ABIAH
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ABIAH

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"The Records Keep Coming but What's missing?"

With the developmental arc of Gregory Porter, Jose James, and coming up behind them Milton Suggs, we may be on the cusp of a promising new crew of male voices at long last. Add to that list the single name Abiah. Is this cat Brazilian, with their proclivity for the single name? Where’s he from anyway? One would never know from the sparse preview disc that came my way; one with a lone cover sheet encased in a slim plastic jewel case, with the aspirant balladeer pictured contemplating a Yamaha piano and a glass of water perched on an adjacent stool, which I suppose suggests studio shot. On the back panel we learn that this is indeed Jeremiah Abiah and that the record is produced by the skilled young drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. (Full disclaimer, this is the press preview copy of this package; but it sure could have been more revealing.) In addition to Owens, Abiah works with a notable cast of peers that includes pianist Robert Glasper and guitarist Marvin Sewell. Not necessarily a straight ahead jazz singer, Abiah does have jazz chops. He’s remindful of other beyond category singers like Jon Lucien and Terry Callier, singers nonetheless always at home in a jazz-based format. Not only does Abiah sing well, he knows how to select material wisely as well, and he delivers a lyric with elan. For example, dig his new-day take on Prince‘s classic “When Doves Cry” that morphs into “Doves” for this date; I also chose “Goodbye”, the “September” reprise, and “Turn the Light On” for airplay as well. Once again, a disc without a track listing, which is an essential element in a new artist’s package; hopefully the finished product will be more informative. Hopefully we’ll hear – and learn – more about this talent. - Open Sky Jazz


"Abiah - Goodbye"

http://www.birminghamobserver.com/2012/08/17/abiah-goodbye/ - Birmingham Observer


"Abiah - Doves"

Pianist, songwriter and vocalist Abiah has been under the radar far too long. Abiah has received raving reviews for his album Love As a Ballad from music enthusiasts much like yourselves. Robert Glasper is a relative of Abiah and is featured on several tracks of the album. So in keeping with the mood of the season, I’d be remised if I didn’t in the very least, shine a spot light on this man’s body of work. The arrangements are so well put together, thoughtful, and in the case of Abiah’s remake of Prince’s “Doves” downright inventive! Check out his entire album as it will be a pleasure to sit back and really enjoy.
Website: http://www.abiahmusic.com/
Abiah’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AbiahMusic
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/abiahmusic

Have a listen to Abiah’s interpretation of Doves by clicking on the Youtube video below. - Grown Folks Music.com


"C.Y. A. (Covering Your Artistry)"

This conversation takes me back to what fueled my question in the first place. Abiah, on his album Life As A Ballad, has a version of Prince’s When Doves Cry, renamed, Doves. Doves is a very acoustic, slow and jazzy version of the song which was #1 for 5 weeks in 1984. You have to be brave to remake songs like When Doves Cry which was voted Song of the Year by Billboard magazine. Does anyone remember Ginuwine’s version of the same song produced by Timbaland in 1997 or Cassandra Wilson singing a fusion version of it?

In music timing is everything and talent is relative, especially when it comes to covering a well written song! There are only a limited amount of ideas and notes, so the key is how to breathe new life into them. My hope is that boundaries will always be stretched and creativity is not a lost art. For the artists of tomorrow; know your history and don’t just take the easy way out to be heard. If you are going to remake someone else’s work, add to the beauty or pain, but cover the song to make it your own!
- Knowwax.com


"Before the Ball Drops: My 'Takes" on 2012"

Alternate Takers,

It could be age, but I promise, each year seems to flash by faster than the last. But for all of its blur and haste, some of the music of 2012 stopped me right in my tracks. This has been the year of great debates and bold musical statements. It has also been a year of losing those who have left us way, way too soon. I was privileged enough to write about some of the artists who put out what I feel is the best music of this year. I covered modern legends like Dee Dee Bridgewater and the late, great Gil Scott-Heron, and also those just starting to make waves like vocalist and educator Johnaye Kendrick. My proudest moment as a journalist this year, writing the liner notes for what is probably one of the most important records of the last several years — Robert Glasper’s Black Radio. (And although my involvement with this album prohibits me from listing it on my list of Bests, if you read the liners, I think you’re pretty clear on where this project stands for me.) I interviewed inheritors of jazz royalty like Max Roach about what they’re doing to keep their family legacies going strong. This was also a year of stretching beyond my blog, writing for notable publications and sites like DownBeat and NPR Music. I also lectured at U Penn as a guest of my education idols, Dr. Guthrie Ramsey and Dr. Salamishah Tillet. Or you may have caught me as the co-emcee of the 2012 Jazz Journalist Association Awards. I also recently did a panel with the Association on young(ish) bloggers in the jazz community. I guess you could say 2012 was a pretty busy year for The Improbable Aficionado.

I’m really happy to share my favorite albums of this year with all of you; and relieved that I made the 2012 cutoff! Hopefully you’ll check some of them out and hopefully you’ll continue reading Alternate Takes in the new year to check out some profiles of artists on these lists and beyond.

For more list info, you can check me and my partners out over at Nextbop. We out together some pretty dope year-end reading for you.

And now…without further delay.

(Forgive the lack of album covers/photos in this post…WordPress isn’t in a good mood today!)

Top 10 New Releases 2012 – Jazz

1. Gregory Porter Be Good

2. Kurt Rosenwinkel Star of Jupiter

3. Vijay Iyer Accelerando

4. Mike Moreno Another Way

5. Ravi Coltrane Spirit Fiction

6. Lionel Loueke Heritage

7. Orrin Evans Flip the Script

8. Brad Mehldau Where Do You Start

9. Marcus Miller Renaissance

10. Christian Scott Christian aTunde Adjuah


Top 10 New Releases 2012 – Non Jazz
1. Nas Life Is Good
2. Bobby Womack The Bravest Man In The Universe
3. Me’Shell N’degeocello Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone
4. Abiah Life As a Ballad
5. Norah Jones Little Broken Hearts
6. Flying Lotus Until the Quiet Comes
7. Frank Ocean Channel Orange
8. Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel
9. Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d. city
10. Jay-Z Live in Brooklyn

Top 3 Re-Issues 2012

Woody Shaw The Complete Columbia Albums Collection

Dave Brubeck The Columbia Studio Albums Collection 1955-1966

Charlie Christian The Genius of the Electric Guitar

Best Latin Jazz Album 2012

Chano Dominguez Flamenco Sketches - Alternate Takes


"Top 10 Soulful Albums: 2012"

2012 was a real dominant year for the indie and underground soul scene. Even artist like Tyrese and Eric Benet who once enjoyed the major label spotlight, had an amazing year with releases on indie or their own labels. This sentiment is being felt all over with a lot of killer albums coming from around the globe. It was tough to narrow down but here’s a top 10 list of soul albums that had my ear in 2012.

Sy Smith – Fast & Curious
Abiah – Life As A Ballad
Moonchild – Be Free
Jarrard Anthony – Ready To Live
Dwele – Greater Than One
Rebekka Ling – Travel Light
Positive Flow – Flow Lines
Cody Chestnut – Landing On A Hundred
Nanna.B – Vitaphone
The Slakadeliqs – The Other Side Of Tomorrow

Honorable Mentions

Dilouya’s Faithful Circus
Cherri Prince – Loves Leftovers
- Kevin Nottingham


"The Best Non-Jazz Albums of 2012"

There’s a chance you’ve heard Jeremiah Abiah. His debut album, Chasing Forever, made a strong statement in the soul circuits back in 2006 and he’s sung background for artists like George Michael, Chuck Mangione, Amel Larrieux and powerhouse gospel vocalist Yolanda Adams. With his sophomore release, Life As a Ballad, he makes his strongest statement yet -- as a singer, a songwriter and as a balladeer of profound proportion. He’s not your average crooner, regurgitating a once-was kind of smoothness and this is not your run of the mill ballads record. Comprised of gorgeous, acoustic singer-songwriter leaning repertoire, and backed by gifted musicians, including Marvin Sewell, Ulysses Owens, Jr. and special guest, pianist Robert Glasper, Life As a Ballad firmly plants Abiah in the esteemed company of the emerging male vocalists as well as that of the legends from which he draws inspiration. - Nextbop.com


"'September' by Abiah"

I’ve been checking on this up and coming artist Abiah all month long to see if he’d finally create a video for his recently released track “September” off his debut album “Life As A Ballad” . Luckily he actually did BEFORE September ended cause I was trying to avoid to post this song in October… Makes sense, right?!
AMAZING VOICE, MELODY AND SONG WRITING…

It all started in September
In just three months, it’ll be winter
Already feel the chill.

Abiah (formerly known as Jeremiah) really started shining not too long ago, demonstrating his talent with an amazing rendtion of Prince’s “When Doves Cry”. Please take your time to check out both songs!

Click HERE to find out more about Abiah’s music… - Nycrophone.com


"Message in a Bottle: ABIAH's September"

On the album opener and lead single from Abiah‘s soulful sophomore release, Life as a Ballad, he wanders the lonely beach of existentialism, lamenting love lost and feeling the seasons shift in his bones.

Like a deck of cards without the hearts, Abiah opines.

If you go as far south and east as you possibly can and still be within the boundaries of Brooklyn, in the shadow of the Marine Parkway Bridge and under a din of passenger aircraft descending on JFK you’ll find a crooked corner of a beach at the end of a trident of wooded paths, a train and a bus and a walk away from the rush of the city.

This has to be the most desolate beach in all five of the boroughs.

Dead Horse Bay got it’s notorious name by being the home to a number of horse rendering plants in the mid nineteenth century, a macabre square of sand where the city’s fallen steeds would go to be granted new life- their bones boiled and ground into glue.

