A rising star masterminding her glittering artistic output, we share cosmic conversation with singer-songwriter Absolutely, on her love for all things sci-fi, fantasy and writing music.

In a universe where genres collide together and innovation sparks, Abby Keen, known by her stage name Absolutely, creates music that seems to transcend time itself. Her other-worldly R&B melodies echo as if journeyed from a distant future, before gracefully landing at their rightful destination: Earth.   


Absolutely has previously worked behind the scenes, co-writing hits for big name artists like Normani, Saweetie, David Guetta, Anitta, and Tinashe, to name a few. But now, she boldly steps into her own celestial spotlight as a solo songwriter. Her debut album, Cerebrum, released in 2023, pushes back against conventional music, elevating her creativity to new heights.  


Growing up in a musical household with her Ghanaian-Swiss mother and English father, Absolutely and her older sister, global star Raye, developed a deep love for gospel, soul, jazz, and church music. Inspired by her upbringing and guided by her profound connection to God, spirituality and the cosmos – Absolutely is light-years ahead, creating her own distinctive world of experimental beats and bold dreamy soundscapes.

Congratulations on the release of your debut album, Cerebrum. You described each track on the album as corresponding to a different room or chamber of your mind. What inspired you to take this conceptual approach?   

Although the thirteen songs on Cerebrum are all sonically and lyrically very different, they all co-exist in the same world. I view the songs as an artistic translation of everything that goes on in my mind. They all inspired different feelings in me and so each song is my expression of that particular feeling. I find it difficult to express myself verbally, but speaking in music comes naturally to me – I always say that music is like my first language. I speak through melodies and the words come after. 

How would you describe your music style or genre?   

I’ve always found it difficult to categorise my music because I like to blend a variety of sounds and feelings. I take influences from so many different genres, like R&B, alternative, soul, electronic or rock, but present these influences in the language of pop. I’m never consciously thinking about what category a song would fit into when I’m making it, I’m just letting it be whatever it needs to be and trying to sonically replicate whatever my heart is feeling at the time. 

What albums/artists were you listening to whilst recording Cerebrum  

I actually recorded most of those songs a couple years ago, so it’ hard to remember! But if I were to guess it would have been a lot of Stevie Wonder, 070 Shake, Cocteau twins, Frank Ocean and Pink Floyd but I’m mostly always listening to Christian music like Maverick City Music and Elevation Worship

Do you draw inspiration from any other sources, such as in literature, film, or personal experiences?   

I love everything about sci-fi and fantasy. I’ve always had quite a big imagination and I grew up loving fairytales and fictional stories. I even used to make my own little story books. I think that childlike imagination never left me, it’s just expanding and evolving. I love to create new worlds, visually and sonically, into something that doesn’t already exist so that I can escape. My friends and family have always said that I’m a big daydreamer and I space out a lot, that is probably because I mentally run away to these places in my head, places that nobody else can see but me. I’m excited now that the more I create, I’m able to share these worlds with fans.

Joining your sister RAYE for the My 21st Century Blues World Tour seems like an insane opportunity to connect with new audiences. It must be exciting for you! How does performing live compare to the creative process of recording? Do you enjoy it?

If I’m honest, performing for me has been a huge mental battle. Before going on tour, I was so anxious, losing sleep and tears because of my fear of being on stage. I’m quite a shy, introverted person, and I don’t feel comfortable being in crowded places, never mind the entire crowd being focused on me! At first, it sounded like my worst nightmare. It was really tough to navigate that part of myself knowing that I didn’t have much choice if being an artist is really what I wanted to do. The positive is that I just had to completely say goodbye to my comfortability and take the leap. The tour started and the more I was on stage, the more I started to loosen up and enjoy myself. Still, the one thing I was struggling with was talking and connecting with the crowd. The singing came naturally to me but having to talk with all these eyes watching me was tough. However, every tough moment led to me finding my feet a little more. I’m so grateful to have had that experience, I’ve grown so much and I can now say that I like performing (mostly) which is a huge step from that first day of the tour.   

Before stepping into the spotlight as an artist, you made big waves behind the scenes with your songwriting for artists like Normani, Anitta, and Tinashe. How has your songwriting journey shifted from writing for others to crafting your own music?   

I love writing for other artists! It’s fun to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, there’s a freedom that I don’t have while writing my own music. However, the goal was always to be my own artist. I was just waiting until the time was right and I understood my sonic identity a little more. It started when I got in the studio with Dave Hamelin, the main producer of my album. We created music that felt more ‘me’ than anything ever had. And from then my sound has been evolving and becoming something authentic and beautiful.   

Could you describe the emotions you hope your listeners will feel as they immerse themselves in your musical journey?   

A huge goal of mine, for the music I’m creating, is that I want it to wake up every cell in our bodies so that we snap out of the trance that life has us caught in. It’s so easy for us to take for granted the beauty within the small details of the world and I believe that we were created to immerse ourselves in the many wonders of God’s creation. However, the leaders of this world want us to be stuck in a system that benefits them, where we are numb to our surroundings and we go through the motions in a version of the world where everything is grey and where every day feels the same. I want my music to make us remember that we are here to enjoy our lives and to spark something in people that they may have forgotten ever existed. Through my music, I hope people can feel seen and free to just be. 

Who’s your favourite artist you’ve worked with in the studio that you can name drop?   

I’ve recently been working with H.E.R. She is incredibly talented and has a beautiful soul. It’s been a pleasure creating with her. Writing with artists isn’t always the freeflowing collaborative process people think it is. But with H.E.R, I truly feel inspired, even outside of music, just for the way that she carries herself and knows herself. Those are the kinds of artists that I am happy to put my time and energy into. I also grew up listening to her music so it’s a beautiful fullcircle moment

Looking ahead, what can fans, new and old, expect from your future projects?   

I’m actually on the way to finishing my second album. It’s definitely an evolution from Cerebrum. It’s more honest and experimental, and it sounds like me becoming who I’ve always meant to be. As I’m developing, I’m discovering all the parts of myself that I wouldn’t usually express outside of a song while exploring existentialism and figuring out my place in the world. I’m 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 through music.  

Listen to 'Waterslides' now: