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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 White, The 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 toured most of 2016 for the Rebellion Tour with Black Milk, to support the album. In addition, 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, slated for it's mid-October release, 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 was 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.
Aaron Abernathy, is a jazz 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 vocal abilities 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 White, The Foreign Exchange, and Eric Roberson. He has also staked his claim as a great solo artist with the release of his solo album "Monologue" in the fall of 2016 that was met with critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, Bandcamp Daily, Echoes Magazine (UK), Soultracks, and Saint Heron.
PRESS & INDUSTRY BUZZ
"Just take the soaring guitar solo on Prince’s Sign ‘O’ the Times slow-jam “Adore,” the organic acoustic soul of early ’70s singer-songwriters like Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack, and André 3000’s most earnest and lovelorn moments on his half Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and the table is set!" (Monologue)
"His dynamic range and bravado is a combination of soulful, gospeldelic change-ups and raw, uncut funk that pours out of his pores like a broken waterline. He has made quite an impression as a multi-talented musician, singer, songwriter and all-around entertainer. As both a pianist and a vocalist, Abernathy has blended the worlds of music and fighting against oppression to become an artist that respects the pay and paves the way for the future."
"Eclectic Soul-man Aaron Abernathy has a new album that's going to ink his real name onto the artist map" (Monologue)
- Echoes Magazine (London, UK)
We're well aware that the music biz is not a meritocracy, but it seems criminal that Ab and the Souljourners haven't blown up yet. Ab's a young-ish cat, so he'll pull the same crowd that buys Musiq and Dwele records, but his live act leaves a lot of his better-known peers in the dust. The band aggressive combination of gospel-inspired vocals, tight change-ups, and raw funk vamping can best be compared to D'Angelo's Voodoo tour of 2000. Like D'Angelo's Soultronics band, Ab and the Souljourner's approach reveals diligent study in the Prince and James Brown schools of showmanship.
- The Washington Post
Abernathy's resplendent vocals strongly exemplify the ethos of a Prince and Bilal musical progeny.
- Saint Heron.com
Abernathy's layering of vocal textures and the accompanying melodies and instrumental touches is nothing short of mesmerizing.
CO - BILLS
- Patti Labelle
- Chick Corea
- Black Milk
- Eric Roberson
- Snarky Puppy
- Slum Village
- Big Daddy Kane
- Doug E. Fresh
- Julia Dexter
- Jaguar Wright
My name is Marsha, I am the melodic half of the group Floetry. I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I enjoy your work. Your arrangements are beautiful, your voice is soothing and your writing is very personal, elements which are missing in art these days. I am happy to hear up and coming artists such as yourself bringing back the true element of musicianship. Looking forward to hearing much more from you in the near future
- Marsha Ambrosius
Also, now officially earning his strips and joining the Nu Soul alliance of musicians in Ohio (already inducted are artist Conya Doss, Myron, Navasha Daya of Fertile Ground, Frank McComb, Lyfe, and John Legend) is the crew AB and the Souljourners. Talking about setting the tone for the evening.....D’Angelo, Kem, and PJ Morton...You now have company from this extraordinary brotha' and his crew....Please look out for this crew at a show near you.....
- Cleveland Ohio Excursion Series Review of Dwele & Ab show.
Pitchfork.com // http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/22447-monologue/
Waxpoetics Japan // https://www.waxpoetics.jp/interview/aaronabernathy/
Aaron Abernathy | Favorite Girl Video
Director: Tia M. Goodson | Editor: Kendall Givens
Aaron Abernathy w/ live band Nat Turner @ Tropicalia
Washington, DC | Between The Sheets
Aaron Abernathy w/ live band Nat Turner @ Kaserne
Basel, Switzerland | Call On Me
Aaron Abernathy @ Daikanyama Loop
Tokyo, Japan | I See You
Aaron Abernathy w/ live band Nat Turner @ DC Funk Parade 2016
Washington, DC | Stop Fakin'
Aaron Abernathy w/ live band Nat Turner @ Fasching
Stockholm, Sweden | Can I Be Your Lover