Abby Jeanne Takes Her Message Across the Globe
Abby Jeanne has been very busy for the past six years. She has been writing, producing and recording her own music—all while traveling the world, singing for the local hip-hop jazz group “Foreign Goods” and playing festivals around the city including PrideFest and Mitten Fest. Jeanne’s songs are a harmonious mixture of soul and emotion. Her voice is powerful and moving, yet in her live performances she remains poised and calm.
Even though she calls Milwaukee her home, she is a world traveler and is almost constantly performing her music and exploring abroad. She’s currently traveling in the Himalayan Mountains of India, which made finding time for an interview with her especially interesting. After multiple dropped calls and lost signals, we finally had the chance to discuss her latest release, Rebel Love, as well as some of her past experiences while traveling.
Jeanne has been singing since she was a child, but she didn’t always want to pursue her musical talents. She recalls being very young and asking herself: “Are you really going to give your soul to the spirt of music?” She answered yes and ever since that moment she knew she had an important purpose in this world. “I’m a bad student, a rebellious person and I don’t like to work normal jobs, but I have always tried to figure out what I can do for the world,” she says.
Jeanne hasn’t always lived in Milwaukee, however. “At the time, I didn’t really care about anything in Milwaukee,” she recalls. “I didn’t want to be in one place, and my heart was telling me to leave. I wanted to escape because my perception has always been outward, not inward. There was no specific reason I wanted to leave, it’s just that my heart was on fire, and I knew I had to.” So she left.
Ever since she was 16 years old she’s traveled all over the world, performing her music, exploring and meeting new people. “When I travel I really get to see the clarity of how simple things can be, and how important it is not to get lost in translation,” she says. “Traveling has shown me how everyone is just trying to survive and figure out how to use their gifts for the world and spread more love.” All of this traveling has had an impact on Jeanne as well. She made it clear that all of the various people she met have impacted her to not just think about herself or her situation: “I’m telling people about Donald Trump, and I have a friend from Iran who is talking about living under a dictatorship,” she says. “It’s just so important to talk about each other’s political situation and spread the love.”
That’s why Jeanne is so excited to release her latest album. When I asked her why it’s called Rebel Love, she explained that the title is how she describes herself. “Rebel love describes someone who holds and gives light but is also full of edge and constant rebellion,” she says. “Even if you are bright and happy, we all have this jaded edge, and we are all a little messed up.”
Rebel Love’s first single, “Aged Young (2016),” is a slow and mesmerizing track that Jeanne explains was released to describe her feelings towards the horrible 2016 she and many other people had. “It’s about how my soul feels old from seeing the things I have seen, but also how we can all move forward and experience love once again!”
As Jeanne told me about her latest release she couldn’t hold back a smile. “I can’t wait until you and everyone gets to hear it,” she shared. “It’s one big story. The album starts off poetic and innocent and then switches to a harsh and straightforward anger.” Her album, she says, acts like a rollercoaster, and we as listeners get to decrypt the meaning.
Abby Jeanne’s Rebel Love is out on Friday, Feb. 17. She’ll play a release show on Friday, March 10 at the Cactus Club.