The singer-songwriter has a huge personality and even bigger voice. She performed on the Spotlight Stage and around The O2 throughout the weekend, winning fans over left, right and centre.
I sat down with Abby before she performed on the BBC Radio 2 stage to talk about her current E.P. I’m Good, find out when she’ll be back in the UK and discuss her forthcoming new music.
I saw you on Friday performing on the Spotlight Stage and you were awesome…
Thank you! Oh I was nervous as crap!
Really? You couldn’t tell. You worked that stage like a seasoned pro…
I was nervous because I cared so much. I always like a little bit nerves. It was just strange to me, I’ve never played an arena full of 20,000 people before ever. I’ve played big clubs and stuff but that was the first time. What was nerve wracking is you know that 20,000 people are in there but you can’t see any of them. I’m so used to, when I’m performing, being able to see everybody in the crowd and you can do that in clubs. You can’t do that in an arena. I felt like I was saying to myself the whole time (laughs) a little bit. It was a little nerve wracking but I’m really thankful for that opportunity.
It’s such an important time for female artists in this genre particularly and I think you’re so refreshing because you’ve just got this huge personality. You’re just so infectious to watch and I’ve been captivated by you this weekend. You seem so relaxed on stage and you’re just yourself. Do you find that easy?
I’m just a big old attention hog (laughs). I just absolutely love it. My manager will tell you and my really close friends will tell you that when I’m just with them, I’m still me. but it’s definitely a more chilled version of me. On social media and when I’m on stage it’s definitely an extra version because the entertainer turns on and I love it.
I’ve been really enjoying your I’m Good E.P. There really isn’t a bad track and there’s so much variety…
Oh man I really appreciate that! I wouldn’t call it a cohesive project (laughs) but thank you.
Those are the best kind. When you listen to an album or an E.P. and every song sounds the same, you wonder what the point is. Yours has five distinctly different songs. How did that all come together and why did you choose those five?
Oh I love that question I’ve never gotten that before actually. They were five songs that were just my favourite. I’ve been writing in Nashville since I was 18 and when that project came out I was 21 so it’s not like I only had five songs I had hundreds of them but those were the ones that made me smile. Those were the ones that brought me the most joy that I jammed out to my car so I was like, ‘well shoot if I like them, I think other people will hopefully unless I just have awful taste in music’ (laughs). They’re just songs that made me happy and that’s all I want to do with music in the future. I don’t think too much about necessarily telling a story with the order of my songs or being too artsy with it. I’m not creative enough to to be that kind of artist like so many others.
I think you’re doing yourself down there…
Well, I mean there’s some artists who put out an album and they have a whole backstory to it and why they picked the songs. It’s a lot less meticulous for me. I’m like, ‘do I like it or not? OK well I’ll put in on there!’ (laughs) I’m really not creative in that aspect so that’s how I picked them. It’s really that simple, honestly. (laughs).
I love how you can go from something as feisty as I’m Good to something like Make Him Wait, which has such an important message for your fans both female and male. That song shows a completely different side to you. Why did you want to put that message out in particular?
It was a message that my parents raised us with. I’m the second of seven kids, six of which are girls. I ask my parents this all the time, ‘how did you raise us with so much confidence?’ because I really believe that’s the biggest blessing that God ever gave me. That confidence in my heart and it’s because of my parents. I’ve just always known that I was beautiful on the inside. I’ve always believed that I was the daughter of God and whether you believe in God or not, whatever you believe, I’ve always had that inner belief that I was special. That I was worth something and that’s because of my parents. A lot of girls my age, you’re absolutely right, don’t know that and don’t understand that.
