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ON BEAT: Abbi Love

Senior commercial performance major Abbi Love is a soulful powerhouse of indie-pop.

She sings with expressive vocals, accompanied by cavernous choruses and pungent percussion.

With a striking imagination, Love tends to write from the perspective of characters in films such as “The Hunger Games” and the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” as her lyrics and production styles pursue themes that would work well in sync placements.

In her lyrical and production themes, she shows her desire to form stronger, more intimate connections between a dialogue and an audience, through empowered storytelling.

Taking inspiration from role models such as Amy Winehouse, Adele, Patsy Cline and Miley Cyrus, Love dominates in vocal stamina and vivid lyric writing.

The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.

What is your favorite thing to write about?

Abbi: For a lot of my songs, I write the hooks while I’m in the shower or doing the dishes. They just kind of come to me. So, whatever I’m going through. But if I’m sitting down trying to write a song, then I usually like to turn to TV shows or books I’ve read and take a situation from that and try to expand on that. Like when “Stranger Things” came out, not this past season, but the season before, I would sit down and take a situation from that TV show and try to put myself in the character’s shoes and write from their point of view.

Do you think Belmont’s School of Music program has been beneficial to your artistry?

Abbi: The program has been helpful to me because we break out into studios. So, at this point, we study with the same voice teacher and then we are with a really small group. And my seminar class is really helpful because it’s a small group of people I know really well and they will give honest feedback. So, if you sing something or bring in a new song and they don’t like it, they’ll tell you that. So, it’s kind of a safe place to mess up. I’m in a studio singers class right now and we’re typically working on singing in a studio and how to get the best content in the studio. And honestly, the overall theme is if you’re going to mess up, it’s better to do it now, in the School of Music, rather than out in the music industry. So, it’s good to make a lot of mistakes because you can learn from that. But, yeah, I think the School of Music has been extremely helpful.

What’s a piece of advice you wish you were given before coming to Belmont?

Abbi: This is actually such a good question because I was really shy when I came here. So, whenever there was an opportunity presented, I’d be like, ‘well, there’s probably someone else who‘d be better at it than I would.’ So, I would just let it slide or I’d be so scared that I wouldn’t get the opportunity that I would pass on it. So, this year I was like, ‘always be the first to raise your hand whenever anybody asks about an opportunity.” So, I’m always the first to raise my hand now and I take the opportunity even if I’m scared. I had a professor who was like, “I have this gig where you just send your vocals over it’s a paid gig and the client is from Australia.” And I was like, “I’ll do it!” So, now I have this really cool gig where I send my vocals to this person in Australia and get paid for it.

What’s your favorite collaboration experience?

Abbi: Right before COVID, I got assigned to someone, and they were like, “Just so you know, he’s actually in LA right now because he’s studying with Belmont West, so you have to do it over Zoom.” And I had no idea what Zoom was because this was before COVID. So, his name was Martin and we did the co-write and we wrote this whole song together over Zoom. We had a really good connection and the product was actually really good. Sometimes, when you do co-writes with people for the first time, it’s kind of just like an icebreaker-type thing. But the product was really good and we were like, “let’s meet up again over Zoom and polish it and release it.” And he was like, “Well, I still live in LA. So how are we going to record this?” Well, he ended up making the tracks. And then he said he had a friend in Nashville. I ended up meeting his friend, but never meeting him in person, and then recording the song. And we released the song without ever meeting each other. So, that was my favorite collaboration experience because I feel like it kind of gave us a head up on everyone else.

What was the name of the song? What’s it about?

Abbi: It’s called “No Man’s Land.” I came to Martin with the first verse, but I kind of had “Hunger Games” vibes, like young adult dystopia, like a teenager going to war kind of vibe. And after he heard it he was like, “What if we wrote it as if it was going to be in a movie like that?” So, the production really sounds like it’s for sync for a movie and TV.

How do you stay inspired?

Abbi: Honestly, it’s kind of hard because I really struggle to sit down and write a song. I force myself to schedule cowrites and then I’m dreading it because I hate trying to force creativity. But this is super helpful; I have a voice memo app on my phone and anytime I get an idea, lyrical or melodic or something, I’ll record a blurb and just label it “Song Idea.” And so I have like hundreds of 30 second clips of me just being a goofball, and then when I have a co-write coming up, I’ll go through and listen to them. Half of them are terrible and I delete them, but then sometimes I’ll take them to a write and use those ideas. It’s like my little diary thing.

This interview was conducted and transcribed by Emma Halloran.

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