Around the turn of the twentieth century, as if to bury it’s past, the marshlands of the bay were converted to landfill, and decade upon decade of trash was dumped there until full and capped in the 1930s, only to burst a few decades later from the constant push and pull of the ocean tides.

Today, it is a scavenger’s honeypot- antique glass bottles of green and brown litter the beach at low tide, and the sea chimes with rolling shards on each ebb and flow. Rotted pier struts jut up in rows like the ribcage of some mythical, half-buried kraken; surrealist brushstrokes accenting a distinctly Daliesque landscape.

It also served as a fitting stage to support Abiah’s flight of introspection- a literal and metaphorical blank slate to foster his isolation, his turning back a few pages and running a finger over the paragraph he just read, trying to find where he left off, where the story goes from here.

A beachcomber of the present stumbling over scraps of the past, like the bones of the dead washing up in a flooded cemetery, like the exposed roots of a great ancient tree.

As for the multitude of bottles strewn about the beach- one, and only one, made the final cut.

The official video for Abiah’s ‘September’ is premiering now over at The Revivalist. - sgbphoto.com


"Jazz singer Abiah: The Interview"

Jeremiah Abiah never planned on changing his name to just Abiah (say A-bee-ah), however the controversy surrounding the change has given the singer and pianist the opportunity to re-brand himself. In a recent interview, Abiah explained what happened: "there was a new guy that came out with the name Jeremiah and his single was called "Birthday Sex". People would call me and I was getting these calls because they thought I was the one singing it. What they didn't realize was that he spelled his Jeremiah different to mine. To be honest, I could have done the whole court thing, but then thought it wasn't worth it. " Abiah said it gave him an opportunity to not only re-brand his career but to return to the fore after a six-year hiatus.

The last time the public heard from Abiah, he was enjoying power rotation on BET's Soul channel paired with Shanice Wilson on "Love for A While." This time around Abiah has returned with a strong CD of diverse offerings simply called "Life as a Ballad." The songs contained here have jazz undertones, however most of the tracks can easily crossover to adult contemporary stations as well. The new CD had a successful launch at NY's Le Poisson Rouge and Abiah brought along his cousin pianist Robert Glasper as the special guest.

Abiah sat down with me to talk more about his new CD and other interesting things.

AB: Abiah, its so good to talk to you, I love this CD! I noticed that the genre is different from your last CD. This is jazz!! To me, the other one wasn't.

ABIAH: Honestly, my last record was technically jazz on a couple of songs. I had actually recorded and produced a record that was already completed. Then they (recording label) said "let's record more songs" The song with Shanice wasn't on there originally, however the real essence of the CD was actually a jazz recorded in terms of the sound. So what I'm doing now isn't anything new. All the clubs I play in are rooted in jazz; Blue Note is a big supporter of me. Any venue I play all over the world is pretty much rooted in jazz.

AB: What inspired you to do an all-ballad CD such as this?

ABIAH: I don't know if I necessarily had an inspiration as much as I am a constant writer. I've written songs for a couple of years; I didn't have an inspiration per se as much as I had a connection with a bunch of friends that I wanted to collaborate with. I wanted to collaborate with the people that I admire and respect their work, and I thought it was time to put out a CD.

AB: I know one of those people that you admire so much who is on the CD is your own cousin and jazz musician Robert Glasper. Tell us what it was like working with him.

ABIAH: We are family; I know Robert for a long time so it was very seamless in the studio. What was great about it was his input; he was able to give me his professional thoughts and stuff. We vibe in the studio; just being able to stay there and in the midst of making music and laughing... it was a good experience.

AB: Who were the other musicians that played on the CD?

ABIAH: My co-producer and bass player Keith Witty, Ulysses Owens, Jr. who is a drummer friend of mine and also the first person who told me to get back into the studio. Then there was David Rosenthal, guitar player and friend of mine who was very active in this as well. Marvin Sewell is also here; he has played with Cassandra (Wilson). The great thing about this record is that I have been playing with these guys for 7-8 years.

AB: How long did it take to record this CD?

ABIAH: The record was completed in a day! It was a long day and a special session. Sixteen hours long and we didn't even rehearse or anything. I came in with the idea and told them what I needed from them.

AB: That's amazing! Who would you say were your earlier influences?

ABIAH: Anita Baker inspired me... I like to say that I have a quintet of sisters who have been my inspiration over the years and really inspired me to wanna write and sing. Anita Baker made me want to be a singer, Oleta Adams was the first person that made me want to play and sing at the same time. Rachelle Ferrell makes me want to expand my vocal ability. She used her voice as an instrument and I wanted to use my voice as an instrument. Then there's Nina Simone who inspired me to be more than a storyteller. I got to thinking how can I narrate with my voice alone? I wanted to paint a picture with my voice. The last person who encompasses them all is Sarah Vaughn.

AB: Your tone and phrasing are effortless. Were you professionally trained?

ABIAH: I believe all of us have gifts that we were born with that we have to train and study and even teach ourselves. I had this gift and my mother recognized it very early. My mom was a recognized musician and she put me in musical camps which led to a full scholarship and I did opera singing.

AB: I'm getting goosebumps now telling you this but I listened to that one track off your CD called "Goodbye" and I hear you go up in your celebrated 5-octave range and I remember thinking "WOW!!" It blew my mind hearing you sing "Goodbye" the way you did, it was real to me.

ABIAH: Thank you. The story behind that song "Goodbye" was that I had originally written it for Dianne Reeves. She didn't record it and I felt that it was an opportunity for me to record it. Plus I was encouraged by my friends to put it on my record.

AB: Dianne's voice would have worked perfect on that too but you also did a good job with it as well. Do you play any instruments on the CD?

ABIAH: I play piano on one song "Turn the Light On".

AB: So the digital version of the CD came out last month before the physical CD was released last week. What sort of feedback are you getting?

ABIAH: It has been pretty tremendous. I have to say I am so excited about the response from the record because I was afraid to put it out. I had trepidation to put out a record like this where people would think they are all slow songs. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I got nominated for Male Artist of the Year Soul Artist of the Year on Soultracks.com. I don't think there has been one bad thing said about this record. At the end of the day, jazz is a comfortable place for this music.

AB: On this CD you "went there"; you took a risk and did a remake of Prince's popular "When Doves Cry" calling it "Doves". Are you a Prince fan and why this song?

ABIAH: (laughs) I am a HUGE Prince Fan. I think he is a tremendously gifted person. I have never gone to his concerts however, I felt if I was going to cover someone's music, it had to be somebody who is iconic and that has been untouched. I recall how Nina Simone recreated "Strange Fruit" from Billie Holliday. It was a different interpretation and people referred to Nina's song more than Billie's version. I was sitting at the piano one day and I started playing this interesting rhythm and the song flew out of me. It just came out and came together in 15 minutes and there was the amazing arrangement of "Doves".

AB: So what does the future hold for you? Any chance that you would be touring soon?

ABIAH: Right now no tours planned but I have some open dates for tour with Robert (Glasper). I'm also working with a jazz sax player by the name of Mantana Roberts. I will be doing a new album with her which is set for November 28. I'm sure some things will pop up but I plan to get back in the studio to record in spring to release in 2014. This CD wasn't about record sales, it was just about re-branding and I will begin to move in a different way. - Ashabrodie Jazz


"Timeout says"

Formerly active under his given name, Jeremiah, the soulful singer now known as Abiah (his surname) cut his teeth as a backing vocalist with George Michael, Amel Larrieux and Yolanda Adams. Here he celebrates the release of his new album, Life Is a Ballad, with a solid band and an unnamed, Grammy-nominated guest. (Oh, hey, look at that…Abiah's cousin, protean pianist Robert Glasper, has a hole in his calendar tonight.) - Timeout


"New Videos"

If you're feeling this one, make sure to pick up Abiah's new album Life As A Ballad on iTunes now. - Vibe.com


"Abiah"

“A singer with an innate ability for passionate songwriting that one cannot learn” – Billboard

Ask Abiah, (formerly known in the industry as Jeremiah), how he felt going in to record his sophomore studio album and this artist can sum it up in one word. “Cautiously excited,” he says simply. Cautious?

Neo2soul caught up with Abiah to talk to him about the inspiration and stories behind ‘Life As A Ballad‘

When did you start making music and realize that you wanted to be a singer/musician?

I started writing songs when I was nine years old which was the time I realized I wanted to be a singer.

Was there a person or record that inspired you to pick up the pen and start writing songs and hit the studio?

My first major influence was Anita Baker. She inspired me tremendously at the beginning of my career.

When it comes to making music what would you credit as your main motivation?

My main motivation is to share my gift and stories. Everything I sing about, someone else can relate to and has experienced also. I’m hoping that my music can somehow change lives in a positive way.

How would you describe the music that you make? Who does your production?

If I had to call my music anything, it is Art-Song. It is the conglomeration of my music influences and exposure. I produce my own records although on Life As A Ballad, I had a co-producer, Keith Witty on half of the record.
Abiah – Doves

You got a song (Doves) out now featuring your cousin Robert Glasper which is the (Prince Cover) of When Doves Cry, Why did you choose that song? What do you feel you have brought to it? What was it like working with your cousin?

I think one of my greatest gifts is the ability to re-imagine music. When Doves Cry, is such a classic but I wanted to retell the story without using Prince’s music and make the story mine.

Robert is such a kind musician and we have worked so much together in the past. His contribution to my art has helped me develop a picturesque landscape in the music. You can see the story when you hear the song, as in a movie.

