Review by Tess Schoonhoven. Photos by Gina Di Maio, courtesy of the artist.
Emotional honesty, owning who you are, refusing to diminish yourself- Abigail Osborn is making a bold statement both as a modern pop artist and a vibrant member of the independent Nashville community. Her debut album, Bad Lover, released in two “chapters,” and the accompanying sold out release show held last month at The End brought to fruition a collection of art that has been in process for Osborn since 2020.
Although the record was released in two parts, the thread of story is drawn through the whole project, and the “rollercoaster” of emotions, as Osborn puts it, hit the audience at The End like a tidal wave, yet laced with hope, authenticity, and simply a lot of fun.
The album was the Denver, Colorado born, Nashville based artist’s chance to challenge herself to just say what she had to say and accept the parts of herself that have changed and grown throughout the past three years. Then turning to listeners and inviting them to do the same. We caught up with Abigail ahead of her recent headlining debut to chat about it.
“It feels really good to own those feelings. I can see all the ways I was hurting, that I’m not anymore, and I feel proud of myself for getting to a place where I can see the toxic thought patterns and be like ‘wow, I would not ever say that now,’” Osborn explains, “But, it feels really good because there’s other people who are in that place who can relate to [where I was].”
There’s a lot of power in accepting every stage of emotions one has gone through – the healthy and unhealthy ones. In that kind of radical honesty, we find the courage to shake off shame, accept our humanity, and be kind to one another.
“I’m bad at love, I keep messing it up, all the good things just hurt, I keep making it worse. When I get close enough to start spilling my guts I go back undercover, I’m a bad lover,” the title track chorus denotes.
But as the room full of friends, fans and family sang song after song along with Osborn, the aura wasn’t sadness, or even anger, but confidence and unconditional support. All her people were in one room, Osborn emphasized. With opening acts Daniel St. Black and Anna Hamilton, it was a night for celebration and pride – choosing to live in the moment of a musical milestone that Osborn says she’s reminding herself matters and shouldn’t be rushed past.
“There’s this new found feeling of capability I haven’t really had before. There are so many moving parts and pieces of putting together a show like this, so I feel like I was reminded of what I was actually capable of and how badly I want to do this for the rest of my life,” Osborn reflects. “Even though there’s so much volume of music coming out, if you feel the need to put out music and play shows, you should, because people care. People will surprise you with how much they care if you’re willing to be honest. Call me crazy, but I think they will, and it will feel really good.”
Shortly after the sold out show, Osborn headed to Austin to play her first showcases as a part of SXSW, and in recent weeks has released four acoustic versions of tracks off the album and a collab with rapper Ryan Oakes. With momentum at an all time high, the pop artist has already hinted at new music on the way, which we are eagerly anticipating! And, if you missed her at The End, Osborn will perform next at new local venue The Eighth Room on May 12- don’t miss it!