Published on July 30th, 2014 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson


My Exclusive tête-à-tête with Sudie Abernathy…

Tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it actually all begin for Sudie, nee’ Abernathy?

I remember we had an electric upright piano, which I actually now have at my apartment here in Dallas, because my older sister started piano lessons. I loved the piano so much that I’d play it around age 4 or 5, and wrote my first song with lyrics and a melody…It was just awful! But, I loved to play and sing it because it was mine. At 5, I started taking singing lessons and the rest is history. I was always involved in music, mostly performing and singing, but I also took piano lessons. If I wasn’t performing on a stage in front of an audience I didn’t know, I was at home with my sister and friends making up dance moves to ABBA or (The) Phantom of the Opera to perform for the family.

Now you are a Florida native, correct? So growing up, who all did/do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?

Well, I was born in Florida, but shortly afterwards we moved to Texas. When people ask me where I’m from, it’s a difficult question to answer because I moved around a lot growing up. Because I started singing at such a young age, almost 19 years now, I pull from a plethora of different styles and areas of music. For example, influences for my vocal style would be different from influences on my songwriting or producing style. But, since I didn’t really start producing my own stuff until more recently, vocally I would say Ella Fitzgerald is my idol. She really brought something out in me when I listened to her for the first time. I have been trained in several different styles of music, vocally, but I was never actually trained in Jazz, although it’s something I love to do. I always credit Ella for being my mentor and teacher. When I was living in Atlanta, I listened to more R&B and classic rock. Then when I was living in Dubai, it was just an explosion of everything all right in your face. At first this was a little jarring, but after you are able to open your mind, so much can be processed and let in. For example, 5 times a day wherever you are in the city, you can hear the call for prayer from the mosques. Most of the time you are able to hear 2 or 3 of these at the same time, because there are so many in such close proximity to each other. After graduating high school, I moved back to Texas and started my freshman year at Southern Methodist University studying classical and opera. Those four years also had an extremely strong influence on my music now. It is what actually got me to start producing my own stuff. And, all of that combined is what I give you with my music now.

How would you describe and/or define the style of music that you create and perform?

First and foremost, I’d say I have a D.I.Y. style. I’m all about putting out what my brain is trying to say and has trouble communicating through normal facets. I want to not only give my listener something to hear, but also something to visualize and feel. In terms of naming a genre, I decided to go with “Chimerical,” which means visionary, phantasmal, existing only as the product of unchecked imagination.

What particular string of events led to your initial hooking up with Black Milk and later inking to his Computer Ugly imprint?

Right after I graduated from S.M.U., I linked up with a good friend of mine from school named Sandra Jurado who, because of her talent, energy and incredible perseverance, I decided to ask for help with my music project. At that time, I was a singer/songwriter — closet producer — looking for a producer. I actually did not take my producing seriously, because I just didn’t think I was good. My strong-point has always been singing. So, Sandra showed me a track by local producer duo Booty Fade. I immediately wanted to get connected. That same day, I sent an email to their manager to see if we could collaborate on something. One thing led to another, and now I’m managed by their same manager, who also manages Black Milk, and it’s just this incredible, loving, supportive family.

Let’s hop into this upcoming self-titled EP release, which you literally just introduced via its introspective, albeit very personal, lead-off entry, “Heartattack” — Tell me about this particular track? And, how it even came to fruition?

This track, well the EP in general, is extremely personal. I have extreme anxiety, and have been suffering incredibly crippling panic attacks. I wrote this song during a time where I would be in this weird anxiety mode, more than I would feel normal. In the middle of the night one night, I woke up from sleep right in the middle of one of these attacks. I really thought I was about to go, and these were my last moments in crippling perturbation. After I calmed myself, I grabbed pen and paper and wrote the lyrics in one go. Next morning, I woke up with a phone call from my mom telling me my grandfather had suffered a heart attack in the middle of the night. With this information, my brain needed to process through music. I went to the aforementioned upright piano and finished the song. The acoustic version is very different from the produced version, which I wanted. I kind of wanted this piece to slap you in the face, like how I felt when I woke up that night.

What are your future plans and/or goals for sustaining longevity in this grueling business of music?

I think “music” could be switched for “life,” and the answer would be the same. I don’t know yet honestly, I’m just trying to keep my head above water right now. And, my way of doing that is letting my brain transmit its wavelengths through its most comfortable setting: music.

Do you have any other outside/addition aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?

I’m actually going to direct my first music video, which I’ve never done before. I’m really excited about it. I just had this vision a few days ago, and I can’t get it out of my head. Outside of music, there are a lot of things, but I’ve been so involved with music I’ve been neglecting my other passions. I love acting. It’s really similar to music for me, the way I go about it, but in a totally different setting. I also like making jewelry and clothes. That’s fun. Sometimes when I’m by myself and chillin’ out, I make art. Not painting or drawing, but sculpture and crafty things.

To date, what has been your biggest career moment, at least thus far?

I hate to say it, but getting dumped was the moment I realized if I didn’t take my music and myself seriously, no one else would and I would end up in a ditch all alone somewhere not even caring about life anymore. It was so, so extremely devastating, but let me tell you, that sh*t somehow makes an artist just explode with creativity.

Looking ahead, say five or even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?

Hopefully traveling all around the world, writing, creating and performing. That’s really all I want to do with my life.

As for the immediate, what’s next for you, Sudie Abernathy?

Well, I need to finish up my EP so we can release it and move onto the next project!

Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?

I talk so much anyway, I think I probably fit in everything about my life in there.

Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has taken time to listen to what my brain has to say to the world. Sometimes what we have to say is hard to digest.


Interviewed By: Hype Staff

About the Author

Publisher and CEO of The Hype Magazine. Follow me on Twitter @HypeJustJay

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