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Abby Roberts

Having grown up in the gaze of millions, Abby Roberts’ teenage years were exposed under the white light of her ring light and captured, condensed, and well-edited into a matter of minutes for all to see. At only 11 years old she began filming YouTube videos, expressing her creative streak to the world, which has now exploded into a multitude of careers, music being her most recent venture as she prepares to embark across Europe supporting Gus Dapperton on his “Henge” tour this week.

“I am so chronically online it hurts,” she laughs, kicking off our interview in classic Gen Z fashion and making a statement that many can relate to. “I think it shaped the way I grew up, to be honest. Like, all of my music taste comes from social media and, people might find this next bit a little cringy but, TikTok made me who I am,” she continues before delving into online presences being perceived in many ways. “I think it’s weird to think that we were all being perceived in different ways online from such a young age. You know, being subject to negative comments about yourself from the age of 11 is not good for anyone’s mental health,” she slightly laughs, almost like she’s shaking it off. “I think those experiences gave me really tough skin. Having to deal with that for such a long time really helps you develop methods of not letting it get to you,” she admits. “None of that fazes me as much now.”

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She’s been a makeup artist for over a decade now, and an entrepreneur for just as long, but the switch over to music didn’t come without its worries. “There was definitely a stigma at first,” says Roberts. “I think there were a lot of opinions and thoughts that I was just doing the TikTok to music pipeline because I did branch out into music around the same time loads of others who got their start on TikTok did,” she states. “I also thought people’s interpretation of me going into this would be like oh my god, another TikToker going into music, how cringe, but I feel like I’ve really proven myself,” she shares. “I felt like I had to for quite a while and it has definitely taken this past year for me to get to a place of where people are almost accepting of it,” she opens up before shining light on other things she worried about when switching from makeup to music. “I was totally worried that my audience wouldn’t follow when I made the switch,” she admits. “I think, you know having an audience that followed me primarily for makeup, it was a case of will they ditch me or not now that I post a bit of everything,” she says, the entrepreneur in her popping out. “I feel like a lot of the makeup stuff carries over into the music world too though,” she exclaims. “Like, it’s all been a big part of this experience so I’m lucky to still have quite a lot of the same audience hanging around. Since I began doing live shows, a few people only know me for music and didn’t have a clue about all my makeup ventures which is weird but new and fun.”

She knows what people are thinking. She’s nothing but self-aware as she reflects on how she got here and on her journey to music. “I was quite late with getting into music, to be honest,” she notes. “I had already been doing social media since I was around 11 years old and I was so dedicated to that; when TikTok started blowing up, I made that my main focus,” she continues. “I was doing makeup looks every day, like four videos a day, for three years and I became creatively burnt out. I felt like I had done every type of makeup look in existence and I didn’t feel like it was fuelling me creatively to keep going,” she apprehensively admits with love for the art form still evident across her face. “I’ve always been the type of person to like a challenge,” she switches up. “I need creative challenges to keep me interested and music was something that was always at the back of my mind but I never really had the time to pursue it,” she adds. “Off the back of doing social media for so long, I managed to make a lot of friends, some within the music scene, and they helped me start off in terms of helping me experiment with different styles and see what I liked,” she proclaims. “I was actually writing and creating music for two years before I released anything because I didn’t want to put out the first thing I made. I wanted to sit back and learn different things before I took that step,” she discloses. “Looking back, I hope those first few songs I created never see the light of day. They were terrible!”

Unlike previous steps in her career, you can tell that her music wasn’t made with a specific audience in mind. You can tell that she’s making it for herself and herself only. “I’m always changing things around. Like, if I could change a song and make adjustments forever, I absolutely would,” she starts off. “At some point though, you’ve got to realize that it’s as done as it’s going to be and you need to get it out before the time for it has passed,” she discloses. “I think my own music adapts to what I’m listening to at the time so when I was writing ‘Imposter Syndrome’, I had lots of ‘80s sci-fi and gothic influenced music on,” she shares.“ I had The Cure on so much and I feel like you can hear some of those vibes.”

