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  • Annette Dawm

Introducing Abby Stewart

Abby Stewart is one half of the new country duo, Abby and Beamer, a band she formed with Beamer Wigley. However, at nearly 17 years of age, Abby has already had a successful career as a solo artist with over 10 years of singing experience under her belt: “I absolutely love to sing, and have since I was really little. My first public performance was when I was 6 years old at a school talent show. I sang Avril Lavigne's ‘When You're Gone’. It was my first taste of being on a stage and I loved every minute! From then on I knew that's what I wanted to do,” she explained.

Although Avril Lavigne influenced her from an early age, more often than not, Stewart has found herself sharing the stage with some of Canada’s biggest country music acts, as well as American performers like Hunter Hayes and Dan + Shay. While Abby spoke highly of all the people she has worked with, her interactions with Hunter Hayes stood out the most:

“I have been blessed with so many fantastic opportunities such as opening for and singing alongside Hunter Hayes, Dan + Shay, Brett Kissel, Dallas Smith, Aaron Pritchett, Michelle Wright, Emerson Drive, and many more…. I'll never forget my first meeting with Hunter. We were both walking to our dressing rooms and met up.... He said ‘Hey! You're Abby right? I've been stalking you on YouTube!’ And then there's me trying to stay cool while thinking ‘Hunter Hayes was stalking me on YouTube’. He was so genuine and down to earth, and being up on stage with him was an experience I'll never forget.”

Abby opened for Hunter Hayes’ “Tattoo (Your Name) Tour” in London, ON and even though she is from Kingston, London has continued to be a city of opportunities for her. “London is a place where some pretty cool things have happened to me, including the CCMAs [and it's] where I met Beamer….” Additionally, Abby returned to London on several occasions to play at a charity event called “Stage for Change”. The concert series helped support people who were struggling with various addictions. “London is an extraordinarily welcoming city, and I love it there,” Stewart continued.

“There have been some times, like during the Tattoo (Your Name) Tour, where I've been onstage and a moment will pass where I'll look at a bunch of faces in the crowd and think to myself, ‘Holy crap! What is happening right now?’, but the moment will pass and I'll get right back to it. I have definitely been lucky enough to have performed and worked with some very amazing and talented people, but I believe I have a lot more performing, writing, and work to do before I could truly mean it if I ever think I've achieved all I've wanted to.”

For Abby, “To establish yourself as a writer is just as important as establishing yourself as a performer and/or singer.” The teenager released her first CD, appropriately titled, Firsts in 2015, in which four of the five songs were originals. Three years later, Abby continues to forge her songwriting path: “I'm excited to keep working towards becoming a better songwriter by writing with amazing people and learning from them so I can share my music with everyone. Performing and being on stage is where I feel right at home because I am doing what I love to do; and to further my abilities to connect with an audience is something I hope to accomplish this year. I'm looking forward to this summer because that is the busiest time for gigs (plus no school-- bonus!) and I can't wait to get out there and sing some new songs that I hope people enjoy….”

As previously mentioned, despite all of her success and talent, there is still one thing Abby has to complete, and that’s high school. “My career has definitely impacted my school life in a lot of different ways, some positive and some negative. When I'm away for the CCMAs, or a radio tour, or a show, I do fall behind-- especially this past year it was very difficult to get caught up again. I'm pretty sure I am caught up now, but it still kind of feels like I'm drowning in work! However, it has definitely been worth all the late nights to be able to make connections and get to know new people, and do what I love. Positively, high school has opened me up to new musical opportunities and experiences with school plays, coffee houses, and vocals concerts, allowing me to connect with people and make friends who love the same things I do.”

Stewart’s most recent radio tour/school absence was in support of Abby and Beamer’s debut single, “What If They’re Wrong?” While the song implies that two people (not specifically Abby and Beamer) may be thought of as too young to be in a relationship together, Stewart explained that she personally relates to the song in terms of her career: “‘What If They're Wrong?’ is definitely a song for couples who have felt they are not taken seriously just because of how young they are, and I'm sure many people out there can relate to the lyrics. I don't think it's fair for people to immediately judge based on appearances, because you can't tell people how to feel. Though I've never had experience with that kind of judgement based on relationships, with my career there have been some frustrating examples of not being able to get into a show because I was too young, or people would just in general not take me seriously because of my age. I guess ‘What If They're Wrong?’ tackles those kinds of stereotypes.”

Although it has frustrated her in the past to not be taken seriously, Abby Stewart has realized throughout her career that it is also important to not take the job itself so seriously and to have fun as much as possible. It is her hope that others who follow in her career path will do the same: “Taking everything super seriously can lead to a lot of stress, which I've had some experience with. The music business can be a stressful environment, so have fun with it!”

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Photo courtesy of Abby Stewart.

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