It was Christmas two years ago when island musician Abigail Sloane received a present that changed her life. Unbeknownst to the 24 year-old singer-songwriter, her parents had sent her CD demo to producer Eric Copeland in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Eric called and said, ‘Let’s do this CD for real,’” Sloane said with a broad smile, adding: “It was one year ago today (March 14) that I was in Nashville recording the album.”
Now professionally produced, “Reason & Rhyme” has been nominated as one of the year’s “Most Exceptional Music Projects” in the 16th annual Independent Music Awards, which honors independent artists and indie-label projects. The winning pieces will be selected by a panel of judges that includes Tom Waits, Slayer, Bakithi Kumalo, Michael W. Smith, Sepultura and Amy Lee and will be presented at the end of the month at New York City’s Lincoln Center.
Sloane grew up on Maury Island — “born and raised fourth-generation Kranjcevich,” she said. Family lore says the musician was humming before she could speak and wrote her first song at age 8.
“And, it was a real song,” she said with her blue eyes sparkling. “From then on, music became a thing. I published my first song senior year in high school. Music has always been a huge part of my life.”
Home schooled until she attended high school at Life Christian Academy in Tacoma, Sloane took piano lessons from island teachers, but she said she always heard the music in her head a certain way, which was not always the classical sound her teachers wanted. She studied music in high school, attended two years of college in California without pursuing her craft, then traveled abroad before returning to Vashon, where she focused once again on her music. Her musical genre is Christian contemporary, but she hopes the music “outlives that title.”
“I hear people say they like my music and that it helps them,” she said. “The music is uplifting for others who are not of my faith, and that’s all I can ask for.”
When a new song comes to Sloane, words are the first to show up, which she said is almost like journaling.
“They are about everything I’m thinking. All these words come out, and I wonder where did they come from? Then I sit at the piano and play what sounds right, a melody line, which is just as important as the words,” she said.
While Sloane writes her scores for the piano, she doesn’t yet write music for other instruments, something she’d like to learn. For her CD, Sloane turned to studio engineer Jonathan Crone, who wrote the instrumental scores.
Sloane will soon be moving to Nashville, but she said that in the last several months she’s fallen back in love with the island “hard core.” She has played at Snapdragon and in several shows such as the “Love Duets.”
“Abigail’s got a fantastic voice,” Pete Welch of Vashon Events said. “She’s participated in several music events that we’ve had, and I’m so happy for her. She’s moving to Nashville, how cool is that?”
Sloane said she hadn’t realized “how much of a community of musicians there is on the island” and looks forward to playing with them when she comes back to visit.
“It has been great to play with all of (the musicians),” she said. “They’ve inspired me to be a better musician.”
Sloane’s music can be found on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and abigailsloanemusic.com.