Tell The World You Can't Come For Me
Abra by Anna Fearon
During the early spring of her first European tour, Abra returned to her native city, London, and brought this shoot to life.
“Abra’s very down to earth and an incredibly natural model,” said stylist Hannah Grunden, on what it was like working with the Awful Records member for #TheINMag cover shoot. “She pulled off all the looks as if she had been doing it for decades, and her show was mind-blowingly amazing. She has a presence like no other. It’s a performance that feels spiritual but you’re still dancing.”
“It was really good vibes,” said photographer Anna Fearon. “She was chilling having her makeup done, having jokes with (hairstylist) Joel Benjamin and with (makeup artist) Sophie Cox. I was busy being frantic trying to get everything ready. Grunden was steaming. Mia Sakai was there with her video camera.”
I had the privilege of chatting with Abra about music, personal growth, and her nonexistent persona. With the flavor of the ‘80s, mixed with the finesse of the Internet age, this princess is on a roll and like her song “Crybaby” says, “no turning back now.”
Brooklyn White: What’s your relationship like with your parents? Have they always been supportive of your choices?
Abra: My relationship with them is good. I don’t get to see them often. They’re proud of me and supportive of me. They are my motivation. They don’t make any discomfort [as a result of (my) music] known. They realize I’m an adult and I do my thing.
BW: Can you name three albums that had an affect on your childhood?
A: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I wasn’t into Hip-Hop culture growing up, but my neighbors would let me babysit their two little girls and one weekend my neighbors went to a Lauryn Hill concert. My birthday [came up] and they asked me what I wanted. I wanted to be cool so I said a Lauryn Hill CD. It changed my life and was all I listened to for a long time. Now That’s What I Call Music. [I’m] not an album person. Linkin Park’s Reanimation and Hybrid Theory.
BW: How did college help your music career and overall development?
A: I met a lot of people who thought differently than the way I was brought up. I took anthropology classes and they helped me become more empathetic. [Began] analyzing instead of judging. Not so quick to have an answer, or an opinion. I met this guy named Mario Register. He believed in me, he thought I was a star. [After meeting him] I came up with songs. I was more confident.
BW: Where do you go when seeking new concepts?
A: I get ideas that feel right and look for images to build the world up in my head.
BW: Who are you at your best?
A: I am forgiving, strong willed, disciplined … I’m a good listener. Sacrificial. Imaginative. Creative.
BW: At your worst?
A: I indulge in negative emotions. Critical, negative, judgmental. I don’t see the light and I don’t try to look for it. Cold. Fearful of being vulnerable.
BW: How have you grown in the past year?
A: A lot actually. I learned to better monitor my emotions and motives. I took time to look under the hood. [I] became more patient and understanding. Let people in more. Learning about myself helped me love people better and [allowed me to let] people with impure motives to exist without seeking retaliation. [I now] save the best parts of myself for the people who care.
BW: What is your message?
A: I don’t really have a message. I want to be successful in living in my truth. I don’t have to pretend to be anyone I am not.
BW: What excites you?
A: New projects, concepts, ideas, love, the future, and looking back at all the people I’ve met.
BW: How do you mentally prepare? [Is it] like, “Okay let me go into baby girl mode?”
A: I’m too lazy for pretense. I’m a fanciful person. Like I can spend a week in my room [in my head], but there still isn’t a persona. I don’t practice before shows. [I focus on] being present.
BW: What does “Fortune favors the bold” mean to you?
A: Don’t hesitate to make decisions. Don’t be afraid. Someone told me that shy people are really conceited. They think everyone is looking at them when people really don’t care. Don’t hesitate to do you. Peek around the doors if you want to. Any mistake you make, it’s okay. Risky decisions have led me to great success. “U GO I GO”, was my first serious self-produced song. Like, the first self-produced song I pitched to blogs. Before, I had always worked with a producer. Poe [of Awful Records] said, “This is fi”, and it ended up being the best decision. Don’t let fear dictate.
Be sure to cop her latest EP, Princess, available on iTunes.
Originally published in IN #5, Fall 2016
Swim Good Look:
TIALS swimsuit, Bombe Surprise faux fur coat, Pretty Little Thing boots
All White Look:
Francesca Capper top and trousers
Purple Top, White Pants:
American Deadstock top, Ellesse joggers
Kim West latex dress, Francesca Capper jacket
All Black Look:
Kim West latex top & shorts