At 23 years old, ABIR has already managed to work with some of music’s hottest artists, including Masego, Fabolous and Macklemore. With a powerhouse voice and personality to match, the Moroccan singer-songwriter is ready for whatever 2018 has in store.
Making her Coachella debut alongside New Jersey EDM group Cash Cash, ABIR popped up onstage decked out in a sheer, shimmery blue ensemble that wowed festivalgoers. She launched into an explosive performance of her latest single, “Finest Hour.”
ABIR describes her sound as a mix of all the things she loves: pop, jazz and soul. Born in Morocco but raised in Virginia, ABIR’s powerhouse voice stems from her ethnic roots and places of residence, which include both New York and Los Angeles.
“I love to tap into Moroccan traditional wear — try to find a way to wear patterns and stuff,” she says. “Growing up in Virginia, I just grew up on a lot of jazz. I grew up on a lot of country, ironically. So I’d say that being from there is super-chill. It wasn’t like New York. It wasn’t like L.A. I had time to kind of just figure out what I wanted to do and wasn’t intimidated.”
With Coachella weekend one checked off the bucket list, ABIR had just as much excitement going into weekend two.
“Oh my God, this is crazy!” she says. “I’ve never been to Coachella. This is my first time and it’s been such a rush. Getting here, we had no time to take it in until now. I’m like, ‘Holy shit!’ When I walked onstage and just seeing all those people, it was like, ‘Wow!’”
While Coachella was brand-new for ABIR, it was new for Cash Cash, too.
“Oh my God, that was so epic,” she says. “They are the best, honestly. We did this song, ‘Finest Hour,’ that we dropped a week ago. They thought it would be cool to bring me out and were just like, ‘Yeah, come out and perform on our set.’ And this is their first time doing Coachella, which is epic for them because they fucking deserve it.”
Thanks to her songwriting endeavors, ABIR met Cash Cash about six months ago during a session in the studio. Speaking about their first meeting, she says, “We just vibed immediately.”
And it’s crazy to think the artists have only had one session together. “They’re super-hands-on. They’re super-chill,” she says. “We didn’t work on the song immediately. They wanted to feel it out and see what it was all about — see what they could bring to the table for the record. We ended up making it major!”
In addition, ABIR has already worked with hip-hop artist Macklemore, who is at the top of his game.
“Oh man, Macklemore is the best,” she says. “It was so fun. I was so honored that he actually wanted me on the album. He’s so funny. Before anything else, what I love about him most is his dry humor. He literally will have you cackling all through the session. When we were recording ‘Zara,’ I literally did not stop laughing. He’s dope. He’s so supportive, too.”
Focusing on her solo efforts, ABIR is excited to put out music more consistently. As her career flourishes, she remembers what she wanted to be ever since she was a young girl.
“Since I was younger, I was like, ‘I want to be a pop icon,’” she says. “‘I want to be someone big.’ So I see myself being exactly who I want to be — who I dreamt to be. I see myself really succeeding in my career. I mean, singing is all I do.”
In regards to her current playlist, ABIR has Cardi B’s new album, Invasion of Privacy, on repeat. As she bumps SZA in her headphones, she reveals her dream collab is Frank Ocean. Look out for the new single she plans to drop in approximately two weeks.