Music City’s Rising Star: Abby Anderson

Abby Anderson may be Music City’s best kept secret…and most valued asset. The former piano prodigy turned premier country music songstress embodies the wholesome new wave of superstar. In a genre synonymous with questionable behavior, her songs exude a sincere vulnerability and convey a strong sense of self-worth, especially for young women. Among her many attributes, Anderson is supremely self-assured, refreshingly genuine and radiates an infectious optimism. “I just want to be relatable” she says. “I do music because music has an amazing way of making people feel loved and important”. The 24-year-old singer/songwriter is carving a unique niche for herself in perhaps the most competitive entertainment market in the world, and people are starting to take note.

In an industry built on glitz and image, Anderson has opted to take an approach of dignity and modesty. She speaks from her heart and lets her talent speak for itself. Case in point is Abby’s 2018 song “I’m Good”. Reminiscent of what she says her “truest sound” is, “I’m Good” serves as a genuine beacon for female empowerment. Anderson explains, “This kid broke my heart real bad then wanted to get back together with me. He texted me, and the first thought I had was, ‘You know what? I’m good buddy, I don’t really need you'”. Abby’s soulful vocal is a perfect match for the song’s unshackled sentiment. “I’m Good” paints a powerful picture of self-respect from the female point of view. One that is seldom seen and desperately needed in today’s musical landscape.

As a musician, Anderson sits brilliantly behind the piano and has composed some of the most interesting and fresh melodies in recent country music memory. “The piano’s my first instrument and will always be where I write many of my songs” Abby asserts. “I remember how peaceful and beautiful it felt, how pure it was, just me and the piano”. Anderson however does not let the piano tether her on stage, stating, “The keys are definitely my main instrument … but when it comes to the live show, it’s pretty hard to keep me behind a piano…I gotta get up and dance and do my thing!” With an intensely seasoned musical acumen and a relentless entertaining style, it should come to no surprise that Abby’s biggest musical influences are Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Norah Jones, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, and Stevie Wonder.

Family and faith are two essential elements to Anderson’s admirable character. In fact, she credits her large and supportive family for her incredible success at such a young age. In Abby’s words, “I’m the second oldest of seven, six girls and one boy and he’s the youngest. I just grew up in a family full of love and full of music. I grew up playing music in church and singing and honestly, I don’t think I would be a performer if it weren’t for my big family because it was kind of my way to get attention. It was kind of my way to find my niche and my thing in the world.  And I just love music. Ever since I started playing piano when I was five, I knew that I wanted to be a big ole’ country star one day.”

It seems that Abby was always destined to follow a course to the country music scene. She hails from Southlake, Texas where country music coursed through her veins from day one. “I grew up listening to it” Anderson recalls. “I started writing music when I was nine or ten and I think I just naturally write country, it’s storytelling. I grew up in it, raised in Texas. It’s what inspired me growing up and inspired my sound. I mean heck, you can hear it in my voice a little bit. I think I’m just a country girl.” Abby may be a country girl at heart, but she is also a girl who is intensely proud of her country. This fact was on full display in 2014 when at the age of 17, Anderson performed on Glenn Beck’s conservative talk show.

Abby’s rendition of “Let Freedom Ring” (her version of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”) on the Beck program was a huge feather in her cap. The reception was so immense that her performance found its way onto the Billboard and iTunes charts. 100% of the proceeds were donated to charity. As a strong woman of faith, Anderson is quick to point out that the real credit does not belong to her: “I wanted to say it was definitely my Heavenly Father… As I was playing, it was almost as if I moved my hands but it’s like God was moving them…I just had this feeling… It’s like I knew where I was supposed to go. And it’s just the coolest experience. I really just can’t explain it.”

 

“Let Freedom Ring” was hugely popular. The performance created a new and diverse audience for Abby but at the time, she was unsure what her next move would be. She stated, “I just know this is what I want to do… And this is what I love to do. This is what, I think, Heavenly Father wants me to do, and I just enjoy it and I love it”. Less than a year later, Abby was living in Music City.

Abby Anderson moved to Nashville in February of 2015. Her parents were supportive of the move as they have been her whole career. As a teenager, Abby convinced her parents to let her home school so that she could focus more directly on her music. After graduating high school early, both Anderson and her parents knew she was Nashville bound. As Abby recalls, “I was almost 18. I think this is where I can be overly confident sometimes because I was not intimidated at all. I just knew Nashville was where I was supposed to be, where I was supposed to work hard and get the job done and I just have very supportive parents who let me. They’re the crazy ones! I had the easy job, they’re the ones who had to actually let me go out into the world.”

