These days the idea of courting a woman is via Facebook, Twitter or text. So when you hear a soulful, heart-felt gentlemen, whose words and sounds captivate you, and makes you feel special, you can’t resist introducing him to the family. His name is Ab Aaron Abernathy or better known as Ab, a vocalist & producer from Washington DC, who aimes to seduce you with his voice, his hands and his soulful techniques. Through his music he will entice, and serenade you just the way women should be serenaded. Ab has worked with Black Milk for over five years and has worked with an array of artists including Slum Village, Eric Roberson and Elzhi. We chat with Ab about dropping his EP Prologue Vol 1, why no means no –and yes means maybe in the music business, & what it is like working with Black Milk. Margaret Tra writes.
You just dropped your EP, proper romance in the pants music. Tell us about it.
Prologue Vol. 1 is an EP in which I took some of my favourite records I listened to while growing up and made renditions of them. From there I took these records and created a story about courting a woman.
The EP begins with my prologue where I express to her ‘You’re the sweetest thing that I’ve ever known.’ I follow up with ‘Kissing You,’ and if a woman is kissing you, in my book she’s giving you the green light to court her. Once courtship has set sail I tell her I want an ‘Everlasting Love’ with her via the Rufus & Chaka Khan selection, followed by being high on her love, which is expressed on ‘Strawberry Letter 23’ by myself and my Nat Turner band mate Malik Hunter. Part one of the story ends with me reiterating that she’s the sweetest thing that I’ve ever known.
You've worked with Black Milk, are you still working with him? What was it like?
I’ve been working with Black Milk for over five years now. It’s crazy how time passes. Working with him is always a pleasure. We have the same goals when it comes to how we want the finish product to sound; coupled with the chemistry we have gained over the years. I believe the best thing about working together is how we inspire and push each other to go further. If I’m at home and I hear a crazy record or see a live clip of someone performing that blows my mind, I call him and let him know he has to hear or see this and vice versa. Those conversations always end with both of us saying;”Aight, bout to go get in the lab.” Shared inspiration helps the chemistry grow in the music we create.
Black Milk produced one of your tracks; did it feel strange working the other way around?
It doesn’t feel strange at all. Black is funky just like me. He knows my ear and what I’m looking for so if he produces a record for me it’s always my style.
You're working on some new music, what can we expect? Any surprises?
Currently I am working on two projects that will be released later this year. There will be a follow up to Prologue Vol. 1, which is also coming out soon, and I also have a record I plan on putting out in a month or two. As far as surprises are concerned, I don’t know if I would call them surprises. I do have a feature on Prologue Vol. II outside of my camp of Black Milk and my Nat Turner band mate, Malik
Hunter. I guess we could call that a surprise so that’s something to look forward to. You can expect to get to know me musically. I’ve been working on this composition that I’m anxious to share. I’m more that a singer and I love composing music. Highly influenced by Isaac Hayes, Barry White, James Brown, Willie Hutch, and Curtis Mayfield, and the soundtrack music they made for Black Exploitation films. Honestly, I’m influenced by soundtrack music period! It’s something about a movement in a song and how all the instruments blend to make an epic sound.
Your songs are based solely on romance, what is your idea of a perfect date?
My idea of a perfect date is based solely on good conversation. I like going to museums, exploring the city, events, and different restaurants. I love food so I love to eat great cuisine. I love to cook so making dinner at home is fine too, but all of this is nothing without honest conversation and some type of chemistry.
An important lesson you have learnt from the music industry?
The most important lesson I learned was in May of 2005, when I was about to sign with Sony BMG and Stan Poses told me “Your music is incredible! In this music industry remember one thing, No means No, and Yes means maybe, and I’m telling you Yes.”
The music industry is full of yeses……it taught me to be self-sufficient, in as many areas as possible because those yeses/maybe’s have hopes of making you dependent. That conversation was the first and last I had with Mr. Poses.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be? And what would you like the track to be?
That’s a good one! I would say Chaka Khan, she and Sly Stone are my favourites. She’s so funky and knows her instrument in and out. The sound would definitely be a mid tempo funky record with different sections reminiscent of her song “Pack’d My Bags” with Rufus.
You've worked and opened for a wide range of artists, stemming from Slum Village, Eric Roberson, Elzhi, Dr. Dre's protégé "Bishop Lamont," Zo!, 14KT, Green Tea, any lessons that you've taken away from any of these artists?
The most important lesson I’ve taken away from working with different artists is to understand the goal of each artist and the role I must play in reaching that goal. I must remember that working with each artist is different because I could be writing, vocal arranging, producing, composing, or singing a verse or hook. Nevertheless the goal of a great record remains the same.
What Stimulates your soul?
Anything that I can learn from that will mould me into a better human being. If I’m openly looking for the positive in people, places, and the things around me I always find something that stimulates my soul. Whether it be Jesus, family, friends, children, music, documentaries, movies, I could go on for days…