Raised on an array of genres, Jodie Abacus is no beginner when it comes to music. The Lewisham-born singer-songwriter provides a mixture of funky and passionately heartfelt songs, all of which stem from real life experiences – whether that be good or bad. Honest and humble, Jodie really is a breath of fresh air, and he’s ready to be seen and heard.
We caught up with the South-East London native as he prepared to finish off his support slot with the soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula at Gorilla in Manchester, before heading off to Brighton to begin festival season.
You’re about to finish supporting Laura Mvula on her headline tour, how has it been for you?
It’s been wonderful, great energy and great crowds… I’ve really enjoyed myself. And it’s been a pleasure to support Laura, she’s an incredible artist.
Tonight you’ll be playing at a Manchester favourite, Gorilla. Have you ever played here in Manchester before?
Only really on a different agenda, not for music. But I can tell already it’ll be a great crowd.
What was it like musically for you, growing up in Lewisham?
For me, there was a lot of inspiration from the songs my Dad used to play, as he was once a DJ. I used to play songs from the records, copying what my Dad did. It was a ceremonious occasion.
The radio was always on too, anything from hip-hop to country. I had the opportunity to be surrounded by lots of different genres, which has inspired my music today. I totally appreciate it.
You once said it was hard for you to choose between music and acting. What was it that made you realise music was the right choice?
For me, I have a tendency to go with my gut instinct. I figured at that age, that if you’re going to live this life and only have one chance, you’ve got to figure out what you want to do. I figured out music was the right thing, and I’ve never looked back since.
Which artists past and present, have influenced the music you make today?
If I had a bowl right now, I would pick out: Hall & Oates, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire, a bit of Steely Dan, George Michael, Tribe Called Request, Wu-tang Clan, maybe a little of Jamiroquai and definitely Royce right now.
Your songs are quite eclectic in terms of sound and meaning. How does your writing process work?
I’ll probably listen to various songs to get me going, but then I have to think: What is this song calling for? What is it drawing out of the heart? Then I might go to a list that I have, of either experiences or song titles. And then I’ll take those song titles and make a song out of the experience. I think more than anything, I’ll just try and be honest. Honesty really does help.
What’s the story behind your latest single ‘She’s In Love With The Weekend’?
It’s based around the story of someone I know, that just keeps on going and going and doesn’t know their switch off point. She’s always in Miami or Ibiza partying. The sentiment is almost to say – look – you’re shaving time off your life, you’re living too fast. Wherever she’s going, she’s probably going to end up really damaged. It really is a shame.
What is your ideal weekend?
I’d start with the gym in the morning, then maybe finish off a writing session – because I enjoy that, obviously. I’d like to say that the sun would be shining, so I could maybe go for a drink. And then I’d carry on the night with great music and friends for company. And then do the same the next day.
You’re playing at The Great Escape this weekend, are you a first-timer or a regular?
It’ll be my first time. I’ve got a couple of performances across different venues on the Saturday, I can’t wait!
Where are we likely to find you after your set, on the beach eating fish and chips?
I’ll probably be holding a beer that I do know! Maybe talk to a few people after my set, then who knows? We might end up staying for the rest of the weekend.
You’ve got a busy few months ahead, what comes next for you after this tour?
Lots of festivals, a lot I can’t actually name yet or I might get in trouble! But there’s Parklife and Truck Festival, both which will be amazing. Then releasing the album, and the video for I’ll Be Your Friend. It’s going to be great, and hopefully next year will be just as good too.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Stay positive. Always.