Soul singer Abraham McDonald has been busy since winning the Oprah Discovery Challenge in 2010. With the release of his single "Miracle," latest duet with Rebecca Holden, performing for FLOTUS and an advocate for the children of the United Nations, it's amazing Abraham finds time to focus on his craft.
With influences such as Luther Vandross, James Ingram, Patti Austin, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Miriah Carey, Jahiem and Legacy, Abraham holds himself to a certain standard and strives to inspire his fans with uplifting music. The California native is on his way to becoming a household name and is nothing like your typical RNB artist.
Abraham's gift to capture the hearts of many with his comforting voice is just the beginning of what he is trying to accomplish in his lifetime.
I caught up with Abraham before his Grammy event "The Night I Fell In Love: Remembering Luther." While feeling the energy and excitement resonating from him, the rising star had a lot to say about connecting with his spirituality, career and the lessons he has learned in the music business over the years.
What from your childhood motivated you to start singing?
Abraham McDonald: I am originally from Dallas and moved to California with my family when I was three. I grew up in South Central on Broadway everywhere from 60th street to Imperial.
My initial inspiration was my noisy neighborhood. While walking to middle school in the morning, I would have visions about being scared to sing in public and would listen intently to the many sounds on the street. After a while, I would start to put each sound I heard in a musical key. I was always a shy kid and would never sing in front of people, but doing this peaked my interest in music.
Tell me about your first performance?
Abraham McDonald: My sister came home one day and told me she signed me up for a talent show at the Avalon Discount Swap Meet. I told her I didn't want to do it, but my mother insisted I compete. I thank God for that opportunity and my mother pushing me to perform. When I stood there in front of thousands of people, I realized at that moment I mattered and everything started to make sense. From that point on, I immediately snapped out of being a shy guy.
How has the music business treated you since winning the Oprah Discovery contest in 2010?
AB: The industry has given me a lot of great lessons. After leaving my deal with MCA at 18, I began working behind the scenes and became my own manager.
Being in front of the camera is a whole different story, sometimes those smiles don't come with good intentions. I take every lesson that I have learned since then as a gift from God. I believe wherever you are in that moment and you are connected with your source, than that is where you are supposed to be.
How did your single "Miracle" develop and what was the inspiration behind the song?
AB: The former member of Color Me Badd, Sam Watters and songwriter Louis Biancaniello wrote the song. While they played the track for me, I felt connected spiritually and knew this was the song I needed to go with. Many people have came up to me since the song has been released saying they connected with it.
I was in Saskatchewan, Canada and a woman came up to me. She told me her son was declared mute by his doctor. She said after her son watched my music video on TV is when she heard him speak for the first time. For me, hearing what she had to say is the reason why I make music. This is what the song meant to me when I first heard it-it heals you.
You perform a selection of Luther Vandross hits at your event "The Night I Fell In Love." Why perform a concert in remembrance of Luther Vandross?
AB: For me growing up Luther was iconic and comparable. When he passed away, I felt like a part of me was missing and I lost something. To me Luther hasn't been celebrated enough and I wanted to dedicate a show in remembrance of him and his music.
Can you tell me more about your organization Dreamland?
AB: What we do is work with the youth and help their dream come into existence. I always tell people you will eat plain white rice all day long if you feel that is all that is available, until you find out that you can add some teriyaki sauce, chicken, scallions and tomatoes to spice it up. At Dreamland we provide the spice for these kids to help them make their dreams come true.
What is next for the McDonald Brand?
AB: My calling in life is to encourage. When I look at my life, I see more than a singer and have several arms to extend. I am acting and have two plays debuting soon. I also am in negotiations with television networks for a few projects in development. Currently, I cannot say much but you can expect to see me on your TV every week soon. "The Night I Fell In Love: Remembering Luther" event will be in Las Vegas this Spring as well. At this point in my career I am open to all opportunities that come my way.