Your forthcoming album is called Life As a Ballad, Why did you name it this? Is it a soundtrack to your life or just a part of your life or neither?

I decided to name my album Life As A Ballad after seeing an episode of Oprah Winfrey. She had the widow of Steve Erwin on and she said “when he left, the wind stopped moving” and the words struck me very deeply.

I began to write the song Life As A Ballad. Everyone has a story to tell and I wanted to explore what makes our collective ballad. However, LAAB also means for me an opportunity to start again.

Do you enjoy playing live? Have you done many gigs and what kind of artists have you supported or played alongside?

I was made to perform live. I’ve spent many years honing my craft in order to share it. I’ve been singing professionally for 16 yrs.

My first major gig was with George Michael and I’ve gone on to perform with many notable artists in numerous genres.
ABIAH new album LIFE AS A BALLAD

I remember you as Jeremiah, so why did you change your name? What’s the story behind it?

The name change was part of my growth and evolution artistically. ABIAH is my last name so it is honoring another part of myself.

It’s been nearly 6 yrs since I’ve released material and therefore in essence to many, I never existed. Here’s my chance to start again.

Getting radio play is real gripe for a lot of independent artists, but have you had any radio play? If so what DJ’s and stations are supporting you?

I have had radio support of my last album and recently lots of blog/internet radio with the new music.

Do you think that radio is still as important as it was in the digital age?
It is always important if you are reaching your target audiences but not nearly as important as the visual these days.

Let’s talk image and branding for a minute. Some artists spend lots of money on artwork and other acts aren’t that interested. How important is image, artwork and branding to you?

Branding is so essential in this business now. We are not just artists anymore but rather a product to be honest. We have to be consistent as to not confuse our audience. There is little time these days for an artist to grow with an audience but it has to be packaged just right from the start. My team and I put lots of time into making sure everything is consistent in image, artwork, etc. - Neo2soul Promotions


"A Conversation with Jeremiah Abiah"

Is “Stretch Music” is the new Next Big Thing in Jazz, and perhaps music in general? I had discussions about the music released recently by Robert Glasper and Christian Scott with several writers covering the Detroit International Jazz Festival earlier this month, and they all felt that a number of jazz musicians are whipping up a tasty brew of modern jazz, neo-soul, hip-hop and downtempo chill music that defies categorization.

Part of this trend is the use of jazz musicians by Soul/R&B singers to create deeper and more detailed music. One such musician, Jeremiah Abiah – who goes professionally by his last name only – has a new CD, Life As A Ballad, which features vocals that call to mind the likes of Luther Vandross, Maxwell or D’Angelo, but is created a band of musicians with deep roots in the world of jazz.

An experienced singer-songwriter-arranger, Abiah wisely surrounded himself with top jazz-based talent like keyboardist Robert Glasper, guitarist Marvin Sewell (long-time player for Cassandra Wilson), in-demand drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., and bassist Keith Witty. The resulting music sets off the stunning mult-octave range of Abiah’s singing to great, and often moving, effect.

I spoke with Abiah just as Life As A Ballad was released digitally, and he was preparing for live performances to celebrate the physical CD release. The Release Party will take place at Le Poisson Rouge in New York on Monday, October 15 and reunite the recording band onstage. Click here to listen to our conversation, featuring musical selections such as:

Abiah – “Doves” from Life As A Ballad. One of Abiah’s great strengths as a musician is rearranging other artists’ tunes. As a result, Prince’s “When Doves Cry” becomes almost unrecognizable under this innovative restructuring.

Robert Glasper Experience – “Ah Yeah (Radio Edit)” from Black Radio. Glasper has played with Abiah for years, and had become friendly with him before he learned that the two were in fact cousins. Vocals on the track come from guests Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michele.

Abiah – “Goodbye” from Life As A Ballad. A thrillingly high key sets this song in motion, which was written by Abiah with Dianne Reeves in mind.

Abiah – “Foolish Heart” Life As A Ballad. Abiah described this track as "the most personal song on the record" and features a guitar solo by Marvin Sewell in which he slides his guitar with a glass bottle to great effect. - Straight No Chaser


"He began light goes out: ABIAH "Life As a Ballad""

Artist: ABIAH
Title: Life As a Ballad
Label: Madoh Music Group
Year: 2012

Have forgotten where to meet him. Perhaps in one of the many black music weekdays fixed browser blogs.
Black-and-white with color cover, a man, a piano, completely different from any black music albums.

And then he spoke, and all the light went out.
It was the cover of Prince of <Doves>.



How can you leave me standing?
In a world so cold
Maybe I'm too demanding
Maybe I'm just like my father too bold
Maybe you're just like my mother
She's never satisfied
Why do we scream at each other
This is what it sounds like when doves cry

The formerly known the <When Doves Cry> the song, was a dance, but it has very words cut to the heart. New lyrical version, uneasy atmosphere around the corner, no less cover tones. With the music mood layers piled those repeated questioning deepening boost anyone heard phrase hoarse "Why do we scream at the each other" will not forget.


ABIAH full name Jeremiah Abiah (read as Ah-bee-Yah, meaning "God is my father"), from New York, from small single-handedly brought up by his mother, and to bring him into Sarah Vaughan, Anita Baker, Nina Simone's classic song world. He served as George Michael, Chuck Mangione, Amel Larrieux, Yolanda Adams, et al harmonies for many singers do singing guidance also majored in opera singer. Obviously traditional jazz and classical training to his style have a great impact in the music scene today, and very few have such a sense of space to see the emotional tension and vocal range extended degree (containing a total of five and a half octaves pharyngeal tone) voice. Appearance is gentle gentleman, but the sound is full catharsis, neurotic, a completely overwhelming wave of emotions. In terms of style, he truly fusion rather than "cross-border", and even higher than the achievements Gregory Porter, Jose James et al. Some people say he rekindled Luther Vandross a pulse lyricist incense, also suggested that his extremely sensual composer ability, it is difficult to imitate others.

Separated from the debut album "Chasing Forever" for six years, ABIAH sequel to "Life As a Ballad" this year, he formally become the focus of attention of the music scene. Behind the scenes lineup including pianist Robert Glasper (two actually cousins ??of today's jazz world hopes), long-term cooperation guitarist and arranger Marvin Sewell et al. The album's nine songs, all real instruments prepared but not complicated arranger, precise control of emotions, however, that is where musical. Bright mood of the first single <September> distant, reminiscent of such as Saunders Sermons Jamie Cullum's work, though, MV still black and white tones, the terms of the view of the image with the album, in fact suggesting the following visual direction. The start since <Doves>, plunged into the dark into the pitch-dark, and the album "Bookends" and the title song of the same neurotic <Life As a Ballad> formation marked the start and the end of the night, one after the other. After <Life As a Ballad> is <September> Variation each other shine, the last song <Turn the Light On> directly turned a deaf ear, like after a night of confusion struggling to see the gray dawn slowly carried out of the East, leaving under a deal to finish. Another noteworthy track is a the partial traditional jazz <Goodbye>, from which it seems to see of many classic ABIAH who the singer gods, quite beautiful and delicate. - Brienjohn.blogspot


"Harlem Recordings Artist ABIAH"

Life As A Ballad features eclectic, stylized tracks recorded with live instrumental performances by the industry’s top jazz artists including keyboardist Robert Glasper, guitarist Marvin Sewell, drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., and bassist Keith Witty. The album marries Abiah’s poetically haunting five ½ octave vocal range with natural, aesthetic sounds resulting in sheer artistry. Life As A Ballad contains a depth and emotes a feeling that will delight long-time fans and impress those new to Abiah’s music. “To me, what’s different about this music is that it has a certain immediacy.” Abiah says. “We wanted it to be authentic and tell the story of how one finds beauty when life seems its darkest.”

The debut single “September” is an emotionally gripping ballad featuring Abiah’s gentle cries and soothing pleas for a love lost. A gifted songwriter and accomplished musician, Abiah claims ownership on “Doves” a pleasantly, stylishly re-arrangement of Prince classic “When Doves Cries”. The album contains one vibrant up-tempo track, “Next Time Around,” a feverishly, carefree tune that breaks up misery for the discovery of self-worth and forgiveness. Other standout tracks include “Goodbye” and “Foolish Heart.” The album contains nine tracks in all and is available via download at abiahmusic.com and on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/life-as-a-ballad/id553569414. - Harlem World Mag.com


"Five Fresh Faces For Fall"

ABIAH

Hometown: Rochester, NY

Management: Nia Music Distribution, LLC

Genre: Soul

Site: http://www.reverbnation.com/abiah

Why He’s Fresh: There are many lessons to be learned from the music industry, the most important being, “Just because you’re good, doesn’t mean you’ll make it.” That was the case for Abiah (formerly known as Jeremiah), who had initial recording success with the release of his freshman album “Confessions” on Universal Republic Records in 2006, only to quickly fall by the musical wayside. It’s only then that he began to trust his voice, striking out on his own. Possessing a five-and-a-half-octave range, Abiah found work as a vocal coach to up-and-coming singers in order to make ends meet while working on his latest project. The result of his hard work and determination is his sophomore album, “Life as a Ballad,” released August 28 and featuring nine self-penned tracks, including “Doves,” which was inspired by Prince’s hit, “When Doves Cry.” - Luxury Awaits


"Abiah: Life As A Ballad"

Jeremiah Abiah joins his voice and composing skills with the likes of Robert Glasper and Marvin Sewell on a reflective session that combines acoustic guitar, piano and rhythm in a deeply intimate fashion. Abiah’s voice is alluringly rich like 80% Cocoa Cark Chocolate, which keeps you into the tunes. His melodies and themes, however, don’t have the same type of attractiveness. A bit too introspective and heart on sleeve, as well as predictable instead of classic and eternal. - Jazz Weekly


"Abiah Life As A Ballad"

Abiah
Life as a Ballad (2012)
Nia Music Distribution

Jesienna sonata tuz, tuz. Zbliza sie do ziemi coraz szybciej i zanim sie odwrócimy, na stale zagosci w naszych domach, wiejac chlodem i siapiac deszczem. Ale ta znienawidzona przez wielu depresyjna pora roku nie musi byc wcale nudna – na sklepowych pólkach wlasnie pojawia sie zjawiskowy Abiah, który za sprawa Life as a Ballad rozgrzeje nasze cztery sciany do czerwonosci.

