ABOUT AARON ABERNATHY

 

Aaron Abernathy, is a pianist/soul singer and multi-talented entertainer. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Abernathy comes from a long-line of historical pioneers including Civil Rights Leader, Rev. Ralph David Abernathy and student of the same high school music program as the late R&B great Gerald Levert. 

He joined the ranks of artists like Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack as a graduate from the prestigious music program at Howard University, where he sharpened his piano playing and musicianship by majoring in jazz piano.  With outstanding talents as both a pianist and a vocalist, he has acted as musical director for global touring acts Black Milk and Slum Village and collaborated with Grammy-nominated artists including Jack WhiteThe Foreign Exchange, and Eric Roberson.

His professional music pursuits began on the historical steps of Howard University, where he formed the band Ab and The Souljourners and developed a buzz on the local DC music scene with the release of his self-produced debut album Lyrically Inclined 1.3: The Odyssey. After graduating from Howard, they embarked on a US Tour. The band's talent and showmanship style caught the eye of several artists, most notable Eric Roberson, Marsha Ambrosius, and Slum Village. Eric Roberson featured Abernathy in his NYC based showcases and on his 2009 single "Howard Girls." Slum Village hired Abernathy to be their musical director from 2005-2010, revamping their performances from the traditional DJ and Emcee format to live band hip-hop experience. He also was featured on the single "Dance" from their 2010 album Villa Manifesto.

In 2009, Abernathy transitioned his musical director talents to underground hip-hop heavyweight Black Milk. In addition to touring the US, Europe, and Australia with Black Milk, he has been featured on his last four albums: Tronic, A.O.T.Y., No Poison No Paradise, and If There's A Hell Below. Songs include: Reppin' For You, Oh Girl, Parallels, and Leave The Bones Behind. In 2012, Abernathy's band "Nat Turner" became Black Milk's backing band and he helped establish his live shows as one of the best in hip hop!  

In the Spring of 2015, Abernathy and his band Nat Turner opened up for Black Milk on his "Play Like Hell European Tour" to rave reviews from European audiences. Ab's aggressive combination of gospel-inspired vocals, tight change-ups, and raw funk vamps has been compared to D'angelo's Voodoo tour. Ab's performance on stage reveals his diligent study in the Prince and James Brown schools of showmanship. Abernathy co-produced his band Nat Turner's collaborative effort with Black Milk titled "The Rebellion Sessions" and has toured most of 2016 for the Rebellion Tour with Black Milk, to support the album. In addition, this summer he co-headlined the 2016 Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival with Chick Corea. 

Fall of 2016, Abernathy released his solo album "Monologue," that was met with critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, Bandcamp Daily, Soultracks, and Saint Heron. Abernathy joined Black Milk as an opening act to support Monologue on his winter European leg of The Rebellion Tour. Again, Abernathy was met with rave reviews. The momentum behind Monologue is still rolling as Abernathy has performed in numerous venues around the world since its debut including the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center in Washington DC as well a sold out show in Toyko, Japan, in the spring of 2017. 

Abernathy has toured the globe as a vocalist and musician with various acts for over a decade, though many first discovered his talents via the 2016 album Monologue--a concept album with themes of love, personal relationships, and family. His new album Dialogue, released Oct. 16th, marks a distinctly different conceptual approach, where the artist lays flat his vulnerabilities as an American black man in 2017, discussing hot-button issues of economics, segregation, and racial politics.    

The album is composed, produced, and arranged by Abernathy, and creates a modern take of the classic soul sounds of the 1970s, with a nod to the socially conscious themes found on albums such as Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin On, or Curtis Mayfield’s eponymous debut album. Nine songs are sequenced and mixed to flow together seamlessly, and Abernathy’s skills as a producer bring a consistency despite varied tempos and moods. Abernathy's vulnerability and ability to capture audiences on record as well as in live performance is a skill set that Soul music has been missing.