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Newly signed to the Secretly Canadian label (War on Drugs, Antony and The Johnsons), Ben Abraham releases his debut album, Sirens, on 4th March. The album is preceded by a single, You & Me, which was debuted by Beats 1’s Zane Lowe last week, and will be accompanied by newly announced UK tour dates that include his first London headline show, at Servants Jazz Quarter on Monday 7th March.
In contrast to its ethereal title, Sirens is deeply human. Its songs were written over the Melbourne-based artist’s developing years as a writer and the album has become a kind of musical documentary of the loss, longing and growth that carried Ben Abraham from his very first lyric to this, his first long-player.
Since he began writing songs while working in a childrens hospital, Abraham has collaborated with Ta-ku, Wafia, Gotye and more and recorded this debut album. He has risen to prominence in his hometown of Melbourne and throughout Australia through much lauded live performances, where his voice and talent has consistently blown audiences away.
His parents’ previous careers as Indonesian folk-pop stars had an influence – “They were huge in Asia! They had such strong harmonies and melodies, and cheesy, literal lyrics. They don’t do irony there, but once you’ve surrendered, it’s quite beautiful. I write earnest lyrics too, but that’s where I was when I wrote these songs. And maybe people are responding because they want something honest and spiritual, because so much pop culture explores destruction.”
Abraham recorded and produced Sirens in Melbourne with the help of friends and longtime collaborators Jono Steer and Leigh Fisher. The album features a collaboration with Sara Bareilles, who Abraham connected online and struck up a friendship with several years ago, on “This Is On Me”, as well as additional production from Gotye’s Wally De Backer on “Speak.”
Abraham brought his live show, which Tone Deaf calls “disarming” and “truly stunning,” to the UK for the first time for a clutch of shows last autumn, and to the U.S. at last year’s CMJ. In live performance, Abraham backs up his voice with only guitar and harmonium, in the vein of “Cat Stevens, If Donny Hathaway and Cat had a baby and he hung out with Sufjan Stevens and Feist,” he says. Abraham was recently featured in an installment of the acclaimed Mahogany Sessions series—watch him perform “Speak” here.
The Sirens are calling you his way….