Q&A with ABIR
PHOTOS // JIMMY FONTAINE
STORY // ANGIE PICCIRILLO
Like many pop singers, ABIR started grooming herself for stardom at a young age, singing everything from JLO to Keyshia Cole, and everyone in between like a non-stop karaoke DJ. But unlike many singers who’ve made it today, ABIR is not a clone of any other pop star before her… Her debut EP, MINT, was just recently released, with stellar tracks like “Young and Rude” to the super-relatable “For Ya,” ABIR has only shown us inklings of what she’s capable of so far.
The songs on this EP have been said to be reflective of the life she’s actually lived since graduating from George Mason University and taking the mega-bus to New York City, where she now calls home. It was there that she went from singing other people’s music to being discovered by Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman — who spotted her in Brooklyn when she performed ahead of rapper Aminé.
Up until recently, ABIR had never been on a real traveling tour — that is until she joined KIIARA at the end of October for a 16-city tour. Undoubtedly, for ABIR — this is just the beginning.
“Young and Rude” sounds like it has some world music influence – would you agree with that at all?
I definitely hear it now that I’ve had a chance to sit back and take the music in, but it wasn’t intentional, haha. I am super excited to get into more worldly music, specifically some Arab drum patterns/melodies. Soon, though!
From your past, it seems you love everything from Pop music to rap — what are your favorite genres currently?
Right now, I’m into a lot of R&B and Pop music. I’ve been jamming Daniel Caesar, Teyana Taylor, and Ariana Grande a bunch.
You’ve sung everyone from JLo to Keyisha Cole before — What other artists inspire you now? If you had to sing a song at Karaoke, what is your “go-to” track now?
I’m still super inspired by the music I grew up listening to/singing. I find myself listening to more older music than new. I was just jamming Destiny’s Child “Fulfilled” album and Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” last week and felt so inspired. I would say my go-to karaoke record now is “I’m Real” by JLo! I even got the Ja Rule parts down.
Your EP, MINT, was just released — tell us what it was like the day before it was released. Were you nervous? Were you excited? Did you do anything special to celebrate?
I was suuuuuper nervous up until the second it was released and the responses started coming in. After that, I started feeling the excitement of having my first project out and was ready to celebrate with all my friends, family, and fans at my release party. I performed a couple of the records and then danced the night away.
You’ve said that your songwriting as a kid was often based on “fantasy,” especially when it comes to relationships — how was that method changed today? Do you now pull from real events in your life?
I didn’t feel like I had any experiences that people could really relate to when I was younger so I always insisted on writing about love and heartbreak from the relationships I saw on movies/TV. Nowadays, I actually pull from things that happen in my everyday life…like going out with friends, relationships, living in the concrete jungle, and everything in between.
Of all the songs on this EP, which one means the most to you?
I would say ‘For Ya’ means the most. It summarizes my feelings on the things that are changing around me and reminds me that everyone’s growing up.
What are your plans for 2019?
I’m super excited to get back in the studio after tour and release some new music at the top of the new year!
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