By Amanda Kay
Abraham a.k.a Sydney Batters, is a sweet, sentimental soul who’s guilty pleasure is children’s movies. Abraham is actually the name her parents were planning to bestow upon her, should she have been born of the opposite sex. Now it serves her musical alter ego.
This folk powerhouse brought a house-party to a silent, enraptured audience as she performed ‘This Old Heart.’ That’s when I first met her. Abraham left such an impression that I knew I had to meet her. Young, raw, down-to-earth and a sound that envelops like a warm blanket on a rainy day.
Southern influences like country, folk, jazz and blues from the ’20s and ’30s weave throughout Abraham’s folk sound. She has family in Tennessee and has many fond memories of storms, snakeskins and fireflies. One can almost feel as though they can see those fireflies when listening to ‘Naked Daughter.’
While Abraham is a sentimental person also she admits to being a rather sensitive person. When creating ‘This Old Heart,’ she explains that she endured a bout of depression and felt “like every colour I’ve ever seen was just pouring out of me.” But she also says that her depth of sensitivity allows her to create outside of emotional dark periods.
When she creates music, it’s neither the instrument nor the words that come first. They come at the same time, in step with the emotion.
Joni Mitchell is also a big influence on her, as she feels a connection to her musically and personally. Yet, when asked who she’d dream of playing with Abraham surprises us with selecting Anais Mitchell, an “underground true folk artist who’s true and dedicated.”
Patti Smith comes as a close second, another artist whose poetry she holds in high regard.
“I used to look back with nostalgia about all that’s going on [in the 70s] but there’s a lot going on now, too”, says the Victoria native. Being from the Island, the scene is smaller than bigger cities, but it’s more supportive, she says, so there are benefits to being where she’s at.
“People kind of treat you differently and it frustrates me. Often if you tell people you’re a musician they assume you’re a singer,” Abraham says when asked what it’s like to be a woman in the industry.
Despite finding that she’s routinely underestimated due to her sex, Abraham is reluctant to complain. She’s happy to watch their look of surprise when she picks up her guitar.
Being Canadian is “actually lucky,” finding her audiences are quite open and accepting. Abraham went on a tour of Western Canada with Kirsten Ludwig earlier in the year, and is now back in Victoria playing local shows and festivals such as Rifflandia.
Abraham is planning on releasing a new single called “Wild Women of the Wind” in February of next year, followed by her first full-length album in 2016, for which she will tour across Canada.
You can check out her current album This Old Heart and stay tuned for her new music and tour information at abrahammusic.info.