Abby Chams unleashed: Tanzania’s rising star on who she is and what she wants


So it’s really no surprise that Sony Music Africa snapped her up in June and added her to its growing list of Gen Zers ready to blow up the African pop music scene.

The release, today, of her first single under Sony offers a glimpse of what is to be expected of the young star. The single titled ‘Closer’, featuring bongo flava royalty Harmonize, is Abby Chams unleashed. Here, she has embraced the bad girl pop persona, ready to claim her rightful place in stardom. The video for the single, dropping on 26 August, will more than confirm this. 

The newcomer recently spoke to Music In Africa about her music, the Sony deal, and everything in between.  

MUSIC IN AFRICA: What made you get into music at such a young age?

ABBY CHAMS: I was lucky enough to be born into a musical family. Both my grandparents were musical, so seeing them sort of encouraged me to want to do something in this space. My grandfather was a musical director of an orchestra and my grandmother sang in the church choir, so it’s safe to say music has been a part of my life for a while. 

This notwithstanding, I had supportive parents who would see me play with the pots and pans, play drums or sing to my dolls. They encouraged me by taking me for piano lessons and guitar lessons at a very early age. The core tenets of that life became ingrained in me and led me to where I am now. 

How would you describe your music?

My music is chill music. I want to create a slightly new Tanzanian R&B/soul genre that will be unique to me, my style and my personality. But I’d say my music is chill music, or R&B first and then fun. I experiment a lot with upbeat fun records that some would call Afrobeats. A secondary description of my music would be bongo flava. I am working on a lot of local sounds currently because I want to continue paying homage to Tanzania’s sound and I need to play a part in building it every time I get a chance, so expect to hear a lot of bongo flava in my upcoming music.

Who are some of your biggest influences musically?

I’d be lying if I didn’t say Beyoncé as she is a big part of why I do what I do today. To me, she embodies everything I believe an artist should do and I am in awe of her presence, her talents and her womanhood. After her I’d say Mariah Carey, Rema, Doja Cat, and Sauti Sol, to name just a few. But by far Beyoncé is my biggest inspiration. 

What is the role of your Tanzanian roots in your art?

Tanzania is the home of Swahili language and there is nothing as amazing to me as celebrating the birthplace of this amazing culture and language that’s spoken widely or natively in over 14 different countries in Africa. So I try to incorporate Swahili as much as possible in my music – in my style, my fashion and other aspects of my musical artistry to celebrate my Tanzanian roots. 

How has your life changed since signing up with Sony?

Since the Sony announcement my life has been a little of a terrific roller coaster to be honest. I’ve been getting phone calls that previously were hard to come by and I’ve been getting a better look at opportunities I felt were far-fetched. Right now I am looking forward to better features and a slightly more global crossover opportunity for my music given the Sony relationship. But I have to say the beginning seems promising and I am excited about where this will go in the coming months. 

Any new releases to expect?

“Abso-abigail-lutely!” My next single is dropped today. It’s called ‘Closer’ and it features the amazing Tanzanian bongo flava artist Harmonize. I am excited and pumped about this record because it will show a different, fun side of me that I think the fans need to see. I worked extremely hard on that project, so I am really, really excited. After ‘Closer’, I am looking forward to dropping my first EP under Sony Music Africa, which also has some other amazing features that I am just excited to share with the world. So please look out for both these projects before the end of the year.

Who would like to work with and why?

As much as this will sound cliché, I want to work with Beyoncé. I believe in my current stage, I have to be aspirational so that it allows me to push the boundaries of my musical talents, my entertainment value and my brand. So, if I look up to the moment that Beyonce and I will, or might, collaborate on a record, it’s likely to come along the path I take and work with other great artists that also do amazing work. But if you ask me that question each time, my answer would be Beyoncé. Period!

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Publish date : 2022-08-19 14:57:23

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