I have never been so excited for an artist to come to the UK! My friends in the UK Country music scene are probably sick of me saying the words "Abby Anderson is the next big thing in Country" as I've been saying it for the best part of three years! But honestly this girl is going places and she is going to be at C2C in London in March so for the first time the rest of the UK can fall in love with her music. She is a brilliant songwriter who's working with other brilliant songwriters, and her personality shines through in her music, she's funny yet kind and caring and sticks to her family values. It was great to catch up with my old friend over the phone and she is just as excited to be coming to the UK as we are to see her play!
Tell me about the first moment you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
Oh gosh, I love this question because it goes back to my family, I was raised in a big family, I’m the second of seven and from a young age growing up in a big family you know you have to find your thing that sets you apart from your siblings. My parents enrolled us all in piano lessons at the age of five so as soon as I started playing piano I realised people started listening to me, they gave me the time of day haha so the little attention hog came out in me and the little performer came out in me and I knew I didn’t just want to be a singer, I wanted to be an entertainer for the rest of my life.
So what did your parents play to you growing up and what are you listening to now?
Oh I love that question, when I was with my mum in the car, she was always playing country music like Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn all the oldies and Linda Ronstadt, KT Oslin and she introduced me to Elvis Presley the first love of my life haha and then Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin. She’s the one who introduced me to the artists that inspire me and my music today and then when I was in the car with my Dad it was always top 40 pop radio so I got a good mix of both Worlds.
Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to your own lyric writing?
I’d like to think that I draw inspiration from things that are going on in my life but at the same time I draw inspiration from things that are going on in my life and maybe if it makes the song more interesting you know I’ll add a little twist to it just to make it more exciting, I’ve always had a very active imagination and always liked telling good stories. So sometimes things come out of thin air and if it feels good, it feels good and if it makes you dance, it makes you dance and for me it doesn’t necessarily need to be from my life because it’s going to be true for somebody else.
Can you tell me about your writing process, is it different every time or do you like to start from a title or a hook?
Nah, it’s different every time, I wish there was more of a process coz it would drive me less insane haha I wish I was more methodical about everything but my brain is all over the place. Sometimes I’ll walk into a writing session with a verse and chorus totally done because I was working on it till 2am the night before and then other times I’ll walk in with absolutely no idea and someone else like my producer Josh Kerr will have a track going and I’ll start singing a melody and some words that make sense with it and you just kinda go with the flow. So yeah every time is totally different.
I love your EP I’m Good I now have it digitally and a physical copy! Can you tell me about some of the writers you collaborated with on it?
Oh yeah, so I wrote a lot with Josh Kerr, he produced three of the songs on there, I wrote with Jason Massey, Jesse Frasure, and then Dance Away My Broken Heart was actually written by Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett to be a name dropper haha but I got to work with a vast array of talented people and it was a ball.
So you’ve had support from some key people in the Country music industry, the likes of Bobby Bones who named you in the class of 2019 and just last week I saw that Dolly Parton had added one of your songs to a playlist she shared, so how does it feel to be getting that kind of recognition from the Country music community?
I’m just thankful for it, I don’t know what to think of it because things like that, Bobby adding me to his class or Miss Dolly putting my song on her playlist… you have goals for yourself but they’re never goals like that, you’d never think of that. So when stuff like that happens I try to take it in the best I can and just thank God for it.
The song Make Him Wait, the one Dolly added to her playlist, can you tell me about the story behind that?
Yeah, I was raised in Texas, big family, 6 girls and 1 boy and I think it was really important to my parents that they raise all us girls knowing our worth and what our value is as young women and that’s something I’m really thankful for because I’ve realised that’s something a lot of girls maybe aren’t privileged to understand from a very young age and I was. So anyways I’d just got off the phone from a friend the morning we wrote that song actually and she called me, crying about this guy she went out with and just kind of feeling bad about herself and I was trying to console her. And I walked in to this write with Josh Kerr and Tom Douglas… not a bad room to be in you know, and I was telling them about this and I said the words Make Him Wait, I was like nuh, uh I’m gonna Make Him Wait, I can’t remember exactly the conversation but I said those words and Josh immediately turned to his keyboard and started playing those chords. And I kid you not Zoe, that song fell out in about forty five minutes and it was probably one of the easiest songs I’ve ever written coz I just had to write down on paper everything my parents ever taught me.
A few silly questions for you now, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written a song about?
Oh man, oh okay, this might not be the strangest but it’s one of my favourites, it might not see the light of day but I love Levi jeans and I wrote a song about my Levi denims, so a song specifically dedicated to my Levi’s, that’s probably the one that’s the most out there.
Maybe we’ll hear that on a future album then!
Maybe! Oh I thought of something weirder I wrote a song about my hoops, that’s a good one!
Haha that is a good one! So when you’re on stage and you’re performing are you completely focused or do you let your mind wander, we call it your mid-gig thoughts?
Ooh, you know what I try to stay focused on the audience, read the crowd, focus on my energy, and on my facial expressions making sure I’m not only owning the song but that I’m performing the song. To me it’s kind of like theatre, you go out on stage and you’ve got to sell it, to me it’s not enough to just stand there and sing it, I want to take people through the story, take them through the feeling so for me it’s a moment for me to pull out my acting skills a little bit and portray the story so that’s what I focus on.
You’re coming to Country 2 Country Festival in March, is this your first time in the UK?
This is my first time in the UK I’m so excited, I’ve already booked like a food tour, all the sight seeing I’m very excited!
Good, we’re excited to see you! Have you heard much about the UK audiences at all from other artists that have played over here?
From what I can see already through my instagram and the love I get from my UK Family I’m just so thankful, I can’t believe there are people across the ocean who even know my name, I don’t know how many people do and I don’t care, even if it’s just one person that’s such a blessing, it’s an honour. I have friends like Ashley McBryde who’s told me what it’s like over there, how y’all just love music and I’m so appreciative of that, we all are.
Final question, what’s next after C2C, are you back out on the road?
I am, we have all these festivals booked, and we’re hoping to play shows almost every weekend for the rest of the year and besides that, World domination Zoe haha! All I want to do is to keep creating the best I can and put a little piece of myself and my story into everything I write and hopefully spread some joy and some smiles along the way that’s all I can hope for!