“It’s been a very strange 18 months,” said Ben Abraham during a Zoom call with the American songwriter.
For the Australian singer-songwriter, the time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been a long time. In addition to facing the same economic hardships and anxieties that face musicians from all walks of life, the 36-year-old had recently moved to Los Angeles, had just completed a six-year writing process and was ready to share a new one. album. with the world… then, Mars arrived and the world closed.
“I started 2020 playing the album in New York for Atlantic for the first time – they had a great reaction and there was just a super exciting buzz in the air,” he said. “I came home to Los Angeles to prepare for the year, map it out, look everywhere I went to play and all that. Then, about two weeks later, it all stopped. I got the call saying it was basically not going to be my year. So since then my pandemic experience has been a bit of a lonely soul-searching in my new home. “
Yet time was not entirely idle – on the contrary, Abraham began to revise and rework the record he had made, expanding it and really allowing its essence to come to life. Now he is preparing to finally share his efforts with the world. His second album is due in early 2022. On July 22, Abraham shared the second single: “Requiem”, a moving tune that captures who he is as a writer.
“’Requiem’ was inspired by a time in my own life when I was a leader in my church,” Abraham began, recounting the story of the single. “My parents were pastors and I was one of the children’s leaders… and the last few years I’ve really screwed up. So there was a specific day – and it usually seems so intense to people (which, I guess, has been intense) – where I had to sit in a room with a group of other leaders and basically confess all of my sins. I had to bar my soul and say ‘These are all the things I did wrong.’ And, like, it was largely a “supportive environment,” but looking back, it was a traumatic experience. It has become a huge turning point for me… both in my life and in the way I write music.
You see, Abraham has been a successful songwriter for years, both with his own production, but also with a variety of big names, like Kesha, Demi Lovato, The Chicks, and more. Through it all, what made his writing so unique was his ability to speak the truth honestly and straightforward… a skill he learned from trying to make sense of this traumatic day through song.
“A lot of the way I write music comes from these real-life experiences – I just write down what’s going on, really,” he said. “I try to keep it as narrative as possible. This is where ‘Requiem’ comes from, me coming out of the haze of all these years.
To that end, the resounding theme of “Requiem” lands with exquisite tact. In the chorus, Abraham makes an emotional appeal, explaining that the source of his misdeeds was not anger… it was sadness. Then from there the indie-folk arrangement seethes and grows, leading to a climax similar to the more meaningful work of Bon Iver or Vance Joy. Through it all, the ultra-personal story of Abraham’s traumatic experience with church leaders guides the way, but a more universal realization is reached in the end.
“I think the greatest works of art do that – they come from a very personal place, but then speak to something bigger,” Abraham said. “I think it’s a tension that all songwriters feel, especially as you start to get more and more fascinated by the art form. You can’t help but be aware that an audience is going to listen to whatever you write. But at the same time, you have to remember that the most powerful thing you can do is tell your own story the truth. This is how you achieve this weird kind of alchemy – somehow, by being specific to yourself, people see each other more. So it’s always encouraging to hear that people can interpret things differently, especially with songs where you’re like, “Well, that tells a very specific story. Then someone gets along in your job so you say ‘Oh thank goodness that Is to work!'”
For now, Abraham is excited to finally share this music with the world and has an enthusiastic eye on the months to come. As mentioned above, he started working on this new batch of songs six years ago… so he’s been sitting on these personal revelations for a long time. By sharing them now, he feels like a good time has only just begun.
“Once this album is released, I will be able to fully tell the story, I will be able to convey the global arc,” he said in conclusion. “This will be another interesting step for me, especially as I get a better taste of what it’s like to be vulnerable. I can already feel the power of it. There is a certain confidence that comes from telling the truth. When you’re trying to be someone you’re not, you’re still doing the mental gymnastics of trying to follow that facade. Whereas if you relax and follow the truth, there is a beautiful simplicity in it all. Like, ‘That’s just what happened.’ It definitely inspired me. And, besides… the world is on fire right now. I think the best thing I have to offer is to tell the real truth.
Ben Abraham’s second album is scheduled for 2022 – check out the viewer of the single “Requiem” below: