The Ethereal Talent of Absolutely

Some of you may know her as Abby Keen, but let me formally introduce you to Absolutely. Hailing from South London, Abby is no stranger to the music industry. “I’ve been songwriting since I was about 10 or 11 years old. I used to come home every day to my studio and make beats and then I started writing for other artists,” – Abby’s most notable work can be seen in ‘Fair’ for Normani, ‘Get Together’ for David Guetta, ‘Faking Love’ featuring Saweetie, ‘Gimme Your Number’ with Ty Dolla Sign, well, you get the gist. “I felt like I was always just creating even before I started writing for other artists, and then I think it got to a point where I was like, I think it’s my turn to create my own wealth now.” Abby is an artist through and through – with her formative years writing for a variety of massive artists, she’s now ready to create for herself with her debut album ‘Cerebrum.’

Music has always been a family affair for Abby when she was growing up. Born to a Swiss-Ghanian mother and British father who also grew up songwriting and producing, and her sister Raye who is currently taking the world by storm post her Brits sweep. “I was just born into it. There’s always magic around the house whether it’s my dad who taught me how to produce and write a song or my sisters belting out songs. I was born into it.” And that is clear. When it comes to her process, it seemed like there was no set process which is definitely an ode to her intuitive musical abilities she’s honed, “I’ll start with a track and then I’ll freestyle melodies on the mic, which is my favourite thing to do. It’s just so fun. Sometimes I’ll think of a concept and sometimes that comes from the melodies that I do and then I’ll just piece it all together. But it depends, it’s different every time.

When asking what it was like switching from writing for other people and then writing for herself and whether she had moments where she wanted to keep some of the work to herself, she said, “There’s definitely been some times when I’ve created something and have wanted to keep it to myself but, generally I feel like it’s really freeing being able to write for other artists because you don’t have that pressure of having it be so perfect. You know, I put so much pressure on myself when I’m writing for myself,” which is hard to believe as ‘Cerebrum’ as a body of work is a stunning and alluring invitation to her world. Apparently that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be, “I honestly don’t feel like I had much intention to do anything other than just lay a foundation and invite people into my world. I wasn’t even thinking about creating an album. I was making music and thought why not just put it together and put it out? But yeah, I’m not the best at talking sometimes. So music is my way of communicating and connecting with people.

It’s safe to say that Abby has done more than that. Crafting her unique blend of ‘alien pop’ with other elements taken from pop, R&B, alternative, soul and electronic music, her album is atmospheric and beckons listeners into a multi-dimensional journey through each track. Abby’s favourite tracks on the album are ‘Daylight’ and ‘Fever Dream’ and I said ditto. ‘Daylight’ really is the perfect introduction to Abby’s world with its ambient sound and drama, it really sets the tone. ‘Fever Dream’ on the other hand is like one is being zapped through time where it feels almost vintage and nostalgic, providing an entirely different sound. And while ‘alien pop’ might be a good start, the album doesn’t actually stick to a particular genre and that’s probably the beauty of it. It showcases Abby’s range and musical capabilities far and wide. “I struggled to fit my music into a box. I don’t know how to describe it. I guess it’s still pop because you still get those catchy melodies and that probably comes from the songwriting for other people. But then the alien side of it is because it’s unfamiliar. You know, it’s a combination of really familiar sounds and then something you haven’t heard before.

Abby has so much going on for her. A stunning new album, a discography of fabulous collaborations and a world tour alongside her sister Raye under the belt with her last performance being at the O2. When I asked her what that was like, she said, “It was a lot of things. It was beautiful and scary. Definitely scary. And it was fun. I think most of all, it helped me to grow. I was so scared to do the tour just because I don’t really like being seen, which kind of contrasts my career choice. But yeah, I was so scared to do that tour and then I just started to enjoy it more and more every night. Sometimes it was harder though, when I was feeling a bit low and that you still have to just go on and pretend like you’re having a great day. But those moments helped me to push through and grow and then the O2 was just like the pinnacle moment where I was like, wow, I just did that. ”And she, no doubt, did it beautifully. Abby’s ethereal voice and atmospheric sound felt like a beautiful handshake with the O2. A match made in heaven. 

With a new album underway, there’s no stopping Absolutely as she forges her own path as one of the most captivating new voices coming from London this year, until then her debut record ‘Cerebrum’ is available to stream everywhere.

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Words and Live show photography: Vee Pandey

Artwork Credits
Photography: Seb Xavier
Creative Direction: Tina Ibanez
Producer: Adam Ebanks
Set Design & Studio: Francesco Ciro Napolitano
Gaffer: Al Rice
Styling: Mao Miyakoshi
MUA: David Gillers

Hair: Zateesha Barbour