed a genuine friendship in the process.
[box_light]VIDEO: Watch the music video for ABIAH’s song “Sorry” from “Bottles” below.[/box_light]
You’ve recorded with Avery on this CD and Shanice on your first album. Two great voices! Who else are among your favorite vocalists?
Yes, I love the golden throats! The real singers! Among my favorites are Anita Baker, Rachelle Ferrell, Oleta Adams, Jazmine Sullivan, Brandy, Tweet, Tori Kelly, Lalah Hathaway, Trina Broussard and Bjork. It would be nice to work with any one of the singers I just mentioned.
How long have you been teaching voice and is there one thing you notice that most singers don’t do properly with their voice until they work with you?
I’ve been teaching voice for 15 years. I absolutely love the process of the art of learning to sing well. It’s a lost art these days. What I notice is how little singers nowadays really know. It’s not much. What I am able to do is show the true use of the breath and get rid of this diaphragm garbage that most “coaches” use.
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Is there any artist that you’d love to work with on voice lessons and if so, why?
You mentioned Jennifer; we were introduced to her through “American Idol,” which is ending this year. “The X Factor” didn’t work in the U.S. and “The Voice” has yet to really launch a household name. Why do you think the age of music competition shows is ending?
I think they are fading because they are not real. We live in a very microwave society and everyone wants to skip the process. These artists have the desire to be stars like everyone else but it’s not sustainable if there is no foundation in countless hours of toiling the dirt of practice and performance. These are the things that sustain an artist. Also, like most things, they just run their course and for those establishments, the time has passed.[divider]
ABIAH’s third album “Bottles” is available now in stores and on all digital download platforms.
[box_light]VIDEO: Watch the music video for ABIAH’s song “Gone” from “Bottles” below.[/box_light]
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