[Weekly Playlist] ABISHA

British R&B artist ABISHA’s music speaks to the urgency of representation, and the radical beauty of self-acceptance. Growing up as the only mixed-race student in her school (her mother’s English and from Devon, her father’s of Jamaican descent), ABISHA felt she didn’t quite fit in. Once she settled in London, ABISHA began to find the sense of belonging that had eluded her back home. “For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people who looked like me, and it felt amazing to not be the odd one out anymore,” she says. Finally finding comfort in her own skin after exploring the world beyond Devon, she’s opening up about the racism she’s faced, insecurities she’s dealt with due to her race and her sexuality while also flagging that there’s a lot left to improve on and grow from.

This week ABISHA shares her new single and music video for “Love Like This,” a wistful, two-fold ballad packed with a profound message about undeniable love and LGBTQIA+ acceptance.

“‘Love Like This’ is about an unexpected love – someone that you meet and you don’t expect to have feelings for – but they take you by surprise and you just have that connection with them. I wanted to make sure I also touched on discrimination, particularly homophobia – ‘everybody thinks they know better, they don’t wanna see us together’ – and having to deal with that by not caring what anyone else thinks and just being true to yourself regardless, being proud and standing up to the haters.”

We asked ABISHA to put together a playlist of songs from women who inspire her, including Rihanna, Sadé, and Etta Bond. Listen in below.

Telana – Up

This song was the soundtrack to my summer of 2017 and massively inspired my second single, “Project X.” I love how unstructured and unrestricted the track is, no rules and it just flows effortlessly.

Rihanna – Yeah, I Said It

Rihanna’s whole album ‘Anti’ played a massive role in inspiring me as an artist and as a person. The release was perfectly timed with me discovering my sound and writing my earliest songs “All That” and another one called “Tidal” that didn’t end up being released. There’s such an eclectic range of styles and genres on Anti, it’s incredible. And she’s just the queen, right?

Sadé – Smooth Operator

Sadé is one of the most captivating artists of all time in my opinion. Her vocals are so smooth and mesmerising. “Smooth Operator” is such a timeless classic and I love it so much that I decided to create my own version of it!

Etta Bond – Surface

I love Etta’s vibe! The chilled mellow beats and subtle melodies are so relaxing and right up my street! I listened to this on my way to the studio the day that I wrote my upcoming track “Scorpio.”

Ady Suleiman – Memories

This track is just so beautifully written. It didn’t necessarily inspire any particular song of mine but it inspired me to be more raw and vulnerable with my lyrics and to delve deeper into my feelings, not sugarcoat them. It’s okay to acknowledge pain that you’re going through or have been through and embrace it. That’s what creates the best music and stories to share with the world.

Banks – Fuck With Myself

I admire Banks a lot because she’s unconventional and doesn’t conform to one genre. Her music is so beautifully honest and I’ve always felt that I can relate to so much to it. I love this track because the message is so empowering. I interpret it as a self-love anthem and that has inspired me to embrace this concept and reflect that through my music in order to inspire and empower others to do the same.

Keyshia Cole – Shoulda Let You Go

When I was young, my dad used to send me DVDs in the post with R&B music and this song was my absolute favourite that I’ve ever received. I hadn’t heard a lot of R&B music growing up in Devon so I immediately fell in love with the genre after hearing this.

Rihanna – Stay

I’ve got to end this with another Rihanna song. Unapologetic was the soundtrack to my last year at school and I thought “Stay” was such a powerful song. I loved the video so much too. Her ability to sing literally anything inspires me beyond words.

For more music from ABISHA head over to Spotify.