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Philippines United States - Maryland

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Abby Mott

Abby Mott has an unmistakable voice and a soulful, hooky songwriting style. Her songs are a unique combination of Americana, pop, classical, and blues, cleverly arranged with imaginative lyrics.

You can hear influences of classical, pop and soul in Mott’s songs. She studied classical cello for 10 years, and had saturated exposure to pop and soul at home.

“I was raised on oldies and top 40. My stepdad was straight Motown: Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, and my mom had golden oldies and Billy Joel on repeat. My dad played boogie woogie piano by ear in the '60s. Funny, but it was Dion, the Supremes, and the Ronettes who drove me to and from classical cello lessons.”

Mott began singing and performing in high school, where her musical tastes broadened into punk, indie, and more pop. “I had a great music hookup in my best friend. She would mix me tapes of Bettie Serveert, the Pixies, Bowie, Blondie, the Cars, Jane’s Addiction... It was really different from what I’d been raised on, and I liked how dark it could be, but still hookey.”

While in college, Mott cut her teeth playing around Baltimore and DC with a wild variety of bands. She played keys for soul band the Octonauts, revved the crowd as a singer/dancer in the Baltimore Afrobeat Society, and spent 5 years co-fronting the popular 80’s cover band the Real Geniuses.

Writing her own songs all the while, she hit the studio in 2007, playing every instrument herself on her debut “Hearts a’Flutter.”

“On that first record, I was thinking I’d create some demos to communicate my ideas to the band, but then we all heard something special in those basement recordings with me clunking through drum parts and obsessively recording 10 percussion and vocal tracks just for a demo. Suddenly the goal became: recreate the mood of those alone moments in the basement, with fewer mistakes and higher quality equipment.”

What came through from those original demos really shaped Mott’s sound, and she had a chance to poke around with some of her classical influences, layering cello into the record as well.

“Playing in an orchestra is all about blending, and helping the whole group, even if only by being silent. That’s a hard thing to commit to; you just want to get swept away on the cello, especially when you love Bach. But it exposed me to all these different instruments and voices, and in the studio, if you do it right, you can use them all and not make mud.”

The result was what one reviewer described as “her own little world of sound,” and was well received. It has a hint of Americana with a pop/soul twist. They lyrics are dark but playful, evoking nostalgia, desire, and heartache.

After a year of playing new material live with her band, Mott was ready to go to the studio, with the whole group this time. “I knew it had to be the band for this one. We were at a point live where things would swell surprisingly onstage, so the songs were in a great spot to be put down.”

Go West! Get East! contains 4 songs recorded with “Her Band” (Jason Hughes, Jay Novak, and Pat Blades), just before her departure from the states. The songs show growth in Mott’s attention to production, as well as the strength and control in her vocal. She allows a little country to seep into her voice, and steps out, layering rootsy guitars, vocals, organ, and percussion. It is altogether a more developed sound from Hearts a’ Flutter. The new tracks are a lush platform for Mott’s strong distinct voice. The lyrics are as ever, autobiographical, playful, and true.

The EP marks a move to the Philippines for Mott, where she plans to concentrate entirely on her craft, writing and performing in Asia and returning home to gig and record with her stateside band.

Mott recently returned home to the DC/Baltimore to promote the new EP, which will be released electronically via iTunes, cd baby, rhapsody, and elsewhere. Of the overseas move, Mott simply says, “Singing is the national pastime here. People break into song in the grocery, they have amazing indigenous instruments, and the locals really appreciate musicians. I want to soak up more of that culture of music-worship.”