Interview: Abbie Prior
ICMP Songwriting alumni Abbie Rose was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in November last year. Here she tells us about her experiences with music and the condition...
ICMP Songwriting degree alumna Abbie Rose was working across a variety of musical projects when she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in November 2017.
Since completing her studies, Abbie busied herself with a number of events and songwriting projects before the diagnosis. She's now busying herself working with Fibromyalgia Action UK to raise awareness of the illness which causes muscle pain. Ahead of an ICMP Unplugged event being held to raise money for the charity as well as Music for Mental Wealth, we asked Abbie about her experiences at ICMP and with Fibromyalgia...
How did you first get into music?
I started learning piano at age four, but by the time I was 10 I was getting quite bored of the pieces I had to practise. Alongside this, growing up I’d always have a melody in my head, so one day I decided to write some lyrics and melody to one of my grade pieces. From that day, I wrote my own chords, melodies and lyrics, and never stopped.
I can’t pinpoint it down to just one record. It was an entire genre that inspired me. Discovering country music, through an American radio station, started my musical journey.
What led you to your studies at ICMP? And what did you study while you were at the college?
After researching ICMP and attending an open day, it was clear it was the right place for me. I studied Cert HE Songwriting, followed by the BA Songwriting Degree. I didn’t apply for anywhere else because I loved the location, the syllabus and the fact that all the teachers worked in the industry, so I could trust that what they taught us was right.
How did your time at ICMP help you develop your music industry career?
Studying at ICMP provided me with all the knowledge that I needed, and didn’t know I needed. Not only did it break down songwriting into genres, lyric writing, theory and more, but I learnt about the music business, music production and live performance.
The networking opportunities made the biggest impact on my songwriting career. It gave me the chance to work with new songwriters every week, meet artists to collaborate with, musicians to jam with and gave me a community to join.
What projects have been keeping you busy since you completed your time at ICMP?
Directly after I left ICMP, I split my time between several projects. I continued to go to writing sessions and worked with a variety of producers and artists, whilst also teaching singing. I loved this process but unfortunately I had to put these projects on hold.
I plan on getting back to them once I’m back on track healthwise, with the addition of teaching piano later on in the year. However, I still write on average three songs a week, both for myself and others, giving me a lot of material to work with in the future.
Could you explain a little about Fibromyalgia Action UK and the importance of this initiative?
In November 2017, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, but so much came with the diagnosis. I learnt about the sacrifices a patient has to make involuntarily, whilst at the same time trying to comprehend the fact that there is no current cure for this awful and painful condition. Our hope for a better future relies solely on research, but this requires money.
Fibromyalgia Action UK is the leading UK charity, but the small amount of donations that it receives are not enough to make a difference to anyone suffering. ICMP have been kind enough to give me and this cause a voice, recognising that there needs to be more awareness. I will continue to find different avenues to spread the message and raise money, because that’s all I can do to change the path all Fibromyalgia sufferers are on.
What musical projects does the future have in store?
I find this a hard question to answer because my life is so uncertain at the moment. My goal is to keep writing as a top-liner for other artists in the future and get a few tracks placed on their albums over the next couple of years.
After taking inspiration from one of my favourite songwriters, Julia Michaels, I’d also like to release my own album, which I am currently in the process of writing. She has proved that you can write both for yourself and others, so hopefully I can follow in her footsteps...
ICMP is to host an Unplugged event on Wednesday 17th January with special guest Longy to showcase student talent and help raise money for Fibromyalgia Action UK and Music for Mental Wealth.
Find out more about the event.
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