Zmyslowa podróz w jaka Abiah zabiera sluchaczy, oczarowuje juz od pierwszych dzwieków muzyki. Muzyki nieco eklektycznej i niezwykle wzruszajacej. Artysta talent odziedziczyl po matce, która byla profesjonalnym, wyksztalconym muzykiem i wlasnie troche dzieki dobrym genom niespodziewanie wyrasta na jednego z najlepszych wokalistów jazzowych. Zawdziecza to zreszta takze prostocie i minimalizmowi, dzieki którym maluje przepiekny krajobraz swoich kontemplacji.

Wsród jazzowych ballad szczególnie poruszaja „September” i wrecz muskajace zmysly odbiorcy „Goodbye”. Nie pamietam kiedy to ostatnio meski glos tak silnie wciagnal mnie w kacika zadumy. Abiah wychodzi przed szereg takich legend wokalnego jazzu jak Barbara Streisand czy Tony Benett i zmienia dotychczasowe pojmowanie tego gatunku jako staromodnego i sztampowego.

Wokalista serwuje na Life as a Ballad wyjatkowe, osobiste nagrania, których teksty i muzyka mocno dotykaja sluchacza. Aby odkryc niesamowity urok plyty, wystarczy znalezc odpowiedni moment w ciagu dnia, nieco zwolnic, zapomniec o codziennosci i oddac sie calkowicie do dyspozycji artysty. Spadajace zólto-czerwone liscie za oknem beda idealnym ozdobnikiem, podobnie jak gruby koc i kubek kakao czy kieliszek dobrego wina. All that jazz!
- Soulbowl.pl


"Exclusive: ABIAH's 'September'"

Moving from a major label to an independent started a shift in Abiah’s music that has materialized as his sophomore album. More intimate in nature and personally compelling, the album features Abiah’s cousin Robert Glasper on piano, guitarist/arranger Marvin Sewell, his long time collaborator, and co-producerr Keith Witty as well as Ulysses Owens, Jr. on drums. “Robert added such beautiful fabric to the music. Marvin was overflowing with genius and Keith helped me to find all the “right” things like a mad scientist,” Abiah explains.

“We definitely have a great chemistry in the studio which is why we were able to record the entire album in one day.” While making a name for himself in the industry as a background singer for the likes of George Michael, Chuck Mangione, Amel Larrieux and Yolanda Adams, as well as becoming an in-demand vocal coach (featured on MTV’s Made), Abiah has developed a a sense for songwriting that is definitively engaging and vocally speaks to a large audience. Life As A Ballad paints pictures, evokes emotions, recounts memories, but most of all makes for a great listen. We are excited to release the video for the single “September.” Check it out below and grab a copy of the album. - Revivalist Okayplayer


"Abiah Releases Life As A Ballad"

Abiah is a new singer-songwriter from New York who has labored as a student at Syracuse University, The Eastman School, The New England Conservatory and been a back-up singer for George Michael and Yolanda Adams. Life As A Ballad is his solo debut scheduled for an August 28th release and there are appearances from his cousin Robert Glasper, Marvin Sewell and Keith Witty. You can stream three of the album’s tracks at Soundcloud.

- Kickmag.com


"Abiah"

Name: Abiah (translation: God is my Father)

Represents: Rochester, New York

Style: Art Soul – a unique blend of jazz, soul, gospel, classical and world music.

Influences: Anita Baker, Oleta Adams, Rachelle Ferrell, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughn

Musical Pedigree: Mother was pianist for opera singer William Warfield; cousin of Robert Glasper; Voice major at Syracuse University

Linked In: Backed George Michael, Yolanda Adams, Michael Bolton and Chuck Mangione on various tours, connected with Gordon Chambers and a young John Stephens (John Legend) upon moving to New York City.

Latest Release: Life as a Ballad

Label: MadohMusic/Nia Music Distribution

Inside the Music: A songwriter since 9, Life as a Ballad is Abiah’s statement of progression; driven by content, this album reflects life as most of us live it, not the champagne-inspired imaginings of today’s radio. Built on the collaborative chemistry with Marvin Sewell, Keith Witty and Ulysses Owens, Jr., along with his cousin Glasper, Ballad was recorded in one day as the braintrust aligned to forge in a new direction.

Lead Single: “September” is based on heartbreaks; a rendering of when things go wrong in a relationship, but searches the traces of happiness before things went awry.

Available: November 13th on iTunes and at the following supporters of the Indie Soul movement: Moods Music (Atlanta), Dusty Groove (Chicago), BK Music (Richmond, California), Dimensions (Baltimore), Kemp Mills (Washington, DC), Mr. Mike’s (Harrisburg, PA) and Serious Sounds (Houston).

Social Vibe: website – www.abiahmusic.com Facebook – Facebook.com/abiahmusic Twitter – @abiahmusic - Eurweb.com


"RECORDING ARTIST ABIAH PERFORMS LIVE CONCERT; CELEBRATING THE RELEASE OF “LIFE AS A BALLAD”"

By Nigeria

RECORDING ARTIST ABIAH PERFORMS LIVE CONCERT; CELEBRATING THE RELEASE OF “LIFE AS A BALLAD”

Madoh Music in partnership with Urbanbuzzmag.com hosts the musical genius of Abiah! The Harlem based recording artist will celebrate the release of his latest album Life As A Ballad with a special live concert performance which includes musical backing from stellar jazz instrumentalists Marvin Sewell, David Rosenthal, Chris Eddleton, Keith Witty and a few surprise guests appearances. MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2012: Performance @ 10:00 PM; Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street. The album marries Abiah’s poetically haunting five ½ octave vocal range with natural, aesthetic sounds resulting in sheer artistry. Life As A Ballad contains a depth and emotes a feeling that will delight long-time fans and impress those new to Abiah’s music. “To me, what’s different about this music is that it has a certain immediacy.” Abiah says. “We wanted it to be authentic and tell the story of how one finds beauty when life seems its darkest.” Come out and show your support for another Urbanbuzzmag.com Key Player! - Urban Buzz Magazine


"ABIAH's "Vocal Distinction""

The music industry attributes the decline of music sales to the Internet. With the click of a button, any web surfer can access millions of songs of any genre. However, are music labels and moguls taking into consideration the listening audience is not overjoyed with what they are hearing on the radio? In a Hip-Hop and Pop-dominated industry, artists such as Adele and Esperanza Spaulding can come out of nowhere, sell millions and win several Grammys. Maybe listening audiences are just hungry for fresh, original and talented vocalists.

ABIAH (pronounced Ah-bee-yah) ,formerly known as Jeremiah Abiah, just might be the artist to look out for. He is a jazz vocalist that can help fill the large hole left by the absence of voices like Oscar Brown Jr. and Luther Vandross. Abiah, who has rich, emotional and strong lyrics, is serious about using his melodic sound to reestablish “vocal distinction” on the mainstream airwaves. iRock Jazz caught him during a break while he was in New York.

iRJ: Does the name change represent a transition into another creative style or period in your life?

A: It has been six years since I put out a CD. I was thinking how could I reboot my career and have a fresh start with my stuff after severing ties with my former label Universal Republic. During the six years another artist by the name of Jeremih came out on the scene. People were constantly calling me but they were looking for him and getting me. So at the time I wanted to do something different anyway, so I said lets change the name while I am rebooting and reestablishing my career. It was a great opportunity to start and introduce my sound all over.

iRJ: What are your thoughts regarding the lack of jazz stations and artists on radio?

A: Jazz would be dead if it was not for White and Asian people. The music, people of color have created, does not have our face anymore. We don’t look like Jazz! When they [listening audience] think of jazz they think Nora Jones. That is the face of jazz. At least vocal jazz.

iRJ: How do we bring back jazz as a popular art form?

A: Jazz like any other art form has to somehow find a way to find a bridge to young people. Once these great jazz artist die off who are we going to look to? The voice is the only instrument that it is okay to be mediocre. If you talk to musicians they have no respect for singers because singers are not doing their homework.

iRJ: How would you tell someone who listens to pop how to appreciate jazz?

A: Through educational programs and exposure. This generation is not hearing a variety of music. Arts programs are being cut and we are not exposing our youth. It used to be a time where you had music appreciation class in school. Where there were classes where you heard all types of music. Jazz has to be teachable and exposure is key. When I teach vocal lessons I talk to my student. Whatever genre they aspire to I give them 5-10 singers who will expand their ear. I always start with the foundation and that is Jazz and Classical musical artists. Missing in the business is technique. Chaka Khan has technique. Gladys Knight is amazing! She sounds exactly the same. Anita Baker is identifiable she has a distinct voice.

iRJ: Who are some of your favorite legendary artists?

A: Anita Baker, Oleta Adams Rachelle Ferrell Sarah Vaugh and Nina Simone.

iRJ: Who do you listen to now?

A: I am a Ledisi fan. I was listening to her 10 years ago when no one was listening. Modern day folk include: Brandy, Tweet, Byork and Feist. I love Rachel Yomogana. I listen to a lot of female singers because they have less limitation. Women voices are a lot of times limitless.

iRJ: What are your cultural roots?

