By Cowgirl Candace | Originally published for The Atlanta Voice
It’s country porch music. Or maybe it’s make-strangers-feel-like-family music. When soul singer and guitarist Abraham Alexander strums serenading cords on his acoustic then adds bluesy vocals, it’s rather dreamy.
“For me, it’s about emotion,” said Alexander, originally from Fort Worth, Texas. “Every note and lyric to my songs are important — so important that I find myself in these situations where crowds of people are hanging onto my every word.”
The 28-year-old musician visited Atlanta mid-June for the first time to debut his new single “Stay” live at Heritage Sandy Springs Museum outside Atlanta. Alexander traveled with marketing organization Visit Fort Worth for its annual “Fort Worth in Atlanta: A Night of BBQ, Music and Whiskey.” The summer social gathering shares a slice of the “City of Cowboys and Culture” with Atlanta business professionals looking for opportunities to network and build community in Texas.
Because Atlanta is the music capital of the South and also dubbed the “Hollywood of the South,” Visit Fort Worth wanted to showcase one of its newest success stories in the music industry. Two years ago, Alexander signed to London’s Mahogany Records. So he’s pretty young in the music industry, but his modest approach on the mic feels like an old church or neighborhood friend who can naturally sing (no, sang).
His studio mentor is Atlanta-born, Fort Worth-raised soul crooner Leon Bridges, who went on to become nominated for “Best R&B Album” at the 58th annual Grammy Awards for his first album, “Coming Home.”
“(Bridges) is a true artist,” Alexander said. “He’s extremely humble and a man of character. He’s always been a light for me through his work ethic and passion music when we’re in the studio collaborating.”
Even while wrapping up end-of-summer EP, “Lovers Game,” Alexander carved out time to tip Atlanta Voice readers about his journey from local to international stardom.
Here’s how Alexander has been able to become one of the most dynamic performers from the Deep South tastefully merging R&B, hip hop and country into timeless tunes heard around the globe:
- DROWN OUT EXTERNAL NOISE: “There are so many talented artists out here and so many critiques, comparisons that come with what we do,” said Alexander. “These comparisons can be crippling. New artists need to remember they have to stay focused on their gifts and making these gifts better every day. You can’t do that when you’re constantly wondering what everyone else is doing and trying to stay with what’s trending. Stay in your truth.”
- FIND YOUR UNIQUENESS: “Stop trying to be the next Beyoncé or Jay-Z,” he said. “Be you. What are you bringing to the table that no one else is offering? What sounds and songs can you recreate or create that no one has heard of before? That’s what will set you apart and grab people’s attention.”
- STAY INSPIRED: “Take time out to discover new music, places and ways of connecting with your audience,” Alexander said. “Visit Fort Worth provided an opportunity for me to travel to London for the Texas Music Takeover, which is where I eventually signed with label Mahogany Records. That experience opened up a new world for me to explore music on a deeper level.”
- DON’T GIVE UP: “We hear this so much,” he said, “but it’s true. If you have an authentic voice or can play an instrument that gets people excited, then go for it. You can literally catch me singing and playing my guitar while walking down any city street. I don’t care. It’s in me, and I want my music to be heard. That’s how I actually got so many fans. Just showing up to places and giving them an unforgettable performance.”
- GO TO EVERY OPEN MIC: “Every chance you get, perform,” said Alexander. “It’s sometimes scary, but you have to start somewhere. Open mics get your feet wet and are the perfect place to see if you really got what it takes to last. It’s also where you’re going to get the most honest feedback about your craft. I don’t care if the venue doesn’t even typically play your type of musical style. Go. You never know.”
- TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH: “It takes a lot of guts to put yourself on the line,” he said. “Sometimes you have to just go for it, but with good judgment. I knew Mahogany Records was a good fit for me. This partnership showed me that I could produce authentic music that I love, get paid to do so and travel the world along the way.”
- WORK WITH A TEAM OF PROS: “I can’t stress this point enough,” Alexander said. “You need people around you who really know the industry and who you can trust. Watch and learn from them so you don’t make the same mistakes and you’re able to sustain in the business.”