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By Jessica Conway
It’s not an easy thing to put yourself out there. To show yourself to the world and invite their judgement. But this is something that musicians constantly do. Baring their soul through their lyrics and melodies for all to hear.
Canberran singer/songwriter Dean Abbott is no different, releasing deeply personal lyrics that are often literal interpretations of his world.
However, Dean’s motivations are sweetly distinct.
“I have always found music has been a tool for expressing myself. Music is therapeutic for me, and I’ve seen my music grow alongside myself,” he said.
“I also have a five-year-old son now, and I know he is watching. So for me, being myself is an important thing for him to see. That I feel enough within myself to be seen. And music is an expression of me.”
Dean’s newly released debut EP, All The Leaves, is already gaining traction. It quickly climbed the Apple Music singer/songwriter chat to reach #6 and he scored one of the few paying gigs around at the moment – a spot on the COVIDEO Virtual Gigfest line-up.
His music feels like food for the soul – especially at a time like this. It’s cruisy, with a gentle folk vibe, a kind of cross between Jack Johnson and Pete Murray. The lyrics are so damn lovely too, you feel like you’re getting a personal pep talk on self-love, forgiveness, and reassurance that shit is generally going to work out.
“I’ve been working on this EP for a while now, and I felt it was ready to be recorded and released,” he said.
“It turns out that so much of it is really relevant now, with COVID changing everyone’s lives.”
It’s true, the pandemic has made a lot of us slow-down, or hit pause entirely; a change in pace that is proving difficult for many.
“I feel like we’re usually in these patterns of distraction, we always find a way to keep our minds busy.
“Now that we’re sitting with ourselves more, I feel it’s harder to avoid introspection and reflection. We can still get out and do things, but there is more of a stillness around, which is what creates that space. A lot of people around me have started asking themselves how they want to live their lives and what do they really want to achieve.”
When asked about thoughts and feelings he still struggles to sit with, Dean laughs, saying he still had many.
“I have to make a really conscious choice to sit with that stillness, and usually whenever I’m finding it challenging to be with myself, is because I’m not addressing something!”
Dean recalled his early 20s as a time when he ‘plateaued’ in life. He was always an over-achiever, but the common crutch of drugs and alcohol saw him stall. He sees it as a self-destructive time, when he was trying to figure out what sort of person he was supposed to be – but going about it in the wrong way.
“It’s certainly been important for me to learn from my childhood and stop some patterns continuing. A lot of this music has been healing for that as well… You could say my music contributes to the man and father I am today.
“My intention with Josh (his son) is to support him so he’s able to make the most loving choices for himself throughout his life. I want to guide him, lead by example, and make sure he feels he’s being heard and loved.”
Dean’s a true Canberran, growing up in our little city with its big heart and deciding to continue his life here. As such, his EP and forthcoming album have been created within the Territory’s bounds as well.
“It was so great working with Mat (Paese of Sugar and Cream Music) – I mean it didn’t really feel like work, we’d just hang out and play some music. He has been awesome with creating this sound and understanding my vibe. He’s a gifted musician.
“I’d have the acoustic version of a song and then I’d head to Mixxtape (Studios) we’d bounce some ideas off each other, then start creating.
“My son comes to some sessions with me and Mat will let him have a little jam on their instruments which creates this inclusive and relaxed vibe. Along the way he is constantly giving me advice and supporting my growth in music.”
Dean Abbott is set to perform and already SOLD OUT gig on 8\7 August at Blackbird Bar in the city.
Keep an eye (and ear) out for his debut album, set to be released later this year.