A: My dad is from Ghana, West Africa. My mother is Cuban, Black American so I am from diverse backgrounds.

iRJ: Do you feel the two cultures influence your music?

A: You will hear me switch meters. I play around a lot with rhythm and play with it in a deceptionally cool way.
jeremiah-abiah

Abiah

iRJ: How has your cousin, Robert Glasper inspired you?

A: Robert is someone just charting his own course. Not really concerned about what people think about what he is doing – but doing what he does best. And he is unapologetic about it. I came to [New York] with that same sensibility. You can get caught up with the noise of the business and he inspires me to keep going. You want to serve your audience and make sure you are doing what you love doing. If you don’t love what you are doing you are being a robot.

iRJ: That brings us to your most recent release.

A: Yes, Life As a Ballad is my sophomore release after a six-year hiatus that has nine original compositions. Robert is on the CD along with drummer, producer, Ulysses Owens Jr.

iRJ: Are any of the songs inspired from personal experiences?

A: The track Goodbye I wrote from the perspective of relationships of the heart. Foolish Hearts and Turn the Lights On are from a personal view. Goodbye is very interesting because Diane Reeves [was] working on a recording about a woman scorned, releasing her from toxic relationships. I submitted Goodbye for her to record but she did not take it.

iRJ: How do you feel about giving away your songs?

A: The reality is I feel I am a good songwriter. If I give away it does not mean I cannot write another song.

iRJ: Would you like to go on a full tour?

A: I would love to go on a full tour in the states. You know a funny thing is I have only toured twice in the states but I have toured overseas every year. So, I would love that. There is a whole market over here that I have never tapped into artist wise. My videos have been on TV. But I haven’t toured artistically here, only in Europe and Africa.

iRJ: What are some of your projects with MTV, VH1, and Radio One that you are doing?

A: I did Made with MTV about a year ago. The other programs I am working on at present so I really can’t disclose. I will say that I will be on TV on BET, VH1 or Radio One either a program or show within the next 6 months to a year that I have created or either collaborated on. I was just approached about a show for BET yesterday. There are all kinds of things you can get involved in once people know what you are doing. All the programs are all about the art of singing in some capacity, either focusing on me as an artist or focusing on me as a vocal coach.

iRJ: Would you accept an opportunity on one of the reality shows like The VOICE or American Idol?

A: I would take the opportunity in a heartbeat to give “the real information” on The Voice or American Idol.

iRJ: Now where do you consider home right now? Is Rochester, New York home?

A: I haven’t lived in Rochester since I was 17. I consider [New York City] home. I have lived [there] 10…almost 11 years. So [New York City] is home for me.

iRJ: Do you find that people abroad are more open to diverse modes of music?

A: Absolutely! I have done some festivals in Europe. I tour a lot in France. I do a lot of concerts and festivals in Italy and Spain. Man… I have gone to some concerts that blew my mind but not necessary in a good way and I asked are they really sitting here actually listening to this? But they were so open. And they went crazy after the performance. I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. [laughs] European audiences are definitely more open which is a good thing because it gives a voice to a lot of different individuality and that is what this business should be about. Right now we are about being a carbon copy. Right now there is a Frank Ocean so now every label is scrambling to find a new Frank Ocean. When Nora Jones hit it big, every label was now looking for the next Nora Jones.

iRJ: When you were abroad is that how you became fluent in different languages?

A: I speak Italian fluently… learned French. Spoke Spanish as a child. I speak a language from Ghana called Twi. I speak five languages. I can grasp language quite quickly. I spend a lot of time in Russia so I have learned Russian off of my iPod. I don’t consider myself American as much as I consider myself a citizen of the world.

iRJ: So are you in and out of Africa often?

A: Not as much in the last two years. I go to Ghana and Kenya a lot. I have been to Uganda and Niger once and Rwanda and hoping to get to South Africa this year or early next year.

iRJ: Are there any plans to come to Chicago and perform?

A: I hope so. I think John Moultrie is working on that.

by Kimberly Weatherly - iRock Jazz


"Abiah: Doves"

Around 2002, a dear friend in Brooklyn introduced me to this amazing singer in NY named Jeremiah. Since that introduction, I was hooked. At the time he had homemade EP’s that he’d sell at his performances. Also in those years, he was singing background for artist including Amel Larrieux and Yolanda Adams. Then in 2006 he came out with his official debut album Chasing Forever. It became an underground success with his debut video seeing repetitive play on VH1 Soul & BET J. Since those years, he spent time in Africa and as a vocal coach for various singers throughout. But now, HE’S BACK!!! Now going by his last name Abiah, the singer is gearing up for the release of his sophomore studio album Life As A Ballad, a superb collection of beautiful songs full on colorful orchestration and melody. With the help of co-producers Keith Witty and Ulysses Owens Jr, guitarist Marvin Sewell (Cassandra Wilson) and pianist Robert Glasper (who’s also his cousin), Life Is A Ballad is acoustic aural masterpeace. Check out his rendition of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” & prepare for the album releasing August 28th. - Kevin Nottingham


"Doves"

This rainy day is perfect to listen to some mellow, but moving music from soul singer, Abiah (formerly known as Jeremiah). His sophomore album, “Life As a Ballad” is simply beautiful.

Abiah is not new to the music and the industry. Raised in Rochester, New York with 11 other siblings, he was writing songs at age 10 and had performed at Carnegie Hall by age 21. While studying opera at Syracuse University, he honed his craft as a background singer for artists George Michael, Chuck Mangione, Amel Larrieux and Yolanda Adams. Then in 2006, Abiah released his debut album ”Chasing Forever” (released as Jeremiah) which produced hits, ”Addicted to You” and “Love For Awhile” a duet with Shanice.

After his debut, he took a break. He continue din music as a backing singer and a vocal coach, but always planned on a second album. And Abiah returned in August 2012 with his follow-up album, “Life As a Ballad”. This album has several gems..”September”, “Doves”, Foolish Heart” and “Life As a Ballad”. It is soul, jazz and heartfelt.

Check out this awesome rendition of Prince’s “When Doves Cry”, and Robert Glasper, who happens to be his cousin, just seals the deal at the end of this performance. Check out Abiah’s “Life As A Ballad”. - That Kellie Girl


"ABIAH: Reinventing The Music"



One of the greatest pleasures I have found during my career is the discovery of a fresh, mesmerizing male balladeer. Recently, I sat down to talk with singer, songwriter ABIAH, (pronounced Ah-bee-yah) to comb through his years as a well accomplished and established vocal coach and recording artist, formerly known as “Jeremiah.”
Abiah_cdcover_span9

Abiah's album cover

His sophomore album, Life As A Ballad, released in August 2012 on Madoh Music, received rave reviews including from Billboard Magazine which stated, “…a singer with an innate ability for passionate songwriting that on cannot learn.” The album features artists such as his cousin, Robert Glasper, as well as Marvin Sewell, Keith Witty, Ulysses Owens, Jr. and other notable artists.

ABIAH’s story of his life, music and life experiences gave me inspiration and true understanding of what it is to be an artist.

Gigi Brooks: I must say, I have listened to Life As a Ballad over and over again and it never leaves my CD player! Your uncommon vocal ability of five octaves is phenomenal and the way you communicate passion in your music is thrilling. How did you learn to cultivate your voice to that level of talent?

ABIAH: Yes, I think it’s actually five and a half. You know I started out singing in the church and my mother is a classical pianist, but she doesn’t play anymore, but growing up she always played and she thought that it would be best at around…I guess 14 to begin studying classically. And so I got a scholarship to the Preparatory School at the Eastern School of Music in Rochester, New York and then from there I went on to have another scholarship at Syracuse University. I was studying classical music and was an opera major; so I started to be groomed as an opera singer. I also had a different passion for other kinds of music outside of classical music which was my own song writing. I’ve been writing songs since I was 9 years old. So I kind of just would cultivate my voice to classical technique and then I would take that same information and start applying it to classical music basically. It took 15 years to hone my voice you know? To make it into this instrument and not just be your average singer…that’s what my family and especially one of my aunts and my mom were very adamant about… not being like everyone else; they wanted me to go beyond that and if I did my gift would make room for me and that’s exactly what I think happened for me.

When I listen to your voice I can hear the opera training. Do you believe that you’ve had an advantage over most vocalists because of your opera background?

I think there are definitely some advantages. I come from a Christian home and one of the things that has always been instilled in me was that I need to show myself approved….and I think that coming to this was easier, because for one thing you don’t sound like everybody else which could be a good thing and also be a bad thing. Sometimes we they reward being generic versus being unique. I feel like at the time that I was growing up listening to music there was a great deal of respect for artists who sounded different…you know Anita Baker didn’t sound like Stephanie Mills and Peabo Bryson didn’t sound like Donny Hathaway; or all of these other greats singers that I grew up listening to. So, I think I definitely have had an advantage, but that was because I was dealt the right circumstances and I am very grateful for that.

I agree with you. It’s not just listening to what you are singing, but the way you’re singing that makes all the difference in the world…at least for me. Your octave range starts from…what is it falsetto?

Well…there is the falsetto, but I don’t use falsetto too much. I was kind of cultivated to use a mixed voice. I don’t want to get too technical, but basically to mix the head voice with the chest voice to make a voice that’s in between. With that you get a certain kind of beauty and power, but it’s not yelling. Although the range goes high, high, high and low, low, low, but you never hear cracks in my voice. That’s how I was taught as a singer, so that’s why my voice probably sounds a certain way and also I never listened to male singers really growing up; my real influences have been female singers, so that has given me a different kind of tone as well.

