Abi Moore’s career in music is not one that follows the rulebook.
“I wasn’t brought up in a musical family and the only way I got to do the job I’ve always wanted is to put my nose to the grindstone, work ridiculously hard and teach myself about an industry I knew nothing about. And of course, that has meant that I’ve made mistakes and had to learn from them.”
Abi Moore was born in 1983 and her parents, a Hungarian nurse and a teacher from Yorkshire, moved to the rural county of Lincolnshire when she was two. She spent the majority of her childhood here and showed an early talent for the arts, taking keyboard lessons at the age of five.
“When my teacher put the music in front of me, I hadn’t got a clue how to read it. He told me the name of the song and I just played it to him by ear. I did that for two years before anyone noticed! It still confuses people now that I do everything by feel. To me, written music is just maths and I hate maths.”
Abi’s talent was more of the natural kind. Singing was her first love, and although she didn’t have lessons until the age of fourteen, she had so much experience singing in choirs, bands, musicals and studios by that age that she was already a well developed vocalist and passed all her grades in a very short time. As she grew up, she learned the violin and played in the county’s Concert and Symphony Orchestras and string quartets as well as taking drum lessons.
By the time she was seventeen, she had decided singing was to be her career.
“If I’m honest, I’d known that since I was three or four. But I went to a strict grammar school and the arts were frowned upon, so I did what they wanted and got good grades. I was accepted to do an MA in foreign languages at uni but I’d no intention of ever going.”
In fact, Abi had already secretly signed with four or five agents and was gigging professionally all over the country whilst also studying for her A Levels. It was a hard slog and at this stage, she was singing cover material on the notorious pub and club circuit.
Abi’s “cabaret” career was earning her good money, but little satisfaction. She became very streetwise and learned early on about dodgy managers and unfair record deals. Having been stung by both, she was getting wise to the showbiz life and although her reputation as an outstanding live performer meant she was sometimes entertaining audiences of up to 15,000 people at venues such as the London Palladium and Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium, she was beginning to realise what was wrong.
“I wasn’t being me. And that is so important at the end of the day. There was no challenge in what I was doing. I needed to write. I’m a very quiet and introspective person in real life. I didn’t want to make a show of myself and have to dress in sequinned outfits, plaster makeup all over my face and sing other people’s songs. And there were so many emotional things going on in my life, I was dealing with death and bereavement at every turn, growing up too soon and I had so much responsibility for so many things, that it became laughable pretending to be someone I wasn’t.”
At heart, Abi was a wordsmith. She’d been writing songs since her childhood, and, although she had kept it quiet, her poetry and short stories had been printed in a number of literary publications. It was now that Abi made a decision to go back to that – to concentrate on writing and to continue singing in a way that suited her personality. She bought a guitar and piano and taught herself to play them, sought out backing musicians to gig with and did some research into the folk and acoustic scene. It was a strand of the music world she knew even less about.
In 2002, she hit the acoustic world with her very first show of original material and was surprised at how quickly she was embraced by her new audience. Her live shows “mesmerised her listeners with wise-beyond-her-years lyrics and a voice that oozed honesty and passion” (The Troubadour, London) and her knack for writing “heartrending lyrics wrapped up neatly inside a package that leaves her audiences in awe” (Lincolnshire In Focus) soon became her trademark.
Support slots for other artists beckoned and as Abi was working on her first album she opened for Midge Ure and Jim Moray. She started playing the festival circuit and in 2004, played at the Summer Sundae Weekender with the likes of Nick Harper, James Morrison and Amy Winehouse. Her acoustic set “was the highlight of the Rising Stage” where “she had the audience cheering away” (www.virtualfestivals.com).
On the 16th June, 2006, Abi released her debut album “The Aftermath of ’96.” Chronicling her thoughts on family dysfunction, questioned morals and life experiences since the death of her best friend in the summer of 1996, Abi’s album was a success with both fans and critics alike. The Lincoln Chronicle described it as “an impressive and emotionally involving introduction to a bright new talent,” and Abi had not only written and arranged the songs, but also played the majority of the instruments and recorded, edited and mixed the album with “professionally executed production” (Musician’s Union).
BBC radio and T.V soon got word of Abi’s talent and she now plays regular slots in between touring throughout the UK and teaching music workshops to children from 3-18 years throughout Lincolnshire.
Since her debut album, Abi has gathered a whole new army of listeners around the country and a huge following throughout her home county, with a massive amount of Lincolnshire bars, restaurants and cafés playing her CDs to their customers. Lincoln’s Old Bakery Restaurant says: “Abi Moore is the finest performer in the county of Lincolnshire.” And Lincoln Drill Hall agrees, saying she is “fast becoming something of a legend... beautiful and passionate songs, superb arrangements and thought-provoking lyrics. Abi's on stage style and honesty also leave you feeling as though you've actually got to know her during one of her gigs. Highly recommended."
She continues to open shows for other artists: more recently she has played with LAU, the Coal Porters, Jonatha Brooke, Dave Swarbrick, Steve Tilston and 10CC.
So it is no surprise that demand for a second album has led Abi to release “Things We Should’ve Said.” Still running her own career independently, Abi has become a self- assured composer, writer, arranger and sound engineer and the new album promises to be her finest yet.
Says Abi: “I felt I could explore some new arrangements and let out a little more of my personality this time around. I’m lucky that I’m totally in control of all my own work and I have no-one to answer to, so I can continue to write the kind of music I love and experiment with different styles. I grew up in the late 80’s and 90’s so there is bound to be a pop and rock influence in my style, and there are elements of funk and Motown on this album as well. But I won’t abandon my roots in acoustic music. I like the purity and woodiness you hear in the acoustic guitar, violin and mandolin and I’ve played a lot of folk clubs in the past couple of years, so there are a few nods to that.”
And what does the new album sound like?
“I take inspiration from life rather than other artists. I just write what’s in my own head and heart. But to give you an idea, I think if you like Simon and Garfunkel, Beth Nielsen- Chapman, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Karine Polwart, Kate Bush, Paul Carrack, Sheryl Crow, Crowded House, Joni Mitchell or Carole King, then you’ll like my album too. Although there is some very serious subject matter, the music is very accessible, and it’s balanced by a real sense of positivity. I’ve also spoken out about social issues the British public are facing every day and I think there is a lot of material that people will really relate to. Other than that, you’ll have to ask the listeners what it sounds like!”
The new critically acclaimed album has attracted a large amount of attention with radio stations the world over playing the new songs. It also caught the attention of internationally respected coffee chain Caffè Nero, who asked Abi to become their Artist of the Month during August and September 2009. Caffè Nero's 360 UK stores are now playing songs from the new album exclusively at 2- 2.15pm every day and Abi is embarking on a massive 70 - date tour to promote it.