One listen to the soulful voice of Abbey Cone, and you would be surprised to know that the Fort Worth native isn’t even out of her teens yet! Cone, the CMChatLive.com “One To Watch” for October, says that just like her family, she got her start on the rodeo circuit – but in a much different way.
“I’m the baby of four, so I have two older sisters and an older brother. They are all active on the rodeo circuit. I was at rodeos all around the country from the time I was born. I don’t ride, but I sang the National Anthem at all the rodeos,” she recalled. “That’s how I found my place in my family. When I was six, I started vocal lessons, and a few years later, I started singing on The Grapevine Opry. The Opry circuit was a big thing in Texas – especially for younger singers, because you couldn’t really sing in the bars. I was there about every other Saturday, and did that until I was 16. That’s where my stage experience came from, and where I learned from a lot of musicians and other artists.”
She says she can’t explain why riding horses never appealed to her, but the stage has always been where she felt the most comfortable.
“I respect the sport a lot, and see all that my siblings put into it – and all that it takes to succeed. But, it just wasn’t for me. I saw a lot of things happen on horses that made me scared. It wasn’t one particular thing, but I just never really fit into it.”
One particular stage setting that Cone loves is the iconic Billy Bob’s Stockyards in Fort Worth, of which she says:
“It’s so historical and iconic, considering all the people that have played there. I’ve played there three times so far. It’s such a big place, for sure.”
The singer is excited about the release of her new album titled Abbey. She hopes fans will take a liking to it.
“I wasn’t worried about the album having a certain theme, or being ready for radio or anything like that. That’s just where my writing was at that point. I feel like the album is really relatable. I think it’s a good representation of my writing and my vocals. I think that shows up well too.”
Five of the tracks on the album were co-written with rising Nashville tunesmith Amanda Williams, who Cone credits with a lot of her development as a writer.
“I worked with her a lot since I was 12. We wrote a lot of great songs together, and she’s a genius at everything she does. She’s such a smart writer, and taught me so much.”
The first single from Abbey is the melodic “Southern Charm,” which has just been released to Texas Radio. Of the tune, Cone said
“I was actually worried about putting that out because we wrote that two years ago, and I’ve grown so much more since then. But, everyone seems to like it. I think it’s so simple, and has such a laid-back vibe.”
Two of the album’s cuts name-check the legendary Johnny Cash and June Carter, of whom Cone said “I’m so obsessed with them and their love story. One of the songs that I perform a lot is ‘Johnny and June’ by Heidi Newfield.” The couple are referenced in the flirtatious “Mix Tape.” What is on her mixtape? “I listen to so many different kinds of music. I think that’s why my music sounds so different. I love old country, but also so much R&B – especially from the 1990s,” she says crediting George Jones and Mariah Carey as additional influences.
Besides her own music, the singer is busy trying to create awareness of music among younger fans with an initiative she is very excited to be a part of.
“It’s called ‘What Does Music Mean To You,’ and it’s a contest that we’re working on. The goal of it is to promote music programs among today’s youth. I think it’s really important to be subjected to music and to express yourself through songwriting. So, what we’re doing is trying to connect with Middle School students. I sent out a video to the schools talking about what music means to me, and I’m asking them to submit a video back to me telling what music means to them, and how it’s affected them in their lives. You can win prizes, like a guitar or money for your music program, depending upon which one I choose. We’re just trying to get the word out about it.”