And a different ear…

Yes, absolutely.

Also you then want to collaborate that with the piano for goodness sakes!

Yeah!

It’s not just enough that you’re singing and have this wonderful gift of a voice, but then here comes the piano and the gift with that.

Yeah, yeah…I think once again you study…at first I when I playing piano when I was very young I hated it like most kids. I started playing piano and then I stopped. I hated it. It was a disappointment to having to practice, because I just wanted to sing. I didn’t realize how important it was to have both things happening. Then I went to a High Performing Arts high school and it became a requirement. If you don’t know how to play you’re not going to graduate. So I had to learn and I had to force myself to do it, but I found it to actually be such a help, because I started writing songs before I even knew any music theory I had already created my own system on piano. So it really has been a blessing to know how to play piano.

Let’s talk about the spacing you use with you vocals and on piano.

Well…actually on this record I am only playing on one song on piano, the rest is recording artist Robert Glasper. He really is the one who took the reigns on piano, but I did write and play all of this stuff for him and arrange all of this, so basically the spacing that he created was partly him and partly me, but based on what I felt and I think that’s really important.

One key element that happened with this record was that it was recorded all in one day.

I had no idea! Was that written anywhere? [laughs]

[laughs] Robert Glasper was extremely busy as well as all of the other musicians I worked with on this and it’s hard to get these people together all in one place and record a record; especially with an independent budget. I was very calculated about my delivery and what I wanted to do with arrangements and all of those things when I went into the session. We actually didn’t even rehearse until the day of the session. We rehearsed the song then recorded; rehearsed and recorded and what made them special was that they knew exactly what I wanted from them. I met with every musician privately, went over my details of what I needed from them phonically in order to create the sound that I have and that’s how the record Life As A Ballad came about.

Not only that I want to make it clear that you didn’t just appear on the scene yesterday; you’ve been around a long time.

I have.

The history of work that you have done has not only included jazz, but a gamut of genres of music with really great artists. What did you take from those experiences of working with people such as George Michael, Patricia Alexander, Yolanda Adams and others?

I learned how to run a ship from these people. I learned how to run the things that I need to happen in a rehearsal, a performance; what I need from people…how to be a student of business a little bit more. I started a business professionally at 15 years old, so I’ve been at it for a while and those kinds of things helped me keep my ship running. You know? You have moments in the spotlight, but a lot of them are really behind the scenes, but then I’ve been really blessed to work with some pretty awesome artists and also very nice people and that’s not always the case.

Yes, you can work with some really great artists, but then they may not really be very nice people and that makes all of the difference in the world; because then of course your creativity cannot flow with that type of energy.

Absolutely! Well I think my experience is this: the people, who have had the most success honestly, were usually the nicest. The ones who did not achieve all that much, even though they may have had some shine, they were the ones who were not as nice.

Well that goes back to what we were discussing earlier before the interview about sowing and reaping.

Yeah, that’s true.

That’s what it’s all about and because you can sing jazz, pop, gospel or anything else is wonderful and I wanted to make it very clear that you didn’t just jump into the music scene yesterday…the work is there.

That’s true. You know I originally started my career using my first band and it’s been six years since my last record. I left my first record deal and I started working on two different records, one with a very famous producer and I just ended up not really, really loving what it turned out to be and then I did another Indie record which never saw the light of day.

In the midst of that another artist came out with my name basically…his name is very similar to mine and I started getting calls to ask if I were him and it started to become a big mess! I thought now I have a new record and this is an opportunity to reinvent and I think the other thing about artistry is being able to reinvent yourself and not be tied to certain things...although my name is my real name, Abiah, which is my last name and it works just as well.

Now I want to talk about the album Life As A Ballad. The one that I can’t stop listening to and I’m not just saying that because I am doing this interview with you. The truth is I really can’t stop listening to this record. You have to understand that I get a lot of music in the mail and I review them all, but I get stuck on the really great ones, which stops me from doing my work of reviewing other music. So I want to tell you that I really don’t appreciate this album being so wonderful, because it keeps me from doing my work! [Laughs]

[Laughs] Oh my goodness! Thank you so much! That is a huge compliment! I hope it’s not too much for you!

Oh yeah! I have to tell you that new music…especially if it’s wonderful, is like a summer with a thousand Julys!

Oh, that’s a fantastic statement! You’ve just given me a title for a new song! [Laughs] Don’t be surprised if I start writing this today.

[Laughs] Oh yes! Please do! “September” is absolutely beautiful! “Doves,” “Foolish Heart” and I listen to “Goodbye” over and over again! It melts my heart and brings tears to my eyes.

Well “September” I wrote in about fifteen minutes. It was just one of those songs where I felt it and I just knew it was right. It was literally pouring out of my fingers. I couldn’t write the lyrics fast enough as it was pouring out of me. I wrote it last summer…just everything about it…the melody…it all just poured out. There’s no real personal story to the song; it’s more about me being a storyteller. Except for two songs on this record, I would say the record is about me being a narrator and telling other people’s stories and wanting to tell a story with a great melody and great songwriting.

You know ‘Little’ Jimmy Scott said the reason he loved Paul Robeson’s music so much was because he was a storyteller. Your music is now doing the same thing.

That’s awesome! You know, people always ask me… what kind of music is this? Honestly, it is majorly influenced by jazz, but it’s not just a jazz record; it has a lot of genres connected to it and I would call my music “art songs”. One thing I learned in classical music is how it’s important to paint a picture with the text and so that has been my desire to tell the story, because a word has so much color to it…just one word can say so much. When I say one word to one person it could mean something entirely different to another person and so my desire was to tell the story through the text and let my voice paint the words.

Again the musicians on this record are great. You’ve got Robert Glasper , Marvin Sewell, Keith Witty, Ulysses Owens Jr., David Rosenthal, John Shannon and Chris Eddleton. What was is about them that influenced your selection to perform these “art songs”?

Thank you so much Marvin Sewell is a dear friend and his guitar playing is inspirational to me…I don’t know anyone else I’d rather collaborate with, he is so special. One wants to make a record with people that you are most comfortable with. I have long standing relationships with every person on this record. I have worked over the last six or seven years with every person on this record. Robert being the first person in New York that I’ve worked with on this record; then the list goes down the line. These people have known me for so long and we respect each other and we have a brotherhood and that’s really important; to go into the studio and work with people who you respect and they respect you. - Jazz Times


"Abiah - Goodbye"

Formerly known as Jeremiah, Abiah has emerged to present his wonderful vocal range and blend of jazz and pop in the form of his upcoming album Life as a Ballad. Featuring his cousin, Robert Glasper on every track on the album but one, the jazz sensibility remains prevalent throughout the album which will be released Tuesday August 28th. Check out one of my favorites, Goodbye and download and enjoy his take on the Prince Purple Rain classic Doves - Bama Love Soul


"Abiah: Life As A Ballad"

A beautiful second record from Abiah – warmly wonderful material that's as sensitive as a singer/songwriter set, yet also has a deep sense of soul as well! Vocals and piano are wonderfully intertwined – in a mode that has the depth of jazz, yet the focus of soul music as well – often handled at a gentle pace, but with a flow that really holds us rapt throughout – with an acoustic vibe that's somewhere in a space between Bill Withers and Joan Armatrading. Abiah is an artist who previously recorded for Universal under his first name, Jeremiah – but he sounds even more wonderful here, and the shift to using his last name is definitely a good choice for this next chapter in his music. Titles include "This Time", "Goodbye", "Foolish Heart", "September", "Turn The Light On", and "Life As A Ballad". - Dusty Groove


"Abiah: Life As A Ballad"

There is no doubt that soul music needs a fresh face every once in awhile. Enter Abiah (fornerly known as Jeremiah) and his newest album, Life As A Ballad. The cousin of jazz giant Robert Glasper is ready to take the music world by storm. Since departing Universal Republic Records, Abiah has armed himself with Nia Music Distribution and a renewed energy for giving the world his brand of soul music.

In 2006 a young soul singer by the name of Jeremiah quietly released his major label debut album Chasing Forever. He learned two things in that experience. The first was that the major label system was all but ideal. The second lesson learned was that even with a hit record, like his duet “Love For A While” with R&B singer Shanice, exponential sales aren’t guaranteed. What his experience did do was allow him to begin connecting with fans in an effort to bring them into his world. The album garnered an almost cult like underground fan base that allowed the once background singer for the likes of George Michael, Amel Larrieux, and Yolanda Adams to fully present himself in his own way. This experience would be the foundation of what was to become Life As A Ballad.

In early 2012, Jeremiah–newly rechristened as Abiah–released new music for the first time in almost six years. His single “September” served as a reintroduction to the now seasoned artist, songwriter, and vocal coach. The industry had changed. It was friendlier to the soul artist that wasn’t reliant on stereotypical elements of contemporary R&B in order to achieve success. This was a change Abiah welcomed. He’d witnessed the success of his cousin and jazz juggernaut Robert Glasper, and actually enlisted Glasper to help him in crafting his new presentation to the world of music.

With the release of his sophomore effort, Life As A Ballad, Abiah isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. He’s simply showing you a different path to take that wheel down. Soul music doesn’t have to fit into a box, or have a certain sound, or chord progression. It must simply move your soul. “There is nothing like feeling and seeing the atmosphere change in a room,” he says. “It’s so important to be in touch with your audience. They come to hear music but leave with their lives changed because of the music. That is my job and calling.”

You can learn more about Abiah and his new album Life As A Ballad at www.abiahmusic.com.

