Songwriter Interview

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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed songwriter and musician Abe The Gemini about his music style, his inspiration, and the creative process he goes through to produce his music.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

Put together Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Napoleon and Picasso. I am a mix of those characters. A genius, dreamer, and a creator. I am Abe The Gemini. I am a poet, song songwriter, I rap, and produce.
I enjoy making music, and telling stories.

When did you first WANT to write songs?

Abraham Omobhude
Abe The Gemini

I have always had a thing for song writing. I started out writing poetry, and then gradually discovered I have a talent for writing raps. And in 2007 the drive to start making music was becoming more intense, because that was the only thing that calmed me during the tough times, just music. So, I listened to Tupac, Biggie, Wu-Tang, Cassidy,  and I thought that if these guys could do it, then I can. If they could listen to a beat and tell a story, then I can do the same. So I began thinking about writing my own songs.

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When did you take a step to start writing songs?

2010. That’s about three years after I discovered that I can write. I think in the same year, I independently wrote, recorded, and produced a 10-track album. But was never released, because I wasn’t thinking of doing music professionally. But that was officially my first step in trying to write a song, and my first attempt in the mixing and mastering process. Later on, after giving it much thought, I decided I was going to do this full time. I fell in love with the whole experience, and that just motivated me to improve on my writing skill, and production level.

What was your first song released, and what was it about?

Well, I released my first single in 2019. It is titled: Stay on the Grind. It is about me going through betrayal, being in a bad spot in life, surrounded by enemies, being ambitious with lofty goals, believing in God and never giving up. It’s really about staying on my grind always. Keep pushing, regardless of the storms in life. I try to write positive lyrics because I am trying to impact a generation of people. People need a positive spark, and I think I can do that with my music.

What was your latest song released, and what was it about?

My latest song was released 7th of August. I wrote it for my son. I named it after him, and it is titled D’Angelo. It is a lo-fi type of tune. But I guess it is one the songs I poured my heart into. It is about me giving him life advice, basic principle I wish someone had given me on my journey. Telling him how I’m going to be there for him through thick and thin, to beware of fake companies, to focus on his art, and keep the family close. I love that guy, and I just want to see him grow to become a better than his dad. He loves the song, he is almost 3 years old and whenever he hears he starts dancing. I think he kind of knows that the song was written for him, and it just gives me joy to see that he appreciates it.

Focusing on your latest song. What were your biggest challenges with it?

That was my first time working on a lo-fi song. Because I am used to doing hip-hop and afro beat. Chill-pop and lo-fi are kind of slow, chilled and relaxed melodies, so I had to tell a story with that kind of melody. It was challenging but a wonderful experience. I started working on many lo-fi and chill-pop songs. And I think that is a genre I’m quite good at. Rebecca Mardal and Pat Dimitri had the lofi instrumental, and Collin Francis helped me with the ambient harmony, and with the production. A big shoutout to everyone involved in the project. Much love.

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How many songs are you working on right now?

I am working on releasing my album. Still got 12 songs I have to finish, and I am trying to work with different artists. From songwriters to producers. I am quite open-minded when it comes to music. I am working with a few UK drill artists, and some afrobeat singers. I have done a song with a guy called Monaky, and I think we killed it. It is titled Always Dey Go, and available on Youtube. Its more of a afropop rap kind of vibe. Totally sick.

Do you keep to a theme with your music, or just go where the mood strikes?

It all depends. If the beat is good, and if it is something I can vibe to, then I will write to it. I have done trap, drill, afro rap, and even lo-fi. Anything literally, as long as it feels good. Having a musical theme is also good, but I think with time you get stuck in a genre, and music is about exploring, creativity. There is a new sound called Amapiano, and I have never worked on that type of theme, but I am making plans to work on it. Just the way I did in the lofi, and it became a masterpiece, I can do the same with any other theme.

What is your favourite song you’ve recorded, and what do you love about it?

My favourite song is the song I wrote for my kid. Even if I’m not around someday, he can always listen to it, and know that his Dad wrote a masterpiece. I loved how I fused hiphop into lofi. Not that it hasn’t been done before, but the way we did is amazing.

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Do you find other people’s music inspires you? Who do you listen to most?

I get a mental pump from listening to people’s music. Listening to other artists, helps me appreciate and understand the art. I take note of how they structure their sounds, percussion, and wordings. I listen to afrobeat a lot. Also hiphop, drill, and R&B. I listen to Dave, Stormzy, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Blxst, M Huncho, Dutchavelli, Tion Wayne, Pop smoke, Nipsey Hussle. Anything that sounds good actually. I am also a big fan of J. Cole, since The Come Up. His songs got me through struggling times. 

Do you write your own music, or do you have musicians you work with?

I write all my songs. I think true artists should be able to write and tell their own story, through music.

Do you play any instruments?

Drums, piano. I’d love to learn to play the saxophone, and guitar.

Do you like performing live, or does it scare you? Where can people watch you?

I love performing live. Watching your fans sing to your songs word for word is a beautiful experience. I don’t have a show coming up at the moment; I am just working on releasing new music. But I will definitely have something planned for Christmas. A few line ups on the way.

Is your music available online and where can people listen to it?

Yes, I have a lot of my stuff on YouTube. Currently working on putting my EP on streaming platforms.

Are you able to make music full time, or do you have day job?

I do music full time. I do investing and part time trading, but with trading and investing part, you don’t have to be there all the time; it gives me the leverage of working from anywhere. So I have time to focus on music, from writing to production, I’m all in.

Are your friends and family supportive of your music career?

Yes, they are.  They are in support of everything I do.

What’s something you never expected about being a songwriter? What have you learned that surprised you?

Song writing is just like playing an instrument. Every word represents a chord or a string. It is like painting. It is an art. A beautiful way to tell a story. After working with so many artists, I found out that writing is hard for a lot of people. Especially story tell. That is why you hear some artist singing about gold chains, houses and cars they don’t own, and singing about broads. It is easy to write that stuff, than it is to tell a story, or to pass a message. I have done spoken word before, which is like a musical poetry but with no beat. I mean, song writing is easy for me because I have been doing this all my life, but when it comes to production, that is where the works goes in. Getting something to sound exactly how you want it. I’m learning a lot, still learning.

Have you had any experiences that really stand out because of your songs?

Yes. I got an email from someone who told me how my songs have changed her life for good. She was on the verge of giving up, addicted to drugs and alcohol, suicidal, and without a purpose anymore. But after stumbling across my YouTube channel, and after listening to all my songs, she said she felt like my songs were written for her. She found strength and motivation through my music. Now, she is Dubai, starting her real estate firm, after turning her life around completely. And that is why I kept making positive music, and storytelling. You never know who is listening.

What is the first piece of advice you would give to anyone inspired to write songs?

Be authentic, and tell you story. Trying to be like the next artist would just make you become a replica and you wouldn’t be able to discover your sound. We have all been through hiccups, obstacle, smooth and bumpy rides. And those experiences can be told through music. Song writing is like painting. Every detail matters. Be original.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

Absolutely, every bit! Being able to tell my story through my music, and people listening to what I have to say, is a wonderful experience, and it is worth every effort I put in. I am just getting started; there is a lot of work to be done, and a lot of lives to be influenced. I pray God give me the strength to move mountains.

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