Produced by Sammy Witte (Harry Styles’ co-writer and producer) and co-written with Halsey (American singer-songwriter), we delve further into Roberts’ latest release “Imposter Syndrome.”

“It was quite interesting going into that session but I think it kind of manifested itself in terms of the meaning behind the song,” Roberts begins. “I was going to all these sessions in LA and it was my first time out there; being with all these industry professionals, I started feeling like I was a bit out of my depth and that I couldn’t be in those rooms with them,” she vulnerably admits. “The imposter syndrome was kicking in so I started talking to Halsey about it who expressed how they still feel the same way at times, even as successful as they are,” she exclaims, almost like she’s still in disbelief about the latter. “Like all these years down the line and they still feel like that sometimes, it really helped me decide to hone in on it and express it within my music,” she notes before sharing how the collaboration came about. “Ashley and I became good friends last year. They kind of took me under their wing and is now my music mother. I love them to bits,” she confesses. “We, obviously, stayed in touch and they became so invested in my career that we thought it could be fun to work on something together,” she adds. “For me, it was such a learning experience to be in that studio and pay attention to how the professionals do it in a session,” she continues. “It also made me feel a lot less intimidated because of how chill it was. There was no judgment,” she states. “I could say what I want and do what I want without any pressure,” she beams. “We had some good takes, some bad, and nothing was criticized. It was one of the weirdest but most fulfilling writing experiences ever, almost like it was meant to be because we had the same brain,” she expresses. “We were on the same wavelength the whole time.”

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But creating music is more than just an exorcism of her own demons, it’s about an outpouring of everything she feels for the people she loves, and sometimes that can include herself. “My favorite thing is writing music that makes you feel something because that’s my favorite music to listen to,” she says. “Whenever I’m being angsty, I want to actually get all in my feels, and talking about my mental health is important for that,” she continues. “Take ‘bandaid’ as an example, I wrote that for my best friend as she was really struggling with her mental health and I wanted it to serve as a reminder that there is always someone thinking of her, someone to remind her that she is loved. Those topics are just something that comes naturally for me to talk about and I like touching on them whenever possible/needed.”

In having work that is also your passion, it’s hard to keep boundaries between the two; it’s something that Roberts has been working on as of late. “I love my work and I would never put it down if I had the option,” she tells us. “I feel like I need to go into sessions having done something in life worth writing about though,” she slightly backtracks, hinting at mixing work with life’s pleasures. “I’ve been teaching myself that I’ve got to deal with everything as it happens but also give everything time. That’s why I’ve only recently released things,” she adds before sharing things she’s done this year to provide herself with some sort of balance. “I got a dog,” she exclaims. “I’m a mother now and that’s been quite the journey.”

As we get carried away sharing stories about our beloved pets – Roberts has a Jack Russel named Murf for those wondering – we soon get back on track, discussing how to find that balance and the effects it can have on a person mentally. “I have been finding it hard recently though because I was going through some sh*t and I needed to get that out but couldn’t at the time it happened,” she brings us back. “Once I did, I felt like I was in such a better place mentally compared to before but it’s such a challenge to switch off. I’m always thinking about what to create next,” she expresses. “You know the notes app you get on phones, I’m constantly adding to that with anything that pops into my mind,” she continues. “I could literally wake up at 3 am, with a random word in my mind, then feel like I need to start working. With ADHD it’s like I need to do it now, when I think about it, or it’s going to go and I’ll forget about it completely.” 

Now, if you take a second to glance over her socials, it’s evident that Abby Roberts is everything she loves. She’s not confined to one journey or career venture, she’s all of them at once. “Fashion week and Halloween have taken up the whole of September and October for me so, now that they’re out of the way, I can keep planning,” she wraps us up. “Hopefully I can announce some live stuff soon.”