- Nick Eden - Soul Train


"Abiah Life As A Ballad"

In the day of the digital download and when music seems all most disposable by nature:

I've been searching for a vocalist.

Abiah may be one of the very best. The more commercially oriented vocal jazz be it male or female has me losing interest quickly. There are but a handful of true vocal artists, those that have a gift to transcend the mere lyrics and turn them into music and a personal journey for the listener that may be the most touching gift in all of music.

Life As A Ballad is a sensuous yet soul filled passionate reaffirmation of what a vocal artist should be all about. Telling a story. Painting vivid images into the subconscious of the listener with tonality, phrasing and from a place well past the heart and soul. Passion.

This sophomore release from the artist formerly known as Jeremiah Abiah consists of nine original compositions that take one back to the time of a Johnny Hartman or a Nat King Cole but with a contemporary accessibility that give the release an eclectic pulse, a musical soul to call its own. Abiah's musical resume includes a stint with George Michael and while attending college a steady gig with the great Yolanda Adams. Abiah's musical journey has not been easy. Record deals have fallen through, artistic growing pains were resulting in self doubt and the very darkest of times have been the inspiration for Life As A Ballad. A uniquely personal recording that reflects on what most of us have been through in dealing with the concept of finding beauty or perhaps simple hope in the dark of night when all seems lost.

Abiah remained true to his artistic self and has emerged from that dark night with one of the finest releases across any genre today. Contemporaries have taken note of Abiah's gift with performances here by Robert Glasper and the most gifted young drummer, producer and educator in Ulysses Owens Jr. to name but a few. Abiah's warmth is intoxicating and especially moving with tunes such as "September" and "Foolish Heart." "Doves" is actually a somewhat playful riff on the Prince classic "When Doves Cry" ...but better. Abiah is a significant step forward for vocal music. A magnificent range, a strong lyricist and the ability to bend but never break has Abiah as perhaps the vocalist to watch in the coming years. The jazz purist might place Abiah closer to the Adult Contemporary genre but keep in mind that a genre or label is more often than not created by the industry to simply better categorize the artist.

Just remember the name Abiah.

A stellar 5 Star recording of artistic depth and imcomperable beauty.

Tracks: September; Doves; Foolish Heart; This Time; Goodbye; Next Time Around; Life As A Ballad; September (Reprise); Turn The Light On.

Visit http://www.abiahmusic.com/
- Critical Jazz


"CD Review - Abiah: Life As A Ballad"

It took me awhile to write this review because Life As A Ballad is an album that has to be soaked in. Its warmth and beauty need to be absorbed into the soul to be truly appreciated.

Starting with the haunting ballad “September,” Abiah sets the listener up for an album full of heartache, love, and superb lyrics. The next track, “Doves,” is a heartfelt reinterpretation of Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” which is heavy on the piano.

The piano/keyboards play an important part in this CD. It is blessed with the outstanding talent of Robert Glasper, Abiah’s cousin. In fact, Glasper appears on the majority of the CD’s tracks.

It took me awhile to write this review because I couldn’t adequately express the feelings that the album invokes. Now I can say the listener will be lost in the authenticity of the beautiful lyrics. The songs wash over the listener like a purifying summer rain.

Abiah is a wonderful lyricist. Every song tells a story. In these days of lyrics that are repetitive but say nothing, Abiah’s storytelling lyric style is a breath of fresh air.

The album is richly orchestrated and full of lyrics with meaning. I highly recommend adding Life As A Ballad to your collection. (2012 Madoh Music/NIA Music Distribution)

Check out the video for the first single to be released from the CD “September.” - X2theL.com


"Abiah Gives Us A 'September' To Remember"

After wowing us all with a cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry" that bordered on perfection, Abiah has become a talent that stays on the SBHQ radar. So color me surprised that we haven't discussed the opening song of his recently released album, Life As a Ballad. "September" is an achingly melancholy (and superbly well-written) tune that proves the time-tested notion that breaking up his hard to do. As Abiah describes the little things that add up to big ones (periods of silence) he rises to the chorus: "It all started in September/In just three months, it'll be winter/Already feel the chill." Like "Doves" before it, "September" is a near-perfect song that shows a talent that deserves the accolades he's been receiving. In case you've been sleeping (and I really hope that you haven't been), Abiah's Life As A Ballad is available now. While you go ahead and make that purchase, tuck into "September" below. - Soul Bounce


"ABIAH, Life As A Ballad"

After a bumpy start to his pop career, mostly involving the cumbersome process of making music in a major label sausage factory, the singer/songwriter Abiah (formerly Jeremiah Abiah) has crafted a sophomore album of emotive ballads, an audacious idea for a relative newcomer. But with delicacy and warmth, Abiah makes it work. To cement his vision Abiah adds pianist Robert Glasper, guitarist Marvin Sewell (Cassandra Wilson) and the accomplished drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. who co-produces as well. Having jazz musicians on board adds class to the project, but Abiah’s voice and music is the star. The singer toggles tone and tempo for “Doves,” a ravishing version of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” that’s sure to get some attention partly for its familiarity, but mostly it should be measured for Abiah’s capacity to reset this classic in a novel and sure fire way. The emotional drive of a song like “September” better exemplifies the strength of this artist. With a rounded-edged voice that suggests a more vulnerable Seal, Abiah’s experience singing backup for George Michael and Yolanda Adams signifies a willingness to lay his emotions out there. “Foolish Heart” is among the first three tracks, any of which would be strong singles and worthy of airplay. Concise and happily free of filler, “Life As A Ballad” (Madoh Music) makes room for one up-tempo track, “Next Time Around,” a song with a carefree gait that trades break up misery for the discovery of self-worth and forgiveness. The final allusion one might associate with Abiah would be the vocalist Lizz Wright since they both share honesty in the stories they tell, their musical palette and in the beautiful words they sing. (9 tracks; 37:37 minutes) www.abiahmusic.com - Jazz In Space


"Abiah 'Life As A Ballad' CD Carry On The Great Tradition of Great Voices"

NEW YORK, NY – When you listen to Abiah sing on his latest CD titled, Life As A Ballad, which was released on August 28, 2012, on the Madoh Music label, you will hear a consummate and brilliant songwriter deliver exceptional original ballads that dwarfs everything you could imagine what a pop and soul singer is suppose to sound like.

With notorieties such as phenomena singers as Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Smokey Robinson, Seal, and Luther Vandross, Abiah is perhaps one of the leading soul and pop music songwriters and singers of the 21st Century, who has among the most glorious voices in pop and soul music carrying on the Great American vocal tradition. Abiah works through his nine original compositions arpeggios with scrupulous care, his luscious voice swelling and decaying with total control, his low notes booming sonorously.

Abiah has a distinct singing personality, to be sure, but he has a flair for emotional and vocal dramatics–a typical trained intensity–and he partakes of that peculiarly experience and soul mix of melancholy, anger and romance. Moreover, he shares a masculine perspective, singing songs about relationships, taking control of our lives, the triumphs and disappointments of the human spirit.

Life As A Ballad shows maturity and even more range and promise than his first album. The new record begins with a personal statement from Abiah, a genial mid-tempo song called September. The album overflows with honeyed pop melodies, in particular the introspective Foolish Heart and the aching Goodbye. On the latter, Abiah shows off his voice, yelping one moment, going supple and suggestive the next, and then suddenly becoming unnervingly direct.

Abiah focused on songs that are dreamy and tender. In addition, he has surrounded himself with exceptional musicians consisting of Robert Glasper, Marvin Sewell, Ulysses Owens Jr., Keith Witty, David Rosenthal, John Shannon, and Chris Eddleton make all of this possible.

This recording is the result of Abiah’s steady and patient march over a decade in New York, finding the perfect songs and session mates to support his vision. Like any astute young artist in pursuit of a unique bespoke career path, Abiah wisely sought out collaborators who were of highly skilled and veteran pedigrees, and of course, simpatico. Notable among those collaborators are very well regarded young pianist Robert Glasper, who is Abiah’s cousin who he met in earlier days while they cut their musical teeth in the New York’s music landscape. Marvin Sewell, the album’s stellar guitarist, has been a frequent flyer in Cassandra Wilson’s ensemble since the late 1990s as well as Jack DeJohnette.

Abiah’s Life As A Ballad CD strives to connect us to the old, grand traditions of American pop and soul singing. Abiah use familiar imagery we all can identify with. This thoughtful and reverence awareness of a particular past helps distinguish Abiah’s songs from some of the typical rootless algae of pop and soul music that is performed today.

For more information on Abiah, please visit www.abiahmusic.com - San Diego County News


"ABIAH/Life As A Ballad"

MADOH MUSIC
ABIAH/Life as a Ballad: Working the black singer/songwriter tangent with a strong early Bill Withers vibe, Abiah surrounds himself with a bunch of first call downtown cats for a date that really stands out from the pack. Having been around the block a few times under various names, Abiah ditches the dross of the past and cuts to the chase. Leading with a five octave voice that he knows how to control and using it to voice songs that really do reach out and touch, this is loaded with the kind of well done, out of the ordinary moves that really grab hold and don't let go. Easily the kind of set that could benefit from a major label push, at the least it should be used as a text book to teach "American Idol" etc contestants the difference between doing car alarm imitations and SINGING!. Just a thought. If one percent of the callers that vote on these talent contests were to hear this set, those shows would be over in a heartbeat. Check it out.
- Midwest Record


"Abiah's Life As A Ballad"

Abiah, formerly known as Jeremiah Abiah, released his latest music project Life as a Ballad two months ago. It brings two words to my mind: Starbucks and Honeymoons. Actually, that wouldn't be a bad title for the next album....Starbucks & Honeymoons....hmmm...Anyway, the album's loungey and jazzy feel had me craving a mocha latté. The silky vocals and deliberately slow pace had me thinking of my wife poppin' in Abiah's CD and dimming the bedroom lights.


And what better way to start a honeymoon than with a song written by Prince? Abiah's approach to the remake of the '80s classic "Doves Cry" threw a curve ball at me. All in all, though, the rendition was a home run hitter. The subtle crescendo on the pre-chorus sounded like a melodic cascade as he sang "maybe you're just like my mother, she's never satisfied." He puts the icing on the cake when he's playful with the hook, letting the guitar pluck in the background - in essence, creating a delightful take on Mr. Purple Rain's hit. Yes, Abiah put a new twist to it. I likey mucho.


The organic sounds on the production are a pleasant "coffee break" from all the relentless synths, AutoTune and perpetual loudness that one is bombarded with on the radio every day. I can appreciate the acoustic instruments with which these tracks massage your eardrums. I don't know if I can credit the band for making me feel like I'm right there at intimate stage left nodding to their music or my Beats by Dr. Dre headphones which enhance the lush sound of the piano. Probably a little bit of both.


One thing's for sure. Abiah is one talented singer whose rich tone keeps the album alive. Upon discovering he sang backup for George Michael, I was hoping for a remake of "Freedom 90" or "Father Figure," but he's only giving you an appetizer on this go 'round. Next up to bat was "Foolish Heart" in which Abiah displays his falsetto range. What's impressive is that even his falsetto, which he maintains in the track "Goodbye," is rich in tone -- something very reminiscent of another falsetto genius, Philip Bailey from Earth Wind & Fire.


Unfortunately, that's where the "fun" stops. I find that the production desperately needs a tempo change on the album because the brush snare and acoustic bass sound like they are pushing each other to get through the loungey set and call it a day's work. The monotony of every track makes it hard to distinguish one from another save the hooks that ever-so-slightly give them their own unique quality.


If Abiah's mission was to cater to the café and lounge crowd, he accomplished his mission. However, I have music A.D.D. so I want to hear something different on an artist's album. This is where creative production and vocal arrangement should step up to keep the songs from sounding redundant.


Still, accompanying music should do more than just sound busy. I love memorable songs, hooks and melodies. Since we're talking about a slow album, I'll use Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed" as an example. Stevie's piano can be hummed from my memory. Another example of a slow dynamic song would be Alicia Keys "Love is Blind." Her haunting vocals gave the song an emotional dynamic that, otherwise, would have made the song's lyrical intent sound empty.


I know it's not fair to compare one artist to another but my point is that with a little more creative production Abiah can EASILY create memorable songs because he is NOT lacking vocal talent. In fact, the dude is a well sought after vocal coach in New York City and his songwriting ability is more than adequate. So what's left? Memorable music and vocal arrangement to shake the album out of its homogeneity.


If anything, I could be absolutely wrong about the need for better production if Abiah's target audience is the same as that of Norah Jones, who has made a successful career for herself by appealing to jazz, lounge and easy listening fans. The only difference is that Norah has also dabbled in pop and country in some of her work.


It's tough for me to say that the only song that stuck with me from Life As a Ballad was one originally penned by Prince. In my opinion, Abiah sounds like he is having the most fun with "Doves Cry" from what I can hear. I mean, who wouldn't have fun singing it? I turn it up and do karaoke in my car when that song comes on!


So, hopefully, on Abiah's next effort "Starbucks and Honeymoons," he'll continue evolving in his God-given craft and rise to newer heights.....and also remake "Freedom 90" for me. - Newd Magazine


"ABIAH - Life As A Ballad"

Shag carpeting, polyester leisure suits, mutton-chop sideburns and butterfly collars. If you ask folks who remember the 1970s, many of its hallmarks fell short of worth beyond the era in which they came to fruition, but that truth usually doesn’t apply to its music. There was plenty of vivaciousness and variety in lyrics and from performers, especially when it came to soul. Whether the artists reveled in fiery funk, politically-driven protest songs or steamy boudoir balladry, the music had layers of lusciousness that indelibly impacted those who encountered it; and that’s what comes to mind when experiencing Abiah’s sophomore release, Life as a Ballad.

Since his mother was a professional musician and he’s a cousin to Robert Glasper, it’s not a surprise that Abiah (who previously recorded as Jeremiah) has an affinity for music, but what’s mesmerizing is how well he conveys it. The arrangements, which combine his ear for melody and lyrical prowess with the skills of Glasper, guitarist Marvin Sewell and co-producers Ulysses Owens Jr. and Keith Witty, are luxurious and refined, and his tautly-controlled, yet tremulous vocals sparkle as the most brilliant jewel atop the painstakingly polished crown.

Each of the nine tracks reflect different moods and moments, but all are sensuous and soul-piercing: “September” is mournful and mellifluous, spilling his broken heart’s contents over a dash of high hat and a lone piano as he reminisces about the disintegration of a love affair in a way that recalls the plainspoken prose of Bill Withers: “I guess you lost your sense of humor, no longer think that I’m so clever/mouthing words before they part my lips, a conversation with you can be so damn quick.”“Goodbye” is as raw as it is resolute, and his arrangement of a trademark Prince hit (the title will make it easy to recognize) is as arresting and audacious as it gets, transforming its tangy funk-fueled suggestiveness into a vulnerable, yet leisurely-paced soliloquy.

If Abiah’s 2006 debut, Chasing Forever, served as an announcement of his undeniable aptitude, then this latest collection reinforces his place among past and present performers as a connoisseur of the craft. Supple and soothing, its sparse arrangements and expertly-applied trills and riffs will haunt listeners long after the CD concludes. The pace may be too languorous for some, but Abiah’s lilting croon and his sophisticated subtlety will reward ones willing to pursue this lavish Life. Highly recommended. - Soul Tracks


"SU presents Mosaic"

"...a singer with an innate ability for passionate songwriting that one cannot learn." - Billboard Magazine


Discography

September (single)
Goodbye (single)
Turn the Light On (single)
Doves (single)
Next Time Around (single)
Life As A Ballad (full album)

Photos

Bio

Ever since the untimely departure of Luther Vandross, the American pop scene has been absent of a Black American male balladeer possessed of chops beyond belief, staunch lyricism and emotional maturity. ABIAH (pronounced Ah-bee-yah) more than adequately answers the call of that absence with an album and a presence that is sensuous, soulful, honest, grown-up and quite passionate about restoring vocal excellence to the contemporary airwaves.

Who is ABIAH? These are the bare facts: he is a seasoned balladeer possessed of a five-and a half octave range; an established vocal coach and former Universal Republic recording artist; and he is of Ghanaian, Cuban, Native American descent, though raised in Rochester, NY.

While that background remains a part of his roots and identity, 2012 marks a musical, professional and personal evolution for the singer-songwriter. Previously known as "Jeremiah" in the music world (full name Jeremiah Abiah, the latter of which means 'God is my father'), Abiah sets forth his highly anticipated sophomore album, Life As A Ballad, reflective of a long journey towards his intensely personal sound and overall musical growth - consisting of nine self-penned originals.

"There was a moment when I thought I had lost my voice. "I was experiencing growing pains which were hard to decipher at first but eventually they helped me to trust my heart, sound and aesthetic again. I thought I would never record again. I even toyed with the idea but the music perpetually tugged at me. Changing my stage name was the impetus of a new beginning," reflects ABIAH. "This is how Life As A Ballad was born as I dealt with the idea of finding beauty in the dark, that glimmer of light when all hope seemed lost."

A move to New York City in the early 2000s saw ABIAH "hitting the pavement hard'' and eventually playing Central Park SummerStage and the world renowned Blue Note on a regular basis; though a turning point came when ABIAH started gaining the attention of major labels. As is frequently the case for ambitious but not yet quite industry-savvy young artists, ABIAH's fledgling recordings fell through the cracks. An entire album, brought to the verge of a major label deal, got shelved because the song the major label executives favored most was the only one not produced by a very major and deservedly much lauded producer.

"I'm not opposed to major labels. I just believe an artist needs to keep his finger on the pulse of everything. It's hard to be artist and business, but it is necessary," said ABIAH. "Initially I was angry and came out pointing fingers but the healthier aspect became, what did or didn't I do? Taking that responsibility has given me power and greater perspective."

While plotting his next round of moves, creatively and professionally (following his major label departure) ABIAH got practically handed an unexpected cottage industry, when he became an in-demand vocal coach, even featured on MTV's program, MADE. Initial inquiries from singer-friends impressed by his sound and range has blossomed into a side-business that finds him coaching up-and-comers prepping for demos and showcases, solid pros hankering to rise up to that proverbial next level, and musical game show contestants hoping to impress celebrity judges with noticeably increased prowess.

This recording is the result of ABIAH's steady and patient march over a decade in New York, finding the perfect songs and session mates to support his vision. Like any astute young artist in pursuit of a unique bespoke career path, ABIAH wisely sought out collaborators who were of highly skilled and veteran pedigrees, and of course, simpatico. Notable among those collaborators are very well regarded young pianist Robert Glasper, who is ABIAH's cousin who he met in earlier days while they cut their musical teeth in the New York's music landscape. Marvin Sewell, the album's stellar guitarist, has been a frequent flyer in Cassandra Wilson's ensemble since the late 1990s as well as Jack DeJohnette.

Ultimately, Life As A Ballad designates ABIAH as a contender for that sizable niche slice of today's market known as Adult Contemporary - the same slice where equally well-honed, melodious and crafty modern male vocalists like Michael Bublé, Jason Mraz, Sting, Seal and occasionally even Robin Thicke are seen to reside.