[INTERVIEW] ABBY JASMINE

VIPER recently caught up with NYC rapper/singer Abby Jasmine to talk about making the Deluxe version of her album ‘Who Cares?‘, her friendship with Odalys, drill music and more…

What’s up? Your show with Tay Money at SOBs back in February was one of the last concerts I went to before pandemic season started.

Like one of the last concerts.

Rest in peace to live music. So congrats on the release of ‘Who Cares’? Deluxe! A lot of great new features on there, I feel like you’ve solidified your sound on this album.

Yeah. 

What have you been up to during this pandemic time? Are you still in the city?

I’m in Brooklyn. You know, I haven’t really gone outside forever. Actually my first, first, first night out was like the other night and we went to SNL and we saw Dave Chappelle, so that was cool. We was like right in the front row. I was like, “Whoa!” We seen Jim Carrey too, it was dope! But yeah, I’ve been good. I’m just trying to like maintain and keep living.

Have you been consistently working on music or are you focusing on yourself right now?

Honestly, this is like the longest break I feel like I’ve had in a couple months. I took maybe like, two, three weeks off and we’re mapping out what we want to do next, where I want to go next. So yeah, I’m about to go to the studio today actually to record some new stuff. I’m looking forward to being back in the studio. I can’t sit around for too long, I start to feel like useless.

It’s good to be busy, especially during this time. It also seems like you’ve been doing a bit of traveling during this pandemic as well?

Little, little travel. Little bit of travel.

Where did you go? 

Honestly, the only place I went was St. Martin, and that was last month. It was so fun. A little vacation, you know. I felt like I needed to just get out of the city, but I didn’t want to go to like, LA. I just needed to be on an island or a beach somewhere. I’ve never gone to a tropical island before, so we went, we were stressed. We had to take COVID tests to even go out there. We had a COVID test once we got there. I took the COVID test like three times in two days. Crazy!

Did you do any recording when you were traveling or do you only like to record in New York?

It’s depends, like for St. Martin, I was just trying to relax and chill. I didn’t really do any recording out there. But usually when I travel, I do work. I usually travel for work. I don’t really ever travel for leisure purposes. I’m always doing something. So if I go to LA, it’s probably to work. If I go anywhere, it’s probably to work. 

I really liked the use of choir singing on your album. It’s sprinkled here and there but specifically on the song ‘Relax’. What was the process like for that song?

So I actually had a choir! I sat in the session with them. The song was already recorded, but I felt like the song just needed a choir on it. We had Sing Harlem Choir. They came in and I met them and they asked me how I want them to sing the song. It was really hands on, you know. That was the first time I ever worked with the choir. I was like, this is dope. I want to do way more work with choirs and stuff. Choirs are dope.

What was your favorite song to work on this album? Which one was the most enjoyable to work on?

I would say, the first song ‘2020’ because when we recorded that, we went to the Poconos to take a recording trip just because I wanted to get out of like,  my regular recording routine. We took a trip to the Poconos and we sat in a cabin and it was just me, my engineer and Levy. And it was just like, this is fire! Nobody else is here, but us. I was able to really just hone in. Those were like the easiest songs for me to write and that was towards the end, so most of the songs were already done. Then we went back and did like the intros and anything that we felt was missing. I think that was the most fun, because it was just a really fun trip.

What made you decide to do this Deluxe album?

So even when we were about to finish the project and hand it in, I felt like there was something missing from it. At that point, this was around like, April, so I couldn’t really pinpoint what was missing. I sat with it for a couple months after it came out and we just all cohesively decided we should do the Deluxe. I wanted to add maybe like five or six songs at the time, I want to add a lot of songs. But with time and like scheduling and stuff, we only ended up doing four new songs. It was just a vibe that I felt was missing, I don’t know, maybe I just wasn’t ready to let it go. I was like, hmmmmmm, maybe we should go back in on it. Maybe we should just fix little things up, you know… I wanted it to feel complete, you know?

Do you plan on releasing any more visuals?

