Cover photo by Livy Wicks
Following her departure from Berlin, Germany, after her Fall semester in 2019 Abby T returned to the states with new music, sharpened Djing skills, and an appetite for performing the new material she just spent months creating. In February of 2020, after an exhaustive school search for NYU program boards annual V100 concert opening act Abby T pounced at the opportunity. Abby’s portfolio stood out amongst her peers, and she was selected to be the opening act for the highly anticipated show. She shared the stage with headliners Chicago drill king Chief Keef and Mr. “The Box” himself, Roddy Rich. An opening act at a show just a few years ago she had been working.
“I was the Lackey, running around all day that day, as Abby recalls. “I remember running around all day; I had fully paid money out of my pocket to buy these artists’ pizza; Two years later, I had a rider, and I was the one being catered,” Abby says as she laughs.
Her carefully crafted thirty-minute performance included a DJ set to get the crowd seasoned to her presence on the stage, then wrapping with original music from the singer-songwriter. The energy and the audience threw Abby T into an almost premonitory daze. “It was insane. And I felt I could see my future so clearly; it was just like so inspiring.” Abby T happily reminisces. That performance unknowingly became the last live show Abby T would play and one that thousands of people would attend before a Pandemic would sweep across the globe…
Before Abby T was entrancing her supporters in venues around NYC, premiering new music on Ebro’s Beats One Radio show and her name alongside artists such as Kari Faux and JPEGMAFIA. Abigail Tawiah’s humble beginning started in the DMV, the broader area surrounding Washington DC. D(M)V. The Tawiah household was an unwavering sea of global sounds, everything from Ghanaian hiplife to American pop. Abby’s Ghanaian parents caught on to their daughters’ interest in performing artists. They enrolled her in voice and dance lessons, encouraging her to perform for anyone who would listen.
“When I would go to a grocery store with my mother, she would meet someone, and she’d say, my daughter sings.” Then gesture Abby to give an intimate performance sandwiched between the pasta, rice, and cereals aisle. “I remember having the worst stage fright,” mentioning she found that once she became involved in musical theater as an adolescent, it helped her become less afraid and more self-expressive.
With a love of words and a warm vocal tone to accompany it, it was no surprise that Abby ended up gravitating towards artists like Ed Sheran and Tori Kelly who would tell stories with their lyrics and accompany themselves with acoustic instruments. Abby just had to follow in their footsteps.
“I was a sophomore in high school, I begged my dad to buy me a guitar because I was obsessed with a lot of different singer-songwriters.” Abby T was also attracted to versatile artists like Jhene Aiko, who could sing a ballad or freestyle rap on a song. She scanned the internet searching for beats — rewriting lyrics and crafting raps with the dozens of instrumentals Abby T would find. While it started as something she did because she was obsessed with a specific song at the moment ,it served as practice for Abby’s MCing and rapping abilities. Highschool conservatory training taught her discipline, encouragement from her parents gave her the support she needed, and a passion for music was the secret ingredient to Abby T’s budding prominence.
In the three years that Abby T has been residing in NYC she has begun to foster a base of loyal and becoming fans of hers. After gigs when asked where people could find her music, while flattered the question brought Abby to an honest realization, “I had to acknowledge that I hadn’t built up my recordings” Abby voiced. “I would perform and people would ask, where can I find music? And I’m like, Hmm. I only have one thing out; I didn’t even feel it was a reflection of me.”
A few weeks into a mandated lockdown Abby took the time to relisten to old voice memos. Rereading one-liners from potential lyrics she had written months even years before. She was determined to combat the “start and stop” habit that affected her creative productivity. “I was able to take time to evaluate who I want to be and what I want to do next. And it, like, it made me hungry again.”
When revisiting one voice memo, Abby recounts the infantile stage of what would become her first official single. “My friend Anwar played me a beat when we were at his house. The percussion was grounding. And I immediately heard the chorus, melody, and I was like, Oh, snap, this catchy. I took a voice memo but we didn’t touch that song for another year.” Finally ready to finish what she started, Abby, without any-delay, called up Anwar Sawyer, friend, and producer.
“I wanted to work with him seriously. I hit him up, and I was like, Hey, look, I want to work on that song that we did. I want to work more seriously, and he said I’d thought you’d never ask, let’s go.” Their collaboration called for frequent trips to Jersey City to meet with her producer Anwar.
“I would take an hour and a half by train and he would have to pick me up. It was a whole moment, but I was determined to work with him”. All of the labor, funds, and time put into her debut single paid off in the end.
“High,” released September 25th, 2020, became the first official release for Abigail Tawiah, the 21-year-old alternative R&B singer-songwriter-producer, and self-taught selector.
“High” questions the intentions of a partner who was seemingly perfect in the beginning, yet the “nice guy facade” begins to vanish, and she begins to see them as who they really are or who they were before Abby’s euphoric visions of a relationship clouded her judgment. The repeated and looming question that Abby wants to know continuously asks her romantic partner throughout the song is, “Why you only call me when you’re high?”
Since the release of “High,” it has managed to receive thirty-nine-thousand streams from Spotify and counting. She has also created impressive online performances of the single for multiple media outlets, including Parachute Media and IG Reels. This all leads to the song’s official music video, which you can find on her youtube linked below. . .
Abby T’s music has climbed its way onto Spotify playlists; her comedic talents have propelled her to Tik Tok virality, and her presence has allowed her to share the stage with artists she once looked up to. Since discovering that she could use her voice, words, and body to tell stories, she is creating experiences and allowing others into the sacred space of her mind. Since that discovery as a child; she has not stopped and is blazing forward given the time we are living in. This year listeners can expect to be engulfed into the ingenious mind of Abby T. in 2021. A full-length project with new songs including features from eclectic collaborators and visuals to accompany every single one. I would hate to be the person who never called Abby back; meanwhile, everyone else is going to be asking where’s the new Abby T at!
About the Author:
Ania B. Holland is an observant individual with a healthy blend of fire signs in her natal chart that allows her to become a social butterfly when needed. Originally from South Jersey, the twenty-year-old now resides in Brooklyn, NY, finishing the last few semesters of her undergraduate degree from NYU. A musician, poet, avid journaler, and a master chef in the making. Creating no matter the medium has been how Ania has learned how to use her voice and share who she is with the world around her.
Writing about others has become how Ania has realized she could help amplify others’ and artists’ voices specifically. Mixed Magazine has given Ania the platform to do such that. @Ania_Holland