Hard work is one thing that Abby has never been afraid of. During her formative Nashville years, she supported herself as a nanny while constantly writing new music and crafting original material. Local word of mouth eventually reached Black River Entertainment who signed her to a record deal in 2017. On September 8, 2018, the self-described “country girl” fulfilled a lifelong dream when she made her debut at the revered Grand Ole Opry. “It’s church” Abby says of the Opry. “My heroes played there…I watched the Opry videos religiously growing up just dreaming, I’m like ‘oh I’m going to be there one day’”. Anderson received a standing ovation after her first song in her first Opry appearance; a reception matched by very few. The song Abby performed was an emotional ballad that she wrote along with Josh Kerr and Tom Douglas called “Make Him Wait”.

 

“Make Him Wait” has become an anthem for strength and fortitude. Demoralized girls across the world use the song as a bedrock in a judgmental and jaded society while father’s use it as a blueprint to raise assertive and assured young women. It has been streamed more than 4 million times on Spotify and remains Abby’s signature song. “I just thought a lot of the world’s problems and problems in our society right now would be solved if we all just knew how precious we were” Anderson said. “So we wrote this song, and I was writing it from a place of ‘this is something I wish all my girlfriends could know’. This is the value concept I wish they understood”.

Since the release of her debut EP “I’m Good” in 2018, Anderson has earned over 25 million streams. She was one of nine new women named to CMT’s 2018 “Next Women of Country” class along with fellow “The Boot Artists to Watch” Ashley McBryde and Kassi Ashton. As her website states, Abby was named one of The Bobby Bones Show’s “Class of 2019,”. She is also one of Music Row’s “Next Big Thing for 2019,” and is included in Sounds Like Nashville’s “19 New Country Artists to Watch in 2019”. Anderson has caught the attention of fans worldwide and has had the privilege to open for some of Country’s brightest stars including Kelsea Ballerini, Bobby Bones and Brett Eldredge. In addition, Abby toured with Rob Thomas as the co-headliner in 2019.

Yet, through all her deserved success Anderson remains extremely grounded and intensely humble. She says simply, “I lucked out. I really believe in luck and timing is everything. I mean you could throw a penny on any corner in Nashville and a girl prettier than me, who can sing better than me, who can write better than me, can pick it up. And for some reason, God let me pick up a penny and I’m thankful that he let me”. Success might occur as a byproduct of timing and luck may be the residue of design, but Abby is living proof that the harder one works, the luckier one gets.

Like most every other musician in the world, the Covid-19 pandemic put a major wrench in Anderson’s live performance plans, but it has not dampened her creative output. “I’ve been steadily releasing music” says Abby. “The thing is I write all these songs; I know which ones I love but I don’t know which ones to release as far as radio is concerned”. Plans for an album are certainly on the horizon but Anderson is not totally sold on the idea, stating” I’d rather release songs more often and more frequently than just an album every two years. I’m creating too much to just sit around for two years and just do an album, I’d rather release a song every month, that’s how my brain works.”

October of 2021 saw Abby realize multiple milestones. For starters, she married fiancé Tyler Graham. The small ceremony was held on a Farm in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and witnessed by close friends and family. The vows were taken after nearly three years of dating. Apparently, Anderson was content to make him wait.  When the couple finally made it official, a beautiful Abby was all smiles stating, “I feel like we’ve been married already. I can’t imagine life without Tyler. He’s my person”, adding, “We are so excited to start life together”. Exactly two weeks after the nuptials Abby released her tenth single, “Bad Posture”.

 

Abby Anderson sings with a poised wisdom well beyond her years. Not only is she a gifted crooner, but she does not compromise as an artist. She is true to herself, and others have been able to learn from her example of authenticity and integrity. In her short career, one of the most important ideals that Anderson has been able to convey is the tenet of “trust your worth”. Abby explains her message: “To me, ‘trusting your worth’, means knowing what your value is. And knowing that that value comes from some kind of higher power. That you’re worth waiting for and exactly that, trust it”. If Abby is the future of the industry, country music is in good hands.  Trust it.

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