We had the good fortune of connecting with ABBEY KILLIN and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi ABBEY, what matters most to you?
From my experience, the value of self-defense. You’re probably thinking, in an artistic world where being vulnerable is asked a lot of us, how would that work? I thought that too. To me, self-defense is important so your personal spirit and livelihood isn’t overwhelmed to the point where you’re giving so much of yourself, there isn’t any of you left! It took me a long time to be ok with not going a hundred-miles-a-minute. To be ok with not saying yes to everything, to be thoughtful and selective. I think it’s important to remember that you without art, is still an “art” in itself. It’s hard to find a balance between stretching yourself to get to that goal and understanding the lengths at which you can stretch. Work and life balance is a moving target. But, it’s important to know if you miss the mark, you can still aim and try again. You can still take a minute to relax too. You can protect yourself and still be vulnerable. I feel more open because I’m more aware of my emotions. Being okay with “me” without any add-ons I think is what I found challenging. Something which stuck with me when I was let down – didn’t get a call back or something – my coach in high school asked if it would stop me from singing? Or acting? No. As long as whatever discourages you doesn’t stop you, you’re doing right by yourself. That’s what’s important to me. In my writing, most of it, is in a form of defense. If I’ve been hurt, I write about it in my defense. If I am feeling for a movement or cause, I write about it in support or in-defense of the causes I care about. It’s empowering and it also empowers. To me, it’s the healthiest and weirdly, the most open way to be vulnerable. My new song, is in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Equal Justice Initiative. It incorporates the frustrations and emotion I felt in 2020. I’m excited to share more of my new songs because they are personal and emotional yes, but also lively and progressive.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I grew up in a really small town. Not a lot to do, but it gave me time to write and explore creatively. With less noise, I felt more connected. Ohio is peaceful with lots of room to think. But I always felt a pull for performing or longing for a stage to be on. Getting older things got noisier. In most stages of my life I was bullied. Both for being myself and not knowing how to be myself. I think what’s most important to know is that people will find away to pick at you no matter what you do. Keeping that in mind, I realized I could’ve trusted myself more to just be myself. But who we are is constantly changing, I think it’s important to know that’s ok too. I changed my artistic platform from a jazz style to more pop/house/dance, because I wanted to try something new. I felt connected to the style and I thought it would be interesting to see how I could implement creative lyrics, with pop or dance music. So here we go! Stay tuned, haha!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
#1. Free Man’s Cajun Cafe in Deep Ellum! It’s got amazing live music from local artists and the best and I mean, the BEST, fried chicken and gravy ever. #2. The Curtain Club! Again local artists, a bar and open to new singers and artists too. #3. Support local theatres by seeing a great show at the Water Tower theatre, Kitchen Dog Theatre, Dallas Theater Center – tons of great work in Dallas! Go out and experience it (when safe!!) OR like their fb pages / watch their live performances during COVID-19!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve had a lot of great mentoring so I have to start with an acting teaching (going back to College!) and then my coach, Troy Malone, for music. My friends, family, and everyone who’s stuck around and supported me, I will always be grateful for. I studied acting under Gail Cronauer during my time at Collin College (and still take her ZOOM classes to this day). She would stress, “People want HEROES, not victims”. I learned I can still explore or have emotion and feel comfortable. To bring “ease” into my on-camera life. She is also a fantastic, working actress so her real-time advice and guidance is great. I encourage everyone to check out her recent film, Vast of Night on Amazon Prime! Similar vibes to The Twilight Zone. Great film. I’m grateful for everything she’s taught me, a lot of which transcends from acting into my day job. “The best way to be interesting, is to be interested”. I apply what she’s taught I would say almost every day. I work to grow business through working with a videography company: directing sales, writing scripts for companies, or being a spokesperson. I am better at focusing-in to learn how I can help the next client, portray the next character in film, or write my next song. Speaking of film characters, Anthony Gainer and Rob Maxson have had a great influence in my life. I’m grateful to have been apart of their their meaningful short film, “A Good Man”. If you haven’t checked out their work before, follow their production company @ The Ink Well Project on Facebook!
Troy Malone is my music teacher and mentor who has significantly helped me on my latest songs. He has worked in California for years, writing professional music as well as producing hit songs. That being said, he likes to keep his identity close to himself. He is an amazing confidant, as I have a lot of emotion and meaningful lyrics to my songs, but the next piece I felt was figuring out “what makes a hit”. He really worked with me on “free singing” or improvisational singing – which has really opened up a lot of new doors for me. I’ll additionally be grateful for Kyle Herridge because he helped compose most songs I have out now under Abbey & The Afternoon. His piano work is unreal and I still feel like I’m always learning from him. We’re excited to take our music in this new pop, house, somewhat jazzy direction!
I’m additionally grateful for my boyfriend, but also, secret rapper, Danny Walsh Roberts OR WalshStreet. His freestyle rap is actually incredible. I’ve really never heard anything like it. I’ve never had much of an interest in rap, but the lyrics and music some people have written who he has showed me, has made me come to better appreciate it. Mac Miller is one of my favorite artists now. I collaborated with Troy and we made it so Danny (WalshStreet) is now a featured artist on the song we have out now “Dancing on the DarkSide”. I’m excited to share it unmastered, recorded Corona style. It’s out now on SoundCloud under AbbeyKillin. With a lot of frustration against the unjust acts of violence in America, this was the song that came out of it. The song is free but we please ask for considering donating or following the Equal Justice Initiative for better combating racism and racial injustice. That would mean the world, thank you.