- Words Lauren Sneade
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’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 her songwriting process, how her life changed when she moved to London and more. Dive in!
How does your songwriting process work?
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!
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.
Rihanna, Kehlani, SZA, Sasha Sloan, Oh Wonder, Mahalia… to name a few.
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.
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.
More surprises music-wise, I’d like to incorporate some other genres into my sound. Some live shows too once we’re around!