Each month, Unheard Voices partners with Reverbnation to find emerging talent making a noise in the music industry. Here at Unheard Voices, we like to feature artists who often go overlooked in an industry that likes to praise mainstream success. For the month of June, we would like to introduce Abel.
Abel is a talented singer from Orlando who just recently moved to the Atlanta area. Abel describes his music as soulful styles of R&B combined with hip-hop instrumentation. His voice is undeniable. One listen to Abel’s voice, I knew I had to pick him.
Unheard Voices was able to ask Abel a few questions to get to know this artist on the rise.
Check out the interview below:
UV: When did you fall in love with music?
Abel: Man, I’ve been in love with music since the beginning. My earliest memory is my moms popping in a cassette tape and hearing Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, and hearing the groove and articulation of Michael Jackson’s vocal performance. Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with it. I can’t think of a time that I’ve wanted to do anything else besides music.
UV: How long have you been creating and performing music
Abel: I started with piano in 2nd grade, just learning about music theory and studying the structure of a song. Even at that age, I knew that I had to study my favorite artists in order to be inspired by them. I wrote my first song at eight years old, so it obviously wasn’t anything great. I started performing in shows around 8th grade, but wasn’t really singing publicly until like 10th grade or so. I was sort of forced into it because my old band was supposed to play my local venues last show. The venue owner was like a mother to me, and I didn’t want to let her down or anything so I got ready to embarrass myself with an acoustic guitar. But people were rocking with it, so I just kept it going. I never had the confidence to sing in front of people until that night.
UV: How would you describe your music?
Abel: This is a pretty tough question to answer. I’ve always watched interviews with other artists where they find it hard to describe their own music, and I never got it. Now that I’m in the same position, I totally feel them! I’d like to think that I make music that people can relate to. I listen to a lot of songs where I’m like “Man, I wonder what they were thinking when they wrote that.” I usually just write what I’m feeling at the time, and put it together in a way where someone who lives a totally different life than me can relate to it. The connection that you can have with another person through music is astounding, and it’s one of the reasons I love the art from so much.
UV:What artists have the greatest musical influences on you and your music?
Abel: I could go on and on for weeks about the artists that have influenced my music, honestly. Michael Jackson is my biggest inspiration in life. His artistry, performance, raw talent especially at a young age. These are things that no one can ever replicate in a way that he did. Stevie Wonder is another artist to influence the way I hear music. In 4th grade my music teacher played the class “Sir Duke” from the Songs In The Key of Life album. All the kids went to recess after the class, but I stayed in and listened to the first part of the album instead. That was the first day I heard my favorite album. Kanye West and Beyoncé are also big influences on my artistry. I’m inspired by visionaries, which I believe all the people above have proven to be.
UV: I see you’re from Atlanta, how have your tapped into the growing Atlanta music scene?
Abel: I’m actually pretty new to Atlanta. I recently moved here after graduating from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL. But Atlanta has always been the move. I visited the city once in high school, and knew that it was the place for me. I’ve been focusing on getting to know the city better, and making connections with people in the music scene here. I write, record, produce, mix, master, and make all the album art for every thing I make so I spend most of my time in the studio. I’m always down to play a show in the city, though.
UV:What is the hardest challenge you have encountered with building your fan base?
Abel: I think that one of the hardest challenges in cultivating a fan base for me is that I haven’t adjusted to the new workflow of getting as many songs out as possible, as fast as possible. This is in no way a diss to any one either, because adapting to that workflow is extremely impressive. It’s just that I’ve always been very protective of my music, wanting to make sure that everything is perfect. My EP that just dropped took me a year to release, since I was doing everything from scratch essentially. Although I’m already working on the full length, the process is still going to take a while. But I feel that I will eventually reach the audience that prefers quality over quantity.
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UV: Has anyone ever given you negative feedback on your music, if so how did you react to it?
Abel: So far I haven’t had any negative feedback on my music that I know of, aside from someone disliking a video on YouTube. To be honest, I really wouldn’t care if I did get negative feedback. Not to sound dismissive in any way, but I make music that I’m proud of. I’m totally open to other interpretations of my music, but I know what kind of sound I’m going for. Even if there was a chance that I would never make it in the music industry because no one liked the music I made, it’s okay. I’d rather make music I love and be without the riches and fame, instead of making music that I don’t want to perform every night.
UV: How important and/or how difficult is it to support your career with your own funding?
Abel: Funding my music isn’t as difficult yet, since I went to college to study audio engineering. I graduated top of my class and worked the studios there, learning how all the equipment works. Because of that, I’m able to make my own records without paying for studio time. I’m extremely lucky to learn what I did there, and now I have my own home studio in Atlanta that I work out of.
You have to really want it, to the point that it scares you to think about doing anything else.
UV:To date, what has been your best performance? When was it, where was it and why is it your best performance?
Abel: My best performance so far was in Miami, right before I moved to ATL. I played this club in Miami Beach, and there was like 150-200 people there. I got up there and played my set, and everyone was rocking with it. Usually, I have people rocking with my music live, but a packed club of people cheering and clapping after every song was dope. Plus they gave me a free bottle of champagne from the bar!
UV:Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Abel: In the next five years, I see myself being satisfied with the music I’ve made. The ideal life in five years is the accolades, the award shows, the fans, and the ability to play to crowds every night and make music with my hero’s. But as long as I’m proud of the music and the art, I’m happy with whatever comes.
UV: Do you have any upcoming shows?
Abel: I’m working on booking some shows, but I want to get to know the area a bit more before I start booking like crazy. I try to be strategic with everything I do, and you have to hit the right places at the right time in order to make an impact. I wanna get to know the city, so that they can welcome me in as a regular.
UV: What` current projects do you have out or forthcoming projects in progress?
Abel: I just released my debut EP “Missed Calls”, in March! (https://itun.es/us/-cOzib) You can check it out on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Soundcloud, DatPiff, Bandcamp, Youtube, and more. As for future releases, I’m working hard on my debut album right now.
UV: In closing, I would like you to leave the Unheard Voices readers words of encouragement and inspiration, especially for those pursuing a career in music and entertainment.
Abel: If any one is reading this, I want you to know that anything is possible if you are willing to do more than just talk about it. Not just in the entertainment industry, but also in anything you do. You have to really want it, to the point that it scares you to think about doing anything else. You’ll lose sleep, you’ll lose friends, you’ll more than likely lose out on really good relationships. It may suck for a while, but if you’re focused it’ll all be worth it eventually. The accomplishment of making music that you love is definitely one that I’m proud of, but I need everyone to understand that I still have so much more to do. I’ll never stop until my life is exactly where it needs to be. Earl Nightingale once said, “Most people tiptoe their way through life, hoping they make it safely to death.” Please don’t spend your life trying to just make it through the day. Take risks, learn from failures, and let rejection motivate you to comeback even stronger the next time. In the end it will all be worth it. For me, this is only the beginning.
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