Before I even wrote that song I would get messages from girls my age all the time asking me, ‘how are you so confident?’ or ‘I got heartbroken by this guy and I keep going back to him and I just feel crappy and I feel useless’. The ticket for me was I got a phone call from a friend who was just bawling her eyes about about this guy. Don’t get me wrong Pip, I’ve cried plenty of times about boys before but I always knew I was worth more than that. I was worth more than a broken heart. That morning we went and wrote this song and I was like, ‘goodness if every girl in the world had a dad like mine, what is something they would know?’ It’s not about playing games it’s not about being rude or stingy, it’s about knowing what your worth is because you are worth the wait. Whether you’re a girl or a guy.
It can be a confusing message for kids when you look at what’s going on in the world of pop and you see the way that a lot of the artists are dressing and the songs they’re singing are very provocative. It’s nice to hear something that’s the opposite and letting them know they don’t have to be like that…
I appreciate that. I listen to those artists and to each his own. It sells. I believe the other side can sell as well. I think you can be both. Don’t get me wrong Pip, I like dressing sexy but I think there’s a way to do it classy in a classy way and in a confident way.
Let’s talk about your voice. The thing that struck me when I saw you perform is that I don’t think I’ve heard a voice like yours before. Where did your voice come from and when did you know you had it?
Thank you! Oh wow. It came from my mom. The first voice I ever remember was my mother’s. She’s like me but she’s way cooler than I’ll ever be! She’s an El Paso, Texas girl which is kind of on the border of Texas and Mexico. She grew up singing country music and she’s the first voice I ever heard. I always sang in church with my sisters. I don’t think I remember thinking, ‘oh hey I can sing’ which is very strange. You’re the first person to ever ask me that and I don’t remember ever thinking I could. I do remember thinking, ‘oh hey I really like all this attention’ (laughs), that’s what I remember thinking to myself, just a little brat. The first time I guess I knew I had something was when I was told, ‘hey you should move to Nashville’. That’s probably when I thought, ‘maybe I’ve got something’.
That’s a pretty good sign isn’t it?
I guess so but I mean shoot Pip, there’s so many talented girls in Nashville. You could throw a penny out on any corner and some girl prettier than me, smarter than me and a better writer and better voice than me will pick it up. Why I got to pick up the lucky penny God only knows but I’m sure glad he let me.
I’m getting the impression that you don’t know just how good you are…
Oh I don’t know (laughs) Thank you!
Before you got here, I heard from so many of my fellow Country writers about how great your music is and that you’re fun to interview. There’s been a real buzz about you. This is your first trip to the UK and everybody’s already talking about you. How does that feel?
I feel very blessed. I had a little bit of a UK following in the States when these girls would just message me and then I find out they’re from the U.K. and there’s a whole group of them that love my music. I got to meet them here finally and they’ve been at every show I’ve played here, front row singing every word to every song. And even guys too that’s been really fun. I’m like, ‘guys listen to my music. That’s awesome!’ (laughs) It’s been very humbling. I think that’s the perfect word for it. Very humbling.
Are you making plans to come back?
Oh goodness yes! Definitely coming back here. I’m just going to put it out to the world. The plan is to come back in October. That’s the goal. I definitely want to come back here and make London and the UK a priority.
What else do you have coming up this year?
Oh just world domination, you know we’re going to be everywhere! The thing I’m most excited about right now is I’ve got a new song coming out, my next single to Country radio is coming out this month, March 22nd. Then I go to all these Country festivals in the States and then I’m going on tour with Rob Thomas this summer. I’m so excited!! I’m really excited to learn from him, he’s a pro and he’s a legend. After that my calendar is just getting more full every day. New music… maybe an E.P., maybe an album. I don’t know yet. I’m excited to see how all these songs are going to come together.
I’m looking forward to it. The I’m Good E.P. is brilliant and you’ve been a stand out in the performances this weekend. I’m excited for you!
As an artist. I appreciate the affirmation because I tend to get inside my head a lot and it’s easy to second guess yourself sometimes so I really appreciate that.
Abby Anderson’s E.P. I’m Good is available now to download and stream. She has a new single coming out on Friday 22nd March 2019. Watch the video for Make Him Wait below: