We caught up with the brilliant and insightful ABnormal JoY a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
ABnormal, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today When did you first know you wanted to pursue a creative/artistic path professionally?
In hindsight, I’ve known I wanted to pursue music from the moment I wrote my first rap when I was 8 years old. As a kid I was a professional follower of my older brother Elijah. Whatever he wanted to get into, I wanted to tag along. We’ve drawn numerous pictures, written full graphic novels (a little too heavily inspired by the animes we’d watch back then but that’s not the point), poems, then finally we came home from school one day and he wanted to write a rap.
This blew my mind, because I had recently discovered Eminem and was unhealthily obsessed to say the least; I had never considered ever writing my own rap. We got to it, loaded up the good ol’ type beats and I vividly remember the excitement I experienced as I searched my lil’ noggin for different rhyming words and syllables to fit in the beat. I remember the sense of pride I felt when I was able to rap it aloud, even recording it on this very obscure track-sharing app and uploading it. I remember the pure shock I felt when I saw it had gotten a whole eight plays! I was overjoyed. I decided I wanted to do it forever.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
When I started writing raps at eight, I obviously was not writing the 2-3 minute journal entries I create today. My work was very surface level and shallow (as you would expect from someone so young mimicking the artists they loved), but it was in 2015 a couple months shy of 13 that I decided that I wanted to pivot into making more emotional and thought provoking music. Around that time I had entered into my emo phase full force and with that came this feeling of being unheard and misunderstood. I just wanted to put my thoughts into words on a recording and be able to blast it full volume and feel everything that went into it. From there, I started building tracks with the intention of being the most vulnerable I could, hoping to connect with those who might be going through similar circumstances. Over time my sound has evolved.
As of right now, I am offering features, short/long-form video edits, simple cover art designs, and I am also accepting bookings! All for very reasonable pricing. Anyone who is interested in consuming my content or working with me should know that I put a ridiculous amount of thought and care into my work. I will revise a song/verse a thousand times (given there’s no strict deadline), I will rewatch an edit over and over again to make sure things are going smoothly, and I will practice my set for HOURS making sure I know all of my words and choreo. I care deeply about the end result of my efforts, and supporting/working with me means you’ll be getting my very best I have at any given time.
Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
Everything I do I try to build around a mission statement that I created: “Go deeper; unlearn them and study yourself.” My main goal when I show up in any creative endeavor is to showcase my out-of-the-box thought processes/knowledge of self and to inspire others to develop their own. I believe that expression is absolutely essential for a meaningful and impactful life, and that those who don’t prioritize it aren’t as fulfilled as they could be.
The main reason most people are uncomfortable fully expressing themselves is due to fear of judgment. I’ve made it my job to remind my audience how unfair that kind of lifestyle is to themselves, as when you live for others’ approval you are not living for yourself, and that is a surefire way to feel empty inside and like nothing matters. When you begin living your truth, you’ll repel and displease those who operate from fear and attract those who operate from love. I encourage others to trust whatever unfolds because whatever happens as a result of embracing themselves will ultimately be for their greater good.
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
I began building my online presence back in the summer of 2018 when I decided that I would drop a song a week. Barely anyone except my friends and family really cared about my music at the time and I knew that I needed exposure to more people.
Whenever I dropped a song, I would immediately scour SoundCloud to find users that either sounded similar to me or had reposted artists that sounded similar to me. I would listen and leave engagement, and then I would direct message them complimenting something that I liked about their track, offering some encouragement and then kindly asking for feedback on whatever my most recent song was. I would sit at my laptop for HOURS doing this. By the end of the summer I had gained 150-200 new followers on SoundCloud.
It was one of the people I had connected with on SoundCloud that had found my instagram and added me to a big artist group chat, where I was able to begin really building the foundation of my network of creatives. I guess the moral of my story would be that love permits love. There will be people who choose to ignore or hate on you, but that has more to do with them than you. Show as much genuine love and support you can in the beginning. People remember and might even be the ones to open a door for you.
- Website: https://withkoji.com/@abnormaljoy
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abnormaljoy/?hl=en
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/abnormaljoy
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcbDJWNi9THippP7x2pFk8Q
- Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@abnormaljoy?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2hvGNXkFIJp40WkxJyuXwD?si=s-HN8MMDTyqaZTNjej0IuA Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/abnormal-joy/1392505436
Wesley Andrews (3-4), Jayson Alonzo (7), Ricardo Sonny Lee Morris (1, 5, 6, 8). 1, 2, 5 photo edits as well as the last three cover art edits were by me!