What is your names?
Heyyy! My name is Abigail but most of my friends call me Abi. My artist name “ÁBI” is how my name “Abi” would be pronounced in Korean!
What is your genre of music?
I’d say my genre is like a lego castle built with a bunch of other genres. There’s a R&B/Soul grit at the foundation of my writing, but an approachable, more mainstream/Pop melody and lyric that leads the music. At the same time, you can often hear that the harmonic support in each song has elements that are more Jazz/R&B, which stems from my band guys and their knowledge in the arrangement process!
Give us a little bio about you.
I’m originally from South Korea, but I moved around the world a lot growing up. I spent the majority of my years in Korea, and moved to Boston in 2015 to attend Berklee College of Music. Since graduating in the spring of 2019, I moved to Nashville and have been here for a little over a year, now! I spent the last couple of years working with a group of guys I met at Berklee, who I have worked with since 2016/17, to create original, Pop/R&B that comes from the innermost honest and authentic places in my heart. But since moving to Nashville, I have been trying to navigate through the current circumstances to discover ways to get the new music I have been working on, heard. With my time growing up split between California, South Korea, and Boston, I always dreamt of becoming an artist in the US music industry; but of course, I faced the challenges of not looking or sounding like other people here who are also pursuing a career in the industry as a Korean-American. I aspire to be an artist that represents the beauty of other multicultural artists around the world, and hope to create a space in the music industry for artists who come from varying backgrounds and identify with multiple cultures.
What made you go in to music?
I decided to step into the music world when I received a message on my YouTube Channel from a show in Korea called Kpop Star. They were starting to hold auditions for their third season, and one of the producers came across my YouTube channel and reached out. I was a junior in high school then, attending an International School in Daejeon, South Korea, and loved singing as a hobby but wasn’t sure if I was necessarily qualified for the role until I read that message in my inbox. I took that as a sign- that a new door was opening for me, and that something greater was waiting for me on the other side. Of course, we have all heard the behind-the-scenes nightmares that take place on reality shows like this one, but as much as it was an incredible learning experience, it also took a toll on my 15-year-old heart. Ultimately, my experience being apart of this reality tv show reeled me into wondering what my rights were as an artist, and led me to study and further pursue music in the US!
Are you a signed?
I am not currently signed, and am not even sure if that’s what I’m looking for at the moment. As more and more artists become independent artists (not signed to labels), I have been attempting to do it all on my own with a little help from my friends. With the knowledge and skills I learned in my years at Berklee, I booked local shows, performed in a music festival, personally submitted to music blogs to get reviews, and even set up 2-4 week tours to Korea with my band for three years!
You have released your new single ‘ELLA’, tell us more about the single. ‘ELLA’ can be interpreted as being a passive aggressive “dig”, but there is so much more to it than that. Like most girls, I grew up comparing myself to other girls- but I particularly compared myself to girls who were white Americans, because we shared the same culture but didn’t have the same external “look”. I always thought, “If only I was white, I could do such and such.” I thought I would be noticed more, I thought I would naturally draw more attention, and thought I would be more desirable. So with those feelings being benched in the back of my mind, when I faced an incident with someone I was in a relationship with- who was staying in contact with their ex who, I thought, technically-speaking, met all the “criteria’s”- I started to wonder why I wasn’t enough for them. And those thoughts that spiralled in my little head turned into the lyrics for ‘ELLA’!
What is the meaning behind the single?
I hope that this single will empower girls like me. I hope it will encourage girls who look like me or who have shared similar experiences will take the song and consider it as me saying “I’m with you.” You don’t have to stay in a relationship that is one-sided. You don’t deserve to stay in a relationship where someone doesn’t see your value or worth, to the point that they’re busy keeping up with someone else they used to be with. You have every single right to speak up about it, and to tell them directly that you can’t share their attention with someone that used to have it. ‘Cause that’s not fair!
Describe the track in two words.
