Interview with Jodie Abacus ahead of Outlines Festival 2017 Will Fisher February 17, 2017 The eternally optimistic Jodie Abacus is set to deliver his old-school funk and soul to the Sheffield Outlines Crowd on Saturday 4 March 2017. Tackling tough personal experience with a glass-half-full approach, his tracks are a joyous celebration of life. With overwhelming vibrancy Abacus has a knack for story-telling and the Sheffield Crowd can expect an uplifting and colourful performance. Nearing exactly a year ago – Abacus released the infectious release ‘I’ll be that friend’ as part of the For Real Life and Not Pretend EP. Like a lotus-flower, the track grew from a dark and murky origin but turned into a song of optimism and friendship. We open the lid and take a glimpse into his ever-positive mind to discover why music is like fine-dining, why his Outlines performance is going to be “bananas”, and why we should be expecting a performance on Mars in the near-future… What are you currently up to, and how have things been? Right now, I’m laying down in bed, resting my voice for a show tomorrow night at Koko in Camden. Things have been amazing, adventurous and challenging, which is all of the things you need to have a great life. Even as I write this, I can smell the verge of spring on the horizon, as I sit beside my open window at the back of my flat. I have been continually writing songs and stocking them up, you can never have too many songs, but they all have to have the kite standard of quality attached to them. How would you describe your music? I describe my music as fun, fresh, thoughtful and unpredictable. Like a three-course meal you get served at a restaurant, which has everything you need to nourish you and leave you satisfied ….. I hope! Your songs are refreshingly uplifting, what motivates you to create such happy music? I guess you can say I’ve lived and continue to live a very adventurous and daring life, it’s taken a lot of hard work and courage to be here and I’m truly thankful for it. My outlook on life? I like to be happy. I force myself to be happy. I know it sounds strange, but I think about the time that we have on earth. Then I say to myself; I want to spend most of my time, if not all, being happy. That happiness I guess naturally spills out into my music, whether I tell a sad song or not. Tears of joy. My music is the superhero cape I wear; it’s the power I have, that I know can save lives. That’s motivation enough to know that you can make people happy. ‘I’ll be that friend’ especially is formed out of a difficult time in your life, how do you translate sadness into uplifting songs, such as in this case? As a writer you have to take whatever is going on in your life; the good, the bad, the mysterious, the sad and convert it all into song. Those are your seeds; every single situation you’ve ever been in your entire life is a song. When I used to think to myself; why am I going through this, I never thought that all of my experiences have lead me to this point! So now, I practised the value of gratitude, knowing that I can turn bad situations into good. I reached down into my heart to make this song. I stayed completely natural, out came the truth, and if the truth makes you happy, then the truth shall set you free baby! Has music always been the plan for you? When I was younger, I wanted to be an actor, but after choosing music, I never looked back. It was just a feeling, and that feeling at the time was so strong that it felt right. I stuck to my guns through thick and thin. To think of doing anything else felt like death, making music, feels like life. Where do you begin when writing a song? Writing songs about personal events is the best place to start because everyone goes through things and it sets the foundation for common ground. It enables people to relate to what you’re creating. It’s a wonderful thing. You will soon be appearing in Sheffield for the Outlines festival, are you looking forward to playing Sheffield? I’m definitely looking forward to outlines festival; I’m pretty sure it’s going to be absolutely bananas. I do love performing, and I’ve never performed in Sheffield before, not that can remember, anyway… hmmmm? What can we expect from you in 2017? You can expect great new music, an album, and shows on different planets in the solar system. That’s my mind, that’s where I want to take it, haha! What are your goals/ambitions for the next five years? My golden visions for the next five years? I want to be able to achieve what Adele, Ed Sheeran have achieved as British artists. But i’d like to do it as an artist in my own right! Doing what I do, how I do it, from Lewisham. I just want to know that whatever I can put my mind to. I can achieve. Outlines festival will be held in venues across Sheffield on 3 and 4 March – for tickets and further information check out their website here. You can catch Jodie Abacus perform on the Saturday (4 March) – at Plug.