Artist Spotlight: Abby Jeanne

Rock and roll star Abby Jeanne returned home to Milwaukee for a Turner Hall show Friday evening, delivering an energetic and emotional punch to the mostly-full ballroom. The show had originally been planned for January 11th but got postponed due to the weather. This had been Jeanne’s first Milwaukee show since July; she is currently based in New York City. Young indie band Retoro opened for her.

“Tonight’s energy was great,” Jeanne said. “I come here to love; people come to get love and give love. It was a packed house and it’s always nice to come home and share that with the people here because this is where I grew up. It’s really the most magical day.”

Abby Jeanne is currently backed by lead guitarist Jenna Rades, guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Michael Sodnik, bassist/vocalist Mark Yencheske, vocalist/synthesizer Sam Hightower, drummer Ben Bruns, percussionist Keenan Thomas, and horn players Glenn McCormick and Russell Rossetto. Jeanne had been selected as a Backline artist in 2018 and spent several months this past year living in LA before relocating to NYC about five months ago. She describes the culture of living in Queens.

“New York has literally everything. Everyone in the world comes to New York; it’s the most diverse city in America. There’s art, culture, people everywhere – in the parks, on the streets, in the venues…I think just naturally when I’m out and about, I get led into places that happen to be the perfect place for me. There’s a couple venues and bars in which I was finding jukeboxes and certain songs being played, and I’d find them to be just the place for me. I meet people in the street every day; you literally can’t walk outside without making a friend. Living in Queens is great too because I spent a lot of time in Thailand and India, and there’s a Buddhist temple and Thai market in my neighborhood, so it’s cool having that pocket of culture there. I love it.”

Jeanne is currently writing a new record. Her distinct colored vinyl are available at your local record store.

“The whole point of me leaving Milwaukee is to expose myself more to the world, because I’ve always considered myself a person of the world, and not a person of one city or place. I love home but I am for everyone, and separating myself from home was the best thing I could have done because I don’t wanna complain about my life anymore – I wanna talk about what we can do to make the world a better place and I wanna use my voice to do that. That’s what I’m working on and on top of that I’m growing a lot as an instrumentalist. I write all the parts and we have ten people on stage – five years I couldn’t do that. Sometimes I look back and think “wow, I’ve really done a lot.” I’m really fucking excited. I have a lot to say and a new way to say it.”

Her last single “Get You High” came out in October on 7″ – she tells us a little bit about it.

“It happened on a whim. I was just dicking around writing how I was feeling one day, and literally thought I would write it and sell it to somebody because I don’t really do synthpop stuff. I actually sent it to a few friends and they were like “dude, this is your song…you need to put this out.” Everything I write comes from the heart and it just happened. And then “Spellbound” (B-Side) I thought was a great pairing with it. A lot of people afterward thought our sound was changing, but no, it’s not about my sound changing…it’s about me developing as an artist wherever I wanna go. Just because I put one synthpop song doesn’t mean I’m gonna put out a whole record. The new record is dirty, it’s soul, it’s garage, it’s psychedelic, it’s weird spin-off disco…it’s so many things in one.”

She concludes with some of her personal goals for 2020.

“This is the first time I’m really taking the time to mold this together – that’s why I’m not really worried about playing out everywhere in Milwaukee. I’m just trying to write intentionally while I have the chance to. Aside from that, we’re gonna be moving to LA again, so after this next few months in New York, we’re coming back for a mini-tour to the Midwest and the whole band is coming to LA. Last time we had four and now we have ten (laughs).

Abby Jeanne will also be at the VinterSkol Music Festival this Saturday!

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