Yeah. I have a visual dropping on Wednesday. It’s for the song is ‘Stuck on You’. The videos dope. It’s colourful. I had mad fun on set, it was dope. 

How are you and Levy doing?

We’re doing great. We’re doing amazing. You know, it’s hard to quarantine with the person you love. But we’re getting through it day by day. Some days are easier than others. Some days are just like, ah! Man…

And you’re both creatives!

Yeah. But I think that just makes it better. We bounce off of each other a lot and like you know, we’re able to work with each other like real smoothly. So honestly, I wouldn’t do it with anybody else.

Tell me about your relationship with Odalys!

Odalys is mad cool…We dropped a song together. I’ve known about Odalys for years. All the kids I went to high school with like, she was on Tumblr and, you know, Tumblr days, right? But I ended up meeting her, because her team had reached out to mine and was just like, hey we want to do a song with you. I was like, okay! Shit. I didn’t even know y’all knew I was alive. This is fire. So yeah, we linked up at the studio, we did the song over maybe two, three sessions. Then we shot the video and it was dope. But we’re cool in real life like we go out together. That’s my good sis.

What’s been really getting you through this pandemic for you personally?

Weed, to keep it a stack. If we didn’t have no weed, I don’t know what  would happen! I feel like we would just be running rampant on the streets. The weed is only thing keeping me indoors right now, because otherwise I would have lost it.

I really enjoyed your song with Guapdad4000, ‘Groovy’! I feel like you guys really had like a great natural chemistry, and you guys really got along well.

I love Guap too! I just feel like I’m a really easy going person and really easy to get along with. I’ve known Guap for maybe like three years. Through like social media and stuff. We followed each other and stuff, so when we linked up, it just felt like, I’ve known you artists like time. It’s just natural. It was cool, I had fun. We was drunk, had some Henny.

What artists are you listening to right now?

I was just listening to the Ariana Grande album, that just came out. I’m like, really into pop music right now. I think I’m going through a phase like I’m just feeling hella nostalgic and just want to listen to all the old sounds that I used to listen to growing up. I love pop music. So I just been listening to mad Ariana Grande, a little Miley [Cyrus] sprinkled in there. Baby Keem, he’s not pop, but I love Baby Keem.

What about newer artists that people may not be hip to, either locally from New York or just in general?

Locally from New York, I mean, I feel like everybody I listen to got a little bit of pop. I be in my little world. So I just be hearing what everybody else hears. Like, I’ll go and do my little searches and stuff, but I can’t really think of anybody off the top of my head right now.

Since you dropped this Deluxe, have you been getting back into recording again/are you working on another project?

Yeah we’re going to do another one. This one, I want to take a little bit more time on it. I want to add more songs. I want to have like 14/15 tracks, like full length this time, and just really making something concrete, something like even more solid and cohesive. Learning and growing and writing and all that stuff. I’m excited.

What are you excited for right now?

I’m just excited because I feel like every time we lock in and do a project, something just clicks in me and I’m able to think more clearly with everyone. I know more like what I want to say, how I want to say it. I’m learning more about actual song structure, harmonies and all that stuff. I just feel like, I keep getting better and better. I just keep growing and growing. I don’t want to stop. I got to keep going. I’m just excited for growth and change and all that.

How do you feel about drill music though, and how it’s rose so quickly in New York and Brooklyn especially?

I love drill music, big Pop Smoke fan. I love Sheff G, love Fivio. Fivio is mad funny, he be having me weak. The drill scene is crazy, but it’s crazy how New York like kind of just slid in there. Like, hey we’re doing doing drill now. New York just has a way of taking something good and making it our own in a sense. Taking something that’s already done and just doing it different, with swag.

Do you have any message that you want to say to the world, to your fans, to the people out there listening?

I would just say, be yourself. It sounds corny as shit, but you should always be yourself in anything that you do, because that’s going to get you the farthest, than being somebody that you’re not. Facts.

@abbyjasmine

Interview by Calvin Schneider