Some artists have the unique gift of digging into the listeners’ souls, captivating them, and making them feel part of the music they are listening to. Artists like Bill Abernathy engage their audience from the very first note, stealing their attention with timeless melodies and exciting arrangements! Today, at Planet Singer, we have the great pleasure of discovering more about this talented artist and learn more about what is behind his music in an exclusive interview!
Hi Bill, it is such a pleasure having you with us today at Planet Singer. Your music is intense and captivating. Let’s start from the beginning; how did you discover your love for music?
I remember hearing songs and wondering what they meant when I was really young. My first 45 single I ever purchased was the Zager and Evans tune “In the year 2525.” I was fascinated with the lyrics and the message they were sending. Being around musical siblings certainly offered me the opportunity to expand out and learn more about music and have some instruments around I could play with. Music has just always been there for me as a way to explore ideas and thoughts that otherwise may have been neglected.
What are your main influences?
I really appreciate music that carries a strong message. The singer-songwriters of the 60’s have been influential to me in several ways. They spoke of current events in a manner which brought their thoughts into the public eye and got their messages across. I find it very cool that folks can talk through their thoughts and feelings using music as the vehicle to bring their feelings to others.
Among your songs from your previous album Cross Willow Creek, I really like the opening track, “Can’t Go Back.” Can you tell us more about this song and why you put it as the first track in the playlist?
Crossing Willow Creek is all about looking back, understanding who you are, and moving beyond any self-imposed limitations you may have. “Can’t Go Back” is reflecting back on events that had an influence in my life, putting them into perspective, understanding the dangers of those “flashbacks,” then moving on. I find it fascinating how many fans have told me stories about their “hot mess in a red sequined dress” moments. Though not every little flashback moment is dangerous, many are. To attempt to relive past experiences and relationships has inherent danger and should be viewed as such. And, of course, it’s a fun song to play.
Your latest Single, “More Than Meets The Eye,” is a great release; what’s the story behind this song?
More than meets the eye is really about taking a step back and looking into our society, the divisions, the cultural challenges, and the divisive political climate we have created. And yes, folks, we created it. Much like not seeing the forest for the trees, we can get so wrapped up in the daily drama; we don’t think about what may be really going on behind the scenes. Could the daily onslaught of “news”, biased, divisive, and inaccurate, be nothing more than a smokescreen to cloak what’s really going on? If you have not seen the movie, Wag the Dog, do yourself a favor and check it out. It will make you laugh and just may give you some ideas. Maybe there is “More Than Meets the Eye,” who knows? It’s is fun to think about.
Your songwriting is brilliant. Can you reveal your artistic process when it comes to creating your music?
I’d like to tell you I have some magic formula when I write, but I really don’t. It starts with some inspiration or idea that could come from anywhere: a conversation, a dream, a chance encounter with someone. When I get that original thought, I typically document it somehow. I sometimes write it down, make an audio recording on my phone, text myself, that kind of this, so I don’t forget it. I then find some quiet time and start exploring the idea by documenting whatever ideas pop into my head. At some point, I start taking all those thoughts and putting them into a structure that seems to work for the concept. Usually, when I am consolidating thoughts, the melody starts working itself into my head, and off we go. Lyrics, structure, melody, music, and genre all follow from there.
What inspires you?
People. We are really an interesting race of being. We have some really random interesting ideas and thoughts. Whether we are talking relationships, politics, society etc. we all have different ideas and ways we think about things. I find that fascinating. How one person deals with a situation is typically different in some way than anyone else’s process. I think that shows our creativity and individuality. We really are fascinating when we take the time to get out of our own way and work through challenges.
Among the song of your discography, is there a special one?
That’s like asking which of your kids is your favorite. Lol. I think it depends on the day, actually. I was playing a live stream last week and kicked the show off with my tune called “Changes.” I think it’s quite applicable to today’s environment as we continue to see society struggle with change over and over again. The tag line in the tune is “Change always teaches us to be everything we’re destined to be.” I felt that was the right song to kick off the show that day, so on that day, it was special.
If you could collaborate with one or more of your idols, who would you like to share the stage with?
Of all the artist that have impacted me over time, when I listen to certain songs I continue to be inspired. I was listening to Dan Fogelberg’s Netherlands album the other day and was quite inspired by the lyrics of the title song.
“Off in the nether lands
I heard a sound
Like the beating of heavenly wings
And deep in my brain
I can hear a refrain
Of my soul as she rises and sings
Anthems to glory and
Anthems to love and
Hymns filled with early delight
Like the songs that the darkness
Composes to worship the light.”
The way he describes that feeling of inspiration by saying, “like the songs that the darkness composes to worship the light,” is spectacular. I would like to have that discussion with Dan sometime.
What are your plans for the future?
I am currently recording new tunes to follow up “More Than Meets the Eye”. I am really excited about getting these tunes out for folks to hear. From a musical genre standpoint, these songs are the most diverse I have ever put together. I will, of course, continue to write and record, and at some point, when the craziness of our current environment chills out a bit, I will tour again. I enjoy doing the livestream shows and have done dozens of them for fans across the globe, but I really do miss that personal face to face interaction with our friends and fans. Hopefully, that happens sooner than later.
It was such a pleasure chatting with you and having the chance to discover more about your music. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
As much as I would like to get out on tour again, and I am sure everyone is ready to return to “normal” again. We really need to use some logic and reason in this environment. How can we use this situation to increase our creativity? How can we learn more about each other, learn more about our music? How can we use our music to help create a positive environment during the pandemic? How can we stay in touch in the most effective way? Those are the questions we need to work out answers to. I think if we all put our heads together and use our collective creative thinking, we can work through this situation and make the most of what we have. Let’s all challenge ourselves to do just that. Let’s make the most of what we have and see where that takes us. Remember, “Change always teaches us to be everything we’re destined to be.” Let’s find out what “everything we’re destined to be” means.
Check the links below, discover more about Bill Abernathy and his music, and don’t forget to add his tracks to your favorite playlists!
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