‘No Expectations’ with Abby Simone

Abby Simone’s signature sound has been hailed as “a cosmic fusion of lo-fi acoustics and R&B sonics” and nothing could be more accurate. Raised in Singapore in a household where pop music was banned, as a child, she found herself finding creative ways to listen to Destiny’s Child and N.E.R.D. More recently, Abby spent two years crafting her EP ‘No Expectations’ before making a big move to Amsterdam to live out her dreams, and even made her live UK debut at The Great Escape this month. ‘No Expectations,’ short and sweet at 4 tracks sees Abby soars through a range of emotions from melancholy to celebratory, while sharing all too familiar tales of navigating relationships, heartbreaks, and basking in moments of joy.

In this interview, we spoke with Abby about her the title track of her EP ‘No Expectations’, an anthem for cutting toxic people out of your life, her songwriting process from melody to lyrics, the big decision to move to Amsterdam to further establish her career, and things she misses about living in Singapore (hint: it’s the food!)

Hi Abby, thanks so much for chatting with us. Coming from a Christian household in which pop music was banned is a fascinating background for a pop influenced artist! Could you tell us about your relationship with music growing up, and how that transitioned into you becoming an artist yourself?

Hi! Wow, my relationship with music went from guilt to ‘I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong’ to ‘omg music is life’. Its hard to go against your parents especially since you’re taught to never disobey them. When I released my first single I called my mom & said

“Ma, you know I’m here musically because I had to disobey you right?” and she laughed & said, “Ok ok don’t do it all the time”. 

I became an artist by surviving instinctually. I trusted my gut and f* went for it! 

As well as pop, there’s beautiful fusions of lo-fi jazz, and beautifully atmospheric moments throughout your EP, who or what inspired you to take this musical direction? 

I have been fascinated with Movie soundtracks. One day I started humming a main lead  to Cornfield Chase (Interstellar). I wanted to hear what the voice could do over a piece like that. I want to be a great storyteller with or without lyrics. 

P.s Humming to movies happens only when Im watching movies alone. 

It must have been incredible to create this project over two years while living in Singapore. What was that two year experience like, and what do you miss about living there?

There was a lot of figuring out who I was musically & what my sound is. Maybe my head was still conformed to the restrictions of doing music as freely as I wanted. It was only after I moved to Europe that I was able to complete this project!  I will always be grateful to have grown up in a culturally rich place like Singapore. I miss my family, my friends & THE FOOD. Please google “Singapore food”, click Images and just look at that. 

When creating a song, do you normally start with songwriting or the melody?

90% its usually a melody. I’d have been humming that tune for days and immediately pick up my guitar once that tune solidifies in my head. I always ask myself “Do I really wanna turn that into a song, if the melody is gone?”.

Your lead single ‘No Expectations’ is about removing toxic people from your life, and you’ve mentioned this song could act as a mantra for people who want to do the same. Does the inspiration for this song come from a personal situation? 

LOL YES. Its not about a holier than thou attitude but when I realised that things can go to shit quite fast if I don’t take care of myself and my mental health. I used to be such a yes girl but walking on egg shells is messy. Now Im surrounded by people who’d literally fly over the continent for me if I needed their help and these are the people I’ll only ever need. 

So far you’ve released lyric videos, now that the EP is out do you have any plans for a music video?

oooooo yesssssssssss

Do you have a personal favourite track from the EP? And which song do you think will be most fun to perform live? 

For Once! It always brings me back to my solo clubbing days & Same Sunrise! I cannot wait to arrange it and bring the atmospheric feels we were just talking about, to live!

Follow Abby Simone on Instagram

Words: Cleopatra Bailey