Abbe May - First Release Since Coming Out
Abbe May's first release since coming out is vulnerable, raw, and as sexy as you'd expect.
In anticipation of her upcoming album Fruit, we caught up with Western Australia native Abbe May to chat coming out, the song writing process, and self expression.
This is your 5th LP, but your first release since coming out. First of all, how does it feel to finally express yourself openly through your music?
It’s funny, because to me, I’ve never hidden my sexuality but I haven’t outright expressed my identity publicly either. In the past year, I felt like it was absolutely necessary to be very public about my sexuality in the political climate surrounding the horrible and damaging postal survey regarding the rights of same sex couples to legally marry in Australia. The homophobia, division, negativity and false information, sanctioned by the gutless Turnbull Government and thrown at my community by the NO campaign was so upsetting. I worried for the less supported and the vulnerable in the LGBTQIA+ community which already has a very high self harm and suicide rate.
I am a very supported person, I have an amazing pro-equality family and friends and even I was hurt. My mental health suffered. I can only imagine what it must have been like for those who don’t have the support I do. So, I wanted to make a strong declaration – I’m gay. I’m fucking strong and if you come after one of the vulnerable in my community, you have to come through me and many others first. I stood up publicly as a gay woman for this reason. I want Fruit to be a record for people to feel supported by. I tell my story as a gay woman through this album. I want people to know I am with them. We have nothing to be ashamed of.
Coming out is almost never easy, and there are challenges no matter how old you are. Any advice to women in similar situations to you?
I think it is obviously different for each person. To me it is a case of finding your ‘family’ so that you can feel safe when you step into your true self publicly. If your ‘blood’ family is not supportive then find it elsewhere. Real “Family” loves you unconditionally and only wishes the best for you. Many of my friends have found family with groups of friends they know they can trust. And if you can’t find that then it is a good idea to reach out to community support groups.
Retrospectively, do you see the journey you took coming to terms with your sexuality reflected through your music?
I have always written about sex and love and lust.. and romance.. and death. I never really hid anything. I guess now I’m just using female pronouns instead of none at all!
You’re notorious for evading genre. Where does this variety come from – is it on purpose? Something about your songwriting process? Something else?
I’ve been writing and recording music for 10 years now. If you think back to yourself at various junctures over the past ten years, were you always the same person, listening to the same music, reading the same books, being influenced by the same people? Most likely not! I like to evolve in as many ways as possible. I also work with different collaborators and producers who are also on their own creative and personal evolutions. Based on the way I like to work and live, it would be a bit strange if I kept making the same style of music for ten years.
You’ve said that Fruit is a declaration of your identity. The songs are very raw and personal. How do you feel offering people such an intimate view of yourself?
I feel proud to be real and honest and ME. I hope it helps anyone who is not feeling sure of themselves to feel safer in being true to themselves. Fuck living a hidden life. We don’t have long to live – we may as well be genuine. I have found great happiness and purpose this way.
You’ve got quite a few gigs scheduled in for this tour – any particular city/venue you’re especially looking forward to playing in (and why?).
I am really looking forward to my hometown album launch at Perth Festival this Valentines Day. There’s always something very personal and magical about hometown shows. But I also consider Melbourne to be a second home. I had a long distance Girlfriend there for many years, so, I have spent a lot of time there. It’s a music loving city and so it is always wonderful to play.
FOR INFO, ALBUM PRE-ORDER, AND TOUR DATES
Liv Steigrad is editor and associate publisher at LOTL and Curve Magazines. She's also a freelance copywriter, editor, and writer with a background in Psychology. To find out more, visit her website tenderlcreative.com.au