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Aaron Abernathy is a rising pianist/singer with a style rooted in gospel and the organic, acoustic soul of the early 70s. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Abernathy comes from a long-line of historical pioneers including Civil Rights leader Rev. Ralph David Abernathy. He was a student of the same high school music program as the late R&B great Gerald Levert, and later 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 while majoring in jazz piano. He is the acting musical director for global touring act Black Milk and has acted as music director for the legendary group Slum Village, as well as 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, which was met with critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, Bandcamp Daily, Echoes Magazine (UK), Soultracks, and Saint Heron and won Tower Records Soul album of the year in Japan. In 2017 he continued the conversation with his sophomore effort, Dialogue, which won praise from Essence, Bandcamp Daily, Soultracks, Okayplayer, and Soulbounce. Abernathy spent 2018 promoting Dialogue on tour in America and Europe through his high energetic live show filled with his aggressive combination of gospel/soul inspired vocals, tight change ups, and raw funk vamping that can best be compared to D’angelo’s Voodoo Tour. Like D’angelo, Aaron’s approach reveals diligent study in the Prince and James Brown school of showmanship. His talent has touched audiences in places and cities such as New York City’s Brooklyn Museum, New Orleans’ Essence Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, London, Tokyo, Paris’ Mona Bismarck American Center, the world famous Cafe’ Central in Madrid, world renown Jamboree in Barcelona, and many other cities. He kicked off 2019 with a sold out debut show in Rome, Italy, on the eve of his latest release titled "Epilogue." He continued supporting his latest effort this year by playing Stockholm, Sweden’s Stockholm Soul Festival, hosting Essence Festival’s Keyboard Jam Session, and playing a residency in Barcelona, Spain as a part of Grec Festival. Abernathy's vulnerability and ability to capture audiences on record as well as in live performance is a skill set that music has been missing.
Aaron Abernathy @ Alcazar Live
Rome, Italy | Funk Box
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 @ The Mona Bismarck American Center
Paris, France | Daily Prayer
Aaron Abernathy @ Daikanyama Loop
Tokyo, Japan | I See You
Aaron Abernathy w/ live band Nat Turner @ DC Funk Parade
Washington, DC | Stop Fakin'
Aaron Abernathy w/ live band Nat Turner @ Fasching
Stockholm, Sweden | Can I Be Your Lover
PRESS & INDUSTRY BUZZ
"Where Abernathy is an indisputable musical genius is in his arrangements, composition, production, and keywork at levels that continue to astound, particularly on cuts like “Human Actions Matter (Leviticus)” or the single, “Children of the City.” Harmony, counterpoints, call and response, the trademarks of tension and dynamism are never on better display than they are on Dialogue, itself a rather large statement given the creative heights of 2016’s Monologue. The swing between these two towering releases carries Abernathy from strength to strength in less than a year. That he does so with absolute respect for his audience, without dumbing down language, without topical condescension, or even the usual self-righteousness that accompanies “woke” music all places Dialogue and its artist in a class by itself. " (Dialogue)
"Now A Days | Human Actions Matter (Leviticus)"
"This old soul is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to “love” music. Abernathy's album makes me hopeful in the midst of the current state of the world. His music not only gives me Marvin Gaye "What's Going On" vibes but also hope, for a better future and more understanding among us." (Dialogue)
"Aaron Abernathy’s Dialogue aims to represent his people and make sure that their story is being told in the right and just way. Fueled by sound bites of his grand uncle Ralph David Abernathy, the late Civil Rights activist and friend to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., narrates this musical journey, leading us through dark alleyways and out into lighted, green pastures." (Dialogue)
"A spiritual heir to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, Dialogue finds Abernathy looking at the world around him, and searching deep inside AND out for answers to the daily horrors that seem to have taken over the zeitgeist. A true soul record that trades as much in heart as it does universal truth and meaning..."
"One of the most relevant and powerful albums to date of this new American landscape" (Dialogue)
"Throughout the album, Abernathy uses tracks like "Now A Days," "Children of the City," "Forecast," "Generation" and "Am I Good Enough to Love" to touch on a variety of topics like economics, politics, gentrification, emasculation and spirituality. But his commendable composition and production skills create a landscape where each song flows seamlessly into the next – a feat made even more impressive by his creative decision to fuse each track with sound-bite quotes from black cultural leaders delivering some hard truths."
"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'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/