Abby Anderson came to Nashville and found success quickly, but she is now embracing her creative freedom. Abby’s new album “Sugar Spice” is indeed an expression of that freedom. Anderson has a lot in common with many artists I have interviewed, except that she is not undiscovered. Please keep reading to learn more about Abby, the new album, and her new creative freedom.
Abby Anderson has Pursued Music Most of her Life
Like many songwriters who move to Nashville, Abby has worked toward a career in music from a young age. Anderson said, “I was born in San Antonio but moved to Dallas when I was eight. So, growing up in Texas, there was country music, football, and family. My whole family is musical. All my sisters play piano and sing. But I am an attention hog, so I am the only one who has pursued music professionally. I began taking music seriously from the moment I started playing the piano. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. So when I was thirteen or fourteen, I don’t think it surprised my parents when I told them I was moving to Nashville when the time was right. I am lucky to have supportive parents who encouraged me to do it. So, I moved to Nashville at seventeen.“
Can you imagine what moving to Nashville by yourself would have been like at seventeen? Many would have been scared to death, but Abby Anderson was fearless. The singer/songwriter said, “Nashville has been good to me. But when I think back, I didn’t realize how dumb that was. However, at the moment, I thought I was such a badass. I could have waited, but my naive confidence helped me immensely. We had some family friends in Nashville, who I lived with until I turned eighteen. One of my first mentors in town that encouraged me to move to Nashville, who I met at sixteen, was also here.” Knowing a few people in town helped make Anderson’s transition more manageable.
Record Deal to Independence
Upon moving to Nashville, Anderson quickly made a name for herself. After two years in town, she signed a publishing and recording deal, which is not the norm. Anderson said, “When I moved here, I was writing a ton and playing a lot of shows around town. Then, I signed a record deal at nineteen, and I am extremely thankful for the whole experience. Even though it feels like I’ve gone backward, signing a deal only two years into town doesn’t really happen.”
The ability to learn from your decisions is an essential lesson to glean from Abby’s story. First, Anderson had to discover who she wanted to be as an artist, and she did. The singer/songwriter said, “I got a speedy education into what I didn’t want, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. What I learned was how to listen to myself. I spent two or three years not listening to myself to please others, which is unfair to everyone. So 2020 was a blessing for me, which feels crappy to say because it was such a bad year. It was the first time I had the chance to sit with myself, and I realized I was miserable and didn’t love the music I was creating. So, I told myself I didn’t have to do it anymore. That was the beginning of all this new music.”
Abby Anderson is Enjoying her Creative Freedom
Record labels can lift someone into stardom, but many will maintain creative control. The importance of believing in the music you are performing is vital. Anderson said, “Being a label was an important part of my story, and I am thankful for that. But at the same time, writing what I want and putting the music out there feels great. I know I have a lot of country fans and pop fans, but with this new music, I hope the common thread is my piano playing and my voice. Everything I’ve ever listened to is coming together and feels cohesive.”
So I wondered what Abby’s thought process was in selecting the songs for the new album. It was simple, according to Anderson. The singer/songwriter said, “My thought process was whether I liked it or not. My producer and I started writing, and I realized I had wanted to write all these songs and this type of music forever. But I always felt I couldn’t because we were pushing toward radio, and that’s confining. That’s not to say I don’t want radio play, but I hope it is with music that feels authentic and in which I’m passionate. It’s liberating that I am the only one I have to please this time.”
What we learn through our experiences, whether they are good or bad, is how we shape ourselves as a person. Anderson discussed what she’s learned in Nashville. She said, “I mean this in the most humble way possible, but I’ve learned I am actually smart. For a long time, I told myself that I didn’t know anything and needed everyone around me to tell me what to do. Maybe that came from growing up in a big family and being a people pleaser. In 2020, when I decided to leave the record deal and go out on my own, I began focusing on what brings me peace and joy. I needed to start trusting myself and my intuition. It’s crazy, but those decisions are effortless when we listen to ourselves. God gave us everything we need, and it’s already inside us.”
Abby Anderson Releases “Sugar Spice”
Abby Anderson released her latest album, “Sugar Spice” The album includes nine songs, all co-written by Anderson and produced by Marshall Altman. Altman was a co-writer on seven of the songs too. The singer/songwriter said, “In Spring last year, my producer and I blocked off two weeks to crank out as many songs as possible. We invited a bunch of our friends to help us. It was like a revolving door of songwriters, and we wrote 2 to 3 songs daily. It was the most fun I’ve had writing. We were on fire creatively. So, we wrote this entire album top to bottom minus two previously written songs.”
While I like every song on this album, “Juicy” is probably my favorite. So I wanted to hear the backstory behind the music. Anderson said, “The day we wrote “Juicy,” my producer, Marshall Altman, told me about an idea nobody wanted to write with him. So when he said he wanted to write a song called Juicy, I was like, that sounds like my song. So immediately, I began playing the first chords you hear and singing, “skinny margarita, ain’t that senorita.” I thought about my mom, sisters, Texas, and the culture my mother brings from her side of the family. We are all Texas, Latina, loud-ass women. Juicy” is about every body type. I love that song, and the reaction to it makes me happy.”
“Sugar Spice” is more pop than her previous releases, but it all works together. The singer/songwriter said, “Where Did All the Cowboys Go” is a country song and “Juicy” is this 70s pop song, but these songs live together because of my piano playing and my voice. “Cowboy” and “Bad Posture” shows my quiet side. So, this entire album is me and my personality.”
Who is Abby away from the music?
Abby Anderson is full of energy on stage, but what is she like away from the spotlight? I can say she brought that energy to this interview. However, Anderson said, “When I am on stage or doing interviews, that’s my pure Abbyness. But, when I’m home, and it’s just my husband and me, I am still me but more relaxed. I am thankful to have someone I can be off with. So my husband and I just chill. I am grateful to have someone who loves me without music. If I lost my voice tomorrow, I would feel just as loved by him.
Abby Anderson is an insanely talented songwriter and performer with a refreshing vocal tone. I congratulate Anderson on her new creative freedom. I have been a fan since meeting her about three years ago after a writer’s round. So if you are like me and have been a fan, you will love Abby’s new music. I think we can all learn from Abby Anderson and always trust in ourselves because our choices will be the right ones when we do.