She may be aged just 22 years, but Texan born Abbey Cone already has a wealth of experience behind her, particularly when it comes to songwriting. She has collaborated with some of the finest in the business including Lori McKenna, Shane McAnally, Nicolle Gallyon and Jessie Jo Dillon since her move to Nashville aged just 16 ( her final year of high school study was online) landing a publishing deal the same year, a record deal three years later and being inducted into CMT’s Next Women of Country’s 2020 class.
But even long before that she was focussed on a career in country music, singing with a band on Grand Ole Opry circuit stages in her home state from the age of 6 years old. She started taking guitar lessons aged 8 and first visited Nashville when she was 12, subsequently making regular visits there before her aforementioned relocation a few years later.
Frustratingly for this ambitious and talented artist the release of her debut single ” Rhinestone Ring” was delayed by the pandemic, but as you will discover in our interview below she now realises this was a blessing in disguise. Co-written with Heather Morgan and Nathan Spicer (Nathan and Abbey also co-produced the track) this beautiful love song which is out now via The Valory Music Co. tells how material items take a back seat when it comes to finding ” the one”.
Abbey explains “When I was a little girl I used to dream not of my future husband, but my perfect wedding – the dress, the cake, the flowers and how many people would be there.But then, when you meet the right person you realize you don’t need all of those things that you thought you did so ‘Rhinestone Ring’ comes from that perspective. It’s saying, I vow to this person that love is the part of the day that matters most.”
It was great to get 15 minutes of Abbey’s time to chat about the release and of course what we can expect from her in the coming months. To set the scene, she was in her home in Nashville, with an amazing photo of Joshua Tree National Park as her backdrop… where she was “in her heart” apparently.
1. LH Hi, Abbey, congratulations on finally being able to share your beautiful love song “Rhinestone Ring” with the world! A three-way co-write I gather , but who brought the initial idea/title into the write?
AC It was mine, I started it with Nathan and then when I knew where it was going I brought Heather in on it and we wrote the whole song after that. