Talented and gorgeous Atlanta-based r&b singer Abra is a natural for coverage by online boutique SSense, which interviewed and shot her for an editorial highlighting the online retailer’s latest designer offerings.
In the exchange, Abra discussed the pluses and minuses of being raised in a very religious home. “Christianity is really about how we don’t belong on Earth, and we’re supposed to be uncomfortable with everything. I was ashamed of my sexuality. I was ashamed of my body. I’m a very sexual person. I’ve had sexual thoughts all my life—not like sex-wise, but sensual thoughts, thoughts about sexuality. That was pushed aside. It added a lot of discomfort to my life,” said Abra, who added, “But religion also gave me a great sense of compassion, and a sense of humanity. Not to say you have to be Christian to have a big heart, but it opened my eyes to other people’s struggles.”
Abra also opened up to SSense about how doing acid had changed her perception of the world. “I remember the first time I did acid,” said Abra. “Acid is like getting a second opinion from yourself. It’s a different opinion, but it’s still your opinion. It’s not someone influencing you, which is super tight. It has helped me see that we’re more alike than we are different, and that changed me.”
On the topic of inequity between men and women in the industry, Abra said, “People see women as pretty things to gawk at and don’t appreciate all the work that goes in. It feels like we’re more replaceable and we just fill a role. They don’t see us for what we bring to the table on our own and that can be hurtful.”
She noted that it’s up to women to speak up for themselves and also stay in control of their careers. “When female artists sign to labels, they want to transform you into the next so-and-so. When I met L.A. Reid he was like, ‘You’re the next Whitney.’ I was like, “No. I’m Abra.” I’m not the next anything,” said Abra.
Check out more from the interview on ssense.com.
Images shot by Maria Ziegelboeck.