British singer-songwriter ABISHA is going global and bringing her signature electronic alt-R&B sound to the states with new single “Real Life” – a gorgeous follow-up to her well-received previous singles “All That,” “Project X,” “Nothing Matters,” and “Confused” via Spindle Music. “Real Life” serves as a true testament to her evolution as an artist since jumping onto the scene just two short years ago. The rich production fuses futuristic synths with sunset-sounding guitars for a nostalgia-tinged vibe to elevate the track’s lyrics, which deal with the back and forth confusion that comes with the alienation or loss of love.
ABISHA adds: “‘Real Life’ is about someone that you love feeling absent and youre not sure why. It’s sort of a metaphor because they might physically be there but it still feels like they’re not really present. So by saying ‘nobody else’s, maybe I’m selfish’ it’s kind of saying ‘I want you to myself’ but really it means ‘I just want you to be back and feel like you’re really here in this moment with me, not just physically but your mind too.’ Lyrics throughout such as ‘I need you in real time’ reflect this because it’s describing the feeling of how there’s no real concept of time when you’re with someone you love. It feels like time stands still but goes too fast.”
ABISHA’s already made massive strides worldwide with coverage going live on Clash, Complex, Covers, Daze, Euphoria, Highsnobiety, i-D, NYLON, Red Bull, and The Line Of Best Fit, to name a few. She’s also dipped her toes working with brands like ASOS, Barbour International, PUMA, Superdry, and more, and received immediate additions across playlists including Amazon’s Proud, Apple’s Best of the Week, Spotify’s New Music Friday UK, This Is How We Do, Spotify & Chill, Soultronic as well as Gay Times’ Queer & Now, i-D’s Best New Music, and The Independent’s Now Hear This to name a few.
Listen to “Real Life” on all streaming platforms here.
In each song she shares with the world, ABISHA embodies a quiet self-possession, an element especially evident in her sophisticated yet soulful vocal presence. But for the 25-year-old singer/songwriter, that confidence follows from overcoming profound insecurity, a journey closely tied to coming of age as a gay person of color in her homeland of Devon. Imbued with both raw sensitivity and understated power, ABISHA’s music intimately documents her transformation through the years-and ultimately speaks to the urgency of representation, and the radical beauty of self-acceptance. “Growing up black and gay in a place that’s largely white and where I didn’t know of anyone else who was queer, I had this feeling of being different for most of my life,” ABISHA reveals. “There wasn’t anyone around for me to identify with, and there weren’t even many popular queer artists back then-so for a long time I wanted so badly to be what I thought was normal. Now that I’m discovering who I am as an artist, I’m also discovering who I am as a person, and I’ve finally gotten to a place where I’m happy to stand out and express myself every way I can.”
Raised on a council estate in the seaside town of Paignton, ABISHA first turned to writing as an emotional outlet as a little girl, dreaming up poems from a young age and later spinning her words into songs. As the only mixed-race student in her school (her mother’s English and from Devon, her father’s of Jamaican descent), she also studied dancing for much of her childhood, but felt a deep unease at dance school. “In dance class you’re in front of a mirror the whole time, and I was always so aware that I didn’t look like the other girls,” she says. “They were all mostly petite and blonde and blue-eyed, and I was this chubby mixed-race kid with big, curly hair, and I used to cry because I desperately wanted hair like theirs. I was never bullied or anything for being different, but I had this very strong feeling that I didn’t fit in.”
After getting a guitar for her fourteenth birthday, ABISHA further immersed herself in songwriting (“At lunch I’d sit in the computer room at school and write songs on the computer instead of going outside,” she recalls). But upon leaving Devon to enroll at Goldsmiths, University of London, she decided to shift her focus away from music and get serious about her studies. “I just told myself, Get real-there’s no point in writing songs in your bedroom,'” says ABISHA. “I didn’t think I’d ever have the confidence to really put myself out there, so I got a job and went to uni and gave up on the music thing.”
Once she’d settled in London, ABISHA began to find the sense of belonging that had eluded her back home. “For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people who looked like me, and it felt amazing to not be the odd one out anymore,” she says. At the same time, her new environment brought on another kind of identity confusion. “When I first moved to London I worked at Urban Outfitters with a lot of people of color,” she says. “They spoke differently than I did and used words I’d never heard before, and they used to always tell me, ‘Oh my god, you’re so white.’ It just made me wonder if I even knew who I was at all.”
Finally finding comfort in her own skin, she’s opening up about the racism she’s faced, insecurities she’s dealt with due to the color of her skin and her sexuality while growing up in a majorly all-white small town in the UK and making note of the progress we have still yet to make in society. All throughout her upcoming project, ABISHA’s lyrics unfold with a directness that also reflects that greater self-assurance, as well as a heightened clarity about her mission as an artist. “Over the past year or so I’ve thought a lot more about what I want to convey with my music, and so much of that is about empowering people through sharing my experiences,” she says. To that end, she’s begun exploring ways to use her music, visuals, and singular fashion sense to fully embrace what sets her apart. “I think it’s so important for artists to be open, because it helps other people to feel comfortable with themselves-especially people who come from a place like I did, where they don’t have anyone they can relate to or talk to,” she says. “I’d love for my music to get through to people and help them understand that how they feel is completely okay, and they don’t ever have to hide who they truly are.”
ABISHA will be releasing fresh new content throughout the remainder of the year as well as in early 2020 via Spindle Music. Spindle Music is the new label imprint from Spindle Magazine, a platform committed to unraveling creativity and the best emerging talent across fashion, music and the arts. Distributed via AWAL/Kobalt, Spindle Music is poised to uncover the most exciting new artists in 2019 and beyond.