Edgy & Personal
What was the writing process like?
I sat down with my friend Karlee Metzger, who is an incredible singer-songwriter (@karleemetzgermusic on Instagram) and went over what used to be a rough track produced by my boyfriend now, Nick Groat (@nick_groat on Instagram). We were brainstorming ideas for a song, and the feelings I had from my experience were still so fresh on my mind, the words literally just started spilling out onto my notebook. It wasn’t a difficult song to write, considering that Karlee and I both shared similar experiences in the past.
What was the recording process like?
Super simple! We recorded our vocal parts in Nick’s bedroom in Nashville, and he took it from there! We had a good friend of ours, JP Heston ( on Instagram) track some bass parts over it, and the rest of the production was all done by Nick!
Who did you work with on the single?
Karlee and I co-wrote ‘ELLA’ and it was produced by Nick Groat. JP played some bass on it, and the cover art was designed by Daniel Rattner ( on Instagram)!
Will we see a Music Video for the song?
Yes! There is currently a quarantine-music-video that I made with Karlee, up on my YouTube channel! Watch it below
Will we see a new EP or Album and if so, what can we expect?
I’m currently working on a couple different projects! I have some more ÁBI “band” material that is currently being recorded, which you can expect to have more of the classic Alternative-R&B/Pop sound as heard on my first album ‘Songs About Someone I Love(d)’, and am also working on more tunes with Nick which will deliver more of an Electronic/Pop/R&B sound! Super excited!!
Do you have any online shows coming up?
I will be posting some video clips on my Instagram in the next few weeks to share new music I have been working on with my band!
What else can we expect in 2020?
I’ve been writing a lot of new material, so stay on the look out for live updates via Instagram or my website!
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any up coming artists?
I recently recorded a part for an EP that Karlee is working on- so keep an eye out for that!
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
Yes, absolutely! They can email: email@example.com
Do you play any instruments?
I play a little bit of piano to help me write, but that’s about it! My band guys are way too talented for me to try and do everything on my own x)
Who are your influences?
Some of my biggest influences include: Amy Winehouse, Sara Bareilles, Adele, Emily King, and Lianne La Havas
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Real experiences. Seriously. Ever since I started writing, I have not been able to write from a “made up” perspective about something that doesn’t directly apply to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried and there are a ton of artists who are incredible at executing it that way, but I’ve learned that it’s just not for me. I’d say I definitely have more trouble trying to make something up than just writing about my honest experiences!
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Hopefully still working with everyone I am currently working with now! We’re a small team, but I am blessed to have so many friends that are so talented at what they do. I do, like many up-and-coming artists, hope that I will somehow gain more exposure one day, but my main aspiration and goal is to be able to have a bigger voice in the music industry in the US so I can be a representative for those who are just like me!
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Gosh. I mean, I have a full-time job, and am a stylist and a model, but my time is mainly focused on my music, and my other roles also contribute to my musical career in one aspect or another!
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
I honestly don’t think there was a song- it was more the fact that there wasn’t anyone I was listening to who had the same cultural background as me, and I wanted to change that for others.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Keep going, and make sure you’re there for yourself and others along the way.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Be yourself. Find strength in your authenticity and believe that it is worth sharing with the world.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
Oof. There’s a little shop near my house in Daejeon, South Korea that has the best Tteokbokki. It’s like a Korean snack that usually is served in a little paper cup or bowl, and you can always find walking through downtown areas! Yumm
Your coming off tour;
1/ Where do you go first? Home!
2/ Who do you see first? Family/close friends
3/What do you eat first? All the Tteokbokki I can find!!
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
My mic, a killer pair of shoes, mascara, gum, and business cards! Wow, what a weird list!
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
Yes, yes, yes! Instagram is probably the best platform right now- you can follow me @abigailkim_ and I’ll keep you up to date with new releases and exciting things that are in the works! Be sure to drop a message or say ‘Hi’ in the comments! See you over there!