Afro-pop songstress Abigail Chams (real name Abigail Chamungwana) continues to collect accolades. Following her nomination in 2022 for the Emerging Artist award at the Tanzania Music Award, she closes 2023 as the Spotify EQUAL Africa ambassador for December.
The prodigiously talented Abigail, or Abby, as she is often referred to, is a multilingual singer who performs in Swahili, French and English. She is also a multi-instrumentalist who plays five musical instruments, the violin, piano, guitar, flute and drums.
The Nani hitmaker was born into a family with a musical heritage where her grandfather directed an orchestra and her grandmother was a singer in the church choir.
Abigail, who rose to prominence by sharing covers of popular songs on social media, took the music world by storm; coming up with original tracks that were a combination of hip-hop melodies, modern pop and traditional instrumentation, and has since gained over 67,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
In September this year, she released her debut EP 5, which contained six tracks including collaborations with Marioo, Rayvanny, Whozu and Chino Kid.
“Abigail is a true testament to the boundless talent and creativity that exists on the continent, having made such significant strides musically at such a young age. We are proud to have her join our EQUAL programme, closing off what has been one of the best years for African music,” said Phiona Okumu, Spotify Sub-Saharan Africa Head of Music.
Looking back at her mercurial career trajectory, Abigail notes it hasn’t all been plain sailing, “as a young woman in the male-dominated world of music, I had to learn to navigate it with a different compass. One that is unfortunately twice as hard to use but has ultimately shown me that no force can stop a woman who knows what she wants and stops at nothing to achieve it.”
The Spotify EQUAL Africa programme seeks to provide female artists with the support and resources to grow their craft and reach worldwide audiences through multiple playlists. The beneficiaries also receive off-platform guidance and tools to help take their music careers to even greater heights.
Check out Abigail Chams’ track Nani, featuring Marioo on the EQUAL Africa playlist, and see our chat with her below:
1. What is that one surprising thing your fans might not know about you?
I’m most creative and write my best songs when I’m in the bathroom
2. When did you realise that making music was in your destiny and what is your WHY for pursuing this craft?
I’ve always had a love for music and started learning musical instruments since I was five years old. But when I was 8 years old I performed on stage for the first time at a school talent show hall, on what looked like a ginormous stage but felt like home. From that day onwards, I knew that music was my destiny and the stage was where I belonged.
3. Which African songs or artists did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to such a wide variety of music. But P-Square was the duo that really lit up my childhood! Growing up it was African artists like Davido, D’Banj, Tiwa Savage, Sauti Sol, and songs like 2Baba’s “African Queen”, Davido’s “Dami Duro” that made me fall in love with Afrobeats. And artists like Vanessa Mdee and Diamond Platnumz that made me fall in love with Bongo Flava.
4. To someone who has never heard your music, how would you describe the sound, tone, and style?
My music is characterised by lively pop melodies and arrangements which allow me to show off my wide vocal range. A blend between Afropop and Bongo Flava in Swahili, English and French languages.
5. Any advice for someone dreading following their dreams?
My advice will be to always follow your heart. If you are a dreamer and have big goals and aspirations, those dreams were placed in YOUR heart for a reason. It doesn’t matter how big, how far or how wide they may be, that dream is in YOUR heart and not anyone else’s because God knows YOU can achieve them.