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Abiah spent his childhood with his single mother, an accomplished musician who accompanied the late operatic Baritone William Warfield in earlier years. She introduced him to the singers who would become Abiah’s influences: Sarah Vaughn, Anita Baker and later Nina Simone. “They were great singers and song interpreters,” he says. “They were text painters and I believe that’s a lost art.” Abiah honed his skills through the years as a background singer for artists George Michael, Chuck Mangione, Amel Larrieux and Yolanda Adams while cutting his chops in opera as a voice major in college. By the time his debut album was released in 2006, Abiah already knew exactly what he brought to the table — a warm, engaging voice and unassailable taste in music. His debut album was an underground smash. His video Love For a While, a duet with Shanice Wilson became a hit on VH1 Soul and BET J. Abiah got practically handed an unexpected cottage industry, when he became an in-demand vocal coach. Initial inquiries from singer-friends impressed by his sound and range has blossomed into a side-business that finds him coaching major label artists, up-and-comers, solid pros hankering to rise up to that proverbial next level, and musical game show contestants hoping to impress celebrity judges with noticeably increased prowess. He also made an appearance on an Emmy nominated episode of MTV's MADE. The new album, Life As A Ballad, boasts of gems like the gorgeous opener,"September", "Doves", as well as 7 other self-penned originals. To help him capture the songs’ intimacy, Abiah turned to Robert Glasper, his cousin, “We definitely have a great chemistry in the studio.
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