Newcomer Abby Anderson plays Red Hat Amphitheatre this week.
Most 22-year-olds are fresh out of college and just beginning their careers, but most 22-year-olds aren’t Abby Anderson. Anderson moved from Texas to Nashville at 17 to pursue her county music career, and she signed a contract with Black River Entertainment two years ago. Since then, Country Music Television (CMT) named her a “next woman of country” and she’s spent the last few months touring with alternative rock and pop artist, Rob Thomas. She opens for Thomas this Thursday, July 11th, at 7 p.m. at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheatre.
How has your upbringing influenced you as an artist?
I come from a big family. There’s seven kids in my family and I am the second oldest. As far as being in the music business, I’m really lucky to have learned how to work with all kinds of people from a young age. You learn how to listen to people and how to speak up for yourself. And that’s something I look back on now and I’m so thankful for.
Which artists inspire you?
Tina Turner is right up there next to Dolly Parton. I say those two because Tina Turner went and did her own solo career late in her life. She was in her mid-40s when she was finally Tina. That just shows it’s never too late to do what you love and to be at the top of the world doing it. For Dolly, she also had a slow start, but she kept going and became the Dolly we know and love today.
What was it like to move to Nashville alone at 17?
It wasn’t as hard as you think it’d be. I think I was naively optimistic about what I was going to accomplish at a young age and my parents were the kind of people that taught us to go for it.
In an interview with Glenn Beck you said it felt like “God was moving your hands” when you were writing music. Have you ever had a similar experience where it felt like writing music was your purpose?
Every day! When I feel close to God and when I feel centered, that’s when I write the best music. When I start wandering from that, it’s hard to write music, I don’t play great shows, and it’s hard to connect with people.
How do you center yourself?
Honestly, I’m still learning how to do it. Every day is different but a big part of it is making sure I wake up early and have time to pray, read, quiet my mind and be still before the hustle and bustle of the day. It’s tough being on the road; it takes discipline. Sure, I want to sleep in until 10 o’clock but I know I won’t be the best version of myself if I do.
What has been the best part of your tour with Rob Thomas?
Every night he watches our set from side stage. And when I go to put on my pack and my in-ear monitors, I get a 15 to 20 minute mentoring session with him. I ask him questions and for advice, and the mistakes he made that I can learn from. He’s very free with the wisdom that he shares.
What is your advice to young, aspiring artists?
Ask questions! Ask questions to people in the business who are doing what you want to be doing.
What has been the most rewarding part of becoming a country artist?
It is the most humbling thing to be in front of a crowd knowing that you are getting their time for a 35 minute set. And for those 35 minutes, you get to entertain them and spread as much joy as possible.
For a full list of summer concerts, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Raleigh Magazine.