Rising alt-R&B musician, ABISHA, speaks on her latest single "Time Alone", what's next in store, and being excited to play live again.

Bringing us the sounds of South London via Devon is ABISHA, hottest introvert on the scene. Her easy, delicate vocals set her apart from others in the latest crop of Contemporary R&B queens. She’s serious about self-acceptance, self-reflection, and doesn’t care for genre boundaries.

 

ABISHA’s music has all the quiet desire of such classics as Shontelle’s “T-Shirt”, or Destiny’s Child’s “Emotion”, but her new single “Time Alone” proves she’s able to crank it up a notch with afro-beats laid down over lyrics which explore strength in solitude when life in 2020 has got that little bit too much. It’s a mover with real emotion at its core.  Chatting to ABISHA, it seems that this mirrors her own contradictions. Devon-born country girl, on making the move to south London’s Peckham, ABISHA was able to find her groove as a Black and queer artist in the hustle of city life.

 

Growing up in Devon, now 25-year-old ABISHA tells us that the closest she got to finding a role model in popular culture was Mel B (AKA Scary Spice). For ABISHA, one of the big motivations behind her music is leading others to feel comfortable with themselves. She is firm on making music in her own style, and at her own pace. But she emphasises that part of her self-discovery has been the realisation that as much as 2020 has been a break-out year for her, she needs time alone.

abisha
abisha

ABISHA’s debut single “All That” was released in 2017 to much affirmation. Followed by her ‘Scorpio’ EP earlier this year, ABISHA has gained traction as a woman to watch. The EP’s production is sophisticated, pairing confident drum beats with gentle guitar riffs. “Love Like This”, the second track on the album pushes ABISHA’s vocals to the fore in a stirring exploration of queer love and bad timing.

 

“Time Alone” is an ode to self-care, tied up in a breezy Afro-Pop production. Speaking on the single, ABISHA said: “I wrote the song about needing to escape and have a minute to myself when I’m struggling with feeling down or overwhelmed. I think it’s quite a relatable feeling – when everything just feels too much – and I wanted to make the song uplifting in order to normalize it and make people feel like it’s okay to feel like that sometimes”.

 

We spoke to the up-and-coming artist about XXX. Dive in!

abisha
abisha

How does your songwriting process work?

I keep a note on my phone which I write lyrics in every day. It varies from one-word lyrics, song titles, or even a full chorus and they come to me at random times throughout the day. When I go to the studio to work with a producer I choose one of those lyrics or just ideas and roll with that for the session. Once I’m there we usually start building upon that lyric, starting with a melody and then adding lyrics as the melody forms. The writing of the song is one of my favourite parts.
“Time Alone” really speaks to a sense of world-weariness that we’ve all been feeling at some point. How has your music evolved out of the swamp that’s been 2020?
My music has definitely become a lot more self-reflective over the course of 2020. I think the craziness of the year has forced everyone to spend time with themselves and confront things about themselves that they might have previously ignored or not acknowledged. The need to take a breather and spend time by myself has (ironically) been something that I’ve discovered that I need; I get very easily overwhelmed by small things and need to take myself away and hide for a bit.
You talk about being influenced by the feeling of not belonging in rural Devon being Black and queer. Were there artists you listened to back then who helped you feel a sense of belonging?
There weren’t a lot of queer musicians around when I was growing up, in fact, I don’t think I was aware of any. As a young child, I loved the Spice Girls as I felt that Mel B was someone who vaguely looked like me and represented mixed race women.

Is there anything you wish you could tell your teenage self?

I’d tell my teenage self to embrace my differences and the things that made me who I am. I’d tell myself to not try and blend in but to stand out. Also to work hard towards my dream and not be so distracted by temporary things!

abisha
abisha
What changed for you when you moved to London?

Everything. My whole world felt so much bigger. There was a whole world out there that I wasn’t even aware of. My confidence began to grow, I felt I had more of a purpose. I realised that my dream could really become a reality.

 Who would you love to collab with?

Rihanna, Kehlani, SZA, Sasha Sloan, Oh Wonder, Mahalia… to name a few.

You seem to move effortlessly between different styles – how would you describe your sound?

I think my sound is pretty fluid. I don’t go into writing a song with a particular genre in mind, I just see how it flows when I start writing, or how I’m feeling on that day. If I had to put an overall genre on my sound I’d say it’s Alt R&B.

What would be your dream venue, or festival to perform at once we’re all able to go again?

I’d obviously love to play Glastonbury. I haven’t performed on a big stage yet so any big stage would be a dream! I’m even excited to do intimate gigs.

You have an effortless sense of style. What are your wardrobe staples?
Thank you! Honestly, comfort is the main thing for me so a lot of joggers and hoodies – I love a bold print and anything slightly unusual. fluffy socks are also a staple for me because I’m always cold haha!!
What’s next in store?

More surprises music-wise, I’d like to incorporate some other genres into my sound. Some live shows too once we’re around!

Stream ABISHA's single "Time Alone" below:

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