Acclaimed U.K. singer, songwriter, and performer Absolutely is inviting listeners into the depths of her mind on her upcoming album Cerebrum.
Among the project’s 13 tracks are previous singles “24 Hours” and “Higher,” and one of her latest offerings, “Symphony.” The sultry R&B, alternative, and soulful singles provide a sonic exploration and expression of sensation, perception, and emotion.
A sought-after collaborator, this is Absolutely’s first major release as an artist and vocalist.
The South Londoner is currently impressing audiences across North America as direct support on her older sister RAYE’s My 21st Century Blues Tour. This 26-date jaunt, which concludes in Los Angeles on November 7, marks Absolutely’s first-ever tour.
Absolutely recently took a break from the tour to chat with ECHO about “Symphony,” touring with her sister, RAYE, and the making of her upcoming debut album Cerebrum, out November 17!
What is it like to share this milestone tour with your sister, RAYE?
It’s been such a beautiful experience. I am so grateful to have this be my first tour. It’s the best way it could’ve happened, really. I have the support from my sister and all of her welcoming fans on the way. So, it’s been the best way for me to learn and grow and a place where I feel I can be unapologetically myself while doing it. Also, watching my sister killing on stage every night and seeing the love that people have for her and her music is so inspiring.
In November, you’ll be releasing your debut album. What can fans expect from that project?
My album Cerebrum is my mind translated into a piece of art. Each of the 13 songs are very different, but they all live in the same universe. They are a collection of emotions and memories and feelings that I needed to express. It’s hard for me sometimes to say how I feel, so music is really my first language. I speak through Melodies and the words come after. Each track inspired a different feeling in me and the song is my expression of that feeling. That’s why the album is called Cerebrum. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain that controls the thoughts and emotions.
Overall, you could say the album is pop, but it’s a fusion of many genres and sounds in one. It’s everything but also like nothing in particular. It’s foreign yet familiar. I like to call it alien pop.
What was the production process for the album like?
Creating the album was a fun and easy-flowing process. I made it with the incredible Dave Hamelin, who is boundless when producing. We made a new world of music. There wasn’t much overthinking with this project, everything came together on its own. In our sessions, Dave would pull up a track and I would freestyle Melodies and if the song was meant to be, it would come otherwise, we wouldn’t force it. We just kept creating until we felt like it was time to stop.
You have many co-writing credits to your name. What was the catalyst that encouraged you to become the performer and not just the writer?
I feel like I’d always known I would be an artist myself. As much as I love writing for other artists and helping them find their sound on their journey, I’ve always had a vision for myself to create something new. When I started working with Dave, my sound and artist identity really started to form. I knew those songs were meant to be mine because they didn’t fit into any category, and I couldn’t see any other particular artist singing them. I’d created a new world for myself and I want to keep building it.
What was the inspiration for your latest single, “Symphony”?
“Symphony,” I actually produced myself in my home studio. I was messing around on the keys and found some beautiful chords that you hear in the first verse. I then knew I wanted the song to have an unexpected moment. And I heard the brass section in my head before laying it down. I wanted the song to be a journey. I was feeling a lot of love at the time, and I wanted to make the song sound like the feeling of love and longing.
You noted on Instagram that with this release, a “new room unlocked.” Can you share more about these rooms and what you are building?
The album Cerebrum is based on the mind, and the artwork (the building) is a visual representation of it. There are 13 rooms in the building, each of which are a different song. The interior of each room was inspired by a different part of the brain. “Close To You” is a sense of touch, and temperature, and in the room, I’m holding my warm glowing heart. “24 Hours” is a body clock etc. With each single, we revealed a new room from the building, and when the whole album is released, we will see all 13 rooms together.
If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to the album, what do you imagine it looking like?
When I came up with the album’s artwork concept of the building, I had envisioned an immersive listening experience. There would be 13 rooms that people could walk through, each of the rooms would be playing its song and would have the feeling and mood that it represents, like you could walk through a life-size version of the artwork.
What is one quote that you have heard or go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Philippians 4:13
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