My husband often listened to me as I sang music while cleaning the house. Most of the time I would sing songs from my childhood, church songs or any random tune. One day I was scrubbing the stove and singing loud, and he asked me, who sings that song? I responded to him, “No one, I wrote that song”. He was amazed by my talents and complimented me (I think he may have just thought I was cute….) He advised me to look into playing an instrument. That year in March of 2003, I received my first guitar as a birthday gift, I named her pinky.
For the past eight years I have combined my guitar skills with my vocals, and have managed to write over fifty songs. Of those 50 songs I chose to work on a few. In 2009 I decided that I was ready to invest my time and efforts into the business side of music. I saved a little money and begged a few good friends for the rest.
In the spring of 2010 I started the recording process of the “The Naked Truth” through FireFly Studios of Toledo, Ohio. In Late August of 2010 my original collection “The Naked Truth” was introduced. I hope you enjoy!
My music is an introduction to my chaotic life… I am Abigail Ball, a singer and original songwriter. Through writing, I have come to know my own stories and I truly love sharing them with others. My lyrics and melodies are sung from heart, displaying the beauty that life can offer, and sometimes exposing the contrary. I will continue on my path and face each day with faith, confidence, and modest regard toward others. I hope you enjoy my latest record, “The Naked Truth”.
Hi Abby, Dave and I noticed that you had followed Songwriters Marketplace on Twitter – we had a look at your site and found a treasure. Tell us a little about your upbringing and did music play a part?
At the age of five I was introduced to church music. My babysitter was more like a grandmother to me and she loved to sing. She was the most faithful believer I have ever known. She would clap her hands, wave them in the air, and tap her feet to any beat. I kind of assumed that’s what you were supposed to do when music was played.
Annette was very dear to me. She passed away a few years ago but forever she will be remembered as my steer. Annette taught me to be proud and true. Every Sunday we were in church dancing, singing, mingling with friends and by Monday it was back to reality school for me and work for her. Annette never made me feel as though I was her job in fact she once told me “If you can take your passion, mold it, and make a dollar, you’re far beyond the wits of most men”.
I am thankful for the introduction of music, wisdom, and guidance that Annette offered me at such a young age.
Who were your influences?
My greatest influence is my father. My dad came into my life at the age of one. He and my mom started dating and within a few years he was begging me to call him dad. To this day I have yet to call my father “Dad”. By choice I wish to call him by his name. Because of this action are friendship has grown on an equally based level. My father has always had significant bond with me, he is a very wise man, and through his words of wisdom I have gained true knowledge. My father is my greatest influence.
You have been singing all your life, what made you decide to start performing to an audience?
I had no intentions of performing in front of an audience though it did happen. My first solo performance was at the age of fourteen. Solo ensembles provide student musicians an opportunity to perform a solo or an ensemble in front of an adjudicator and a limited audience, and to receive constructive comments, both spoken and written, from the adjudicator. The primary benefits to the students are the experience of performing alone or in a small group, and a critique from someone other than their regular music teacher(s). These contests also serve as regional qualifying events for the State Solo/Ensemble Contest every spring.
I was proud when I took home a first place ribbon and my first reward. I knew I had something good.
Something sparked in you and made you a songwriter – tell us about that?
At the age of twelve I lost my niece to SIDS she was only three months old. I wrote the song ‘Darling I Need You’. I had no clue that I had even written a song. I hummed the melody and sang words for years. At the age of fifteen I jotted the lyrics down on paper and excepted that I was a writer. I continued writing in my journal and singing to my best friend my sister. She was the only person who would and did sit for hours listening to me. When my sisters friends would come over she would make me sing for them. All of their gracious comments were greatly appreciated and encouraged me to keep writing.
Your material is very eclectic and equally skillful in – rock, country, pop, even a little blues/R&B, how do you see yourself as an artist?
As an artist I see myself as energy sometimes negative and sometimes positive. I believe that life must stay balanced and for whatever the reason I am capable of balancing energy not only within myself but within others as well.
I am in tune with the layers and dimensions that the true reality of existence has to offer.
I guess we can tag this to the last question – you write in different genres – which one is the easiest and which the hardest for you?
I love country music. I could country in 5 minutes. I am from Bowling Green, Ohio home of the Tractor Pull USA.
What inspires you to write?
Stories, people, knowing, and not knowing are some of things that inspire me to write. I love meeting people that are willing to talk to me. Once I have decided that an individual intrigues me, I ask them to tell me a story. I love stories, I love to write, but I hate reading.
Every singer/songwriter has a way in which they write. When you write are you a perfectionist, finishing and polishing before anyone can hear it – or do you allow some flexibility for the song to come into being in the recording process?
I am always open to flexibility, and I love working on projects with people. I am not a perfectionist at all, in fact I am as sloppy as they come. Often it is hard to make out my words and it is kind of crazy when I write. I do not like to write songs with anything but paper and pen, this way I know my words cannot be erased and forgotten.
My producer is amazing and he truly is a gift on my path of life. When I first met him he had a recording studio at his house. Something crazy happened the first time I entered his home. In the corner of one room there sat an organ with a missing leg and a brown recliner. The crazy part of the story is that one year prior I had gotten rid of a legless organ and a brown recliner. I knew I was in the right place. Because of this I am very open to his direction.
How about giving us a workshop on how ‘I Realize’ was written – from the first word on the page to the finished recording?
When I was fifteen years old a dear friend kissed me for the first time. She and I had been friends since first grade and when she leaned in for that first kiss I was shocked, amazed, and scared. She knew me, she understood me, and she accepted me.
“I Realize” is a mixture of stories, people, places, and times within my years. I had a very hard accepting that I was attracted to males and females. I was so scared of what others would think
Over a period of eight years I explored life and found myself. I Realized that being scared of who I am and holding onto the thoughts of others would only make me unhappy. I realized that holding on too tight does hold you down. I know I cannot make everyone else happy however I can make myself happy and hope that it makes those who love me happy.
“I Realize” is significant to me because the story is true, genuine, and catchy.
Your hooks are strong and ‘sticky’ do the ‘hooks’ come first and then the verses, or is the story the most important thing in your songs?
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I swear it feels like some other source has delivered me a message. A fair mixture of hooks and verses come to me. I have no control over the lyrics, thoughts, melodies, and pictures that come to my head however I do have control over what I chose to write down and work on.
If a song stays in my head for at least a month I will jot it down and start working on it anything less than a month gets pushed and aside and many times forgotten.
You said you have written over fifty songs – what in you tells you which song is a good song?
I like all my lyrics however I am truly touched by true stories. One time I met this guy Kim. His wife had just passed away from cancer and by fate I spoke to Kim for over an hour. I came home that night and wrote a song titled “Hello Kim”.
Like I said before, I love stories. Kim had an amazing story to tell and I listened. I know a song is going to be good when I take the time to listen to it.
Every song on your CD is strong and distinct in genre and story, what’s in a song that makes you want to record it?
I allow my family and friends to choose the songs I record. They are the ones who listen.
Your CD released last August- how has it been received?
I received positive feedback from my family, friends, and local community. Often I am asked about my CD cover which I believe has generated more feedback then the music itself. I am pleased with my effort and the response I have received.
Great musicianship on the CD. Who’s playing with you on the CD ‘The Naked Truth’ How about an introduction?
Brett Dennison owner, creator, and mastermind behind Firefly Studios. Brett is an amazing friend and a bit out there. He and I are alike in many ways and without him my stories would not be whole.
Dave and I love the quality of your voice – especially the gravel growl when you sing up in register – it isn’t often we hear singer/songwriter’s songs match so well with the singers style – do you write with your voice in mind?
I love theater, drama, and musicals. When I write any song I write in full character and nothing less.
Tell us a little about what it took to record your first CD.
Time, money, dedication, persistence, effort, family, and faith.
Your video has you look every bit a down home girl, do you see yourself that way?
I am down home at heart, but for some reason I can see myself in many spirits.
You have a large following and are very popular locally – do you envision a career move, in the future, to LA, Nashville, or New York?
I envision myself and my family as leaders. As to where we will lead I do not yet know, however I do know my day is near.
Any new projects in the works?
I am currently working in the studio on a new album which will be released by mid winter 2011/2012
So what’s in the future for singer/songwriter Abby Ray?
I live for the moment, I have no plan. My intentions are to embrace each moment as though it is my last.
Thank you Abby for a wonderful and insightful interview. You have certainly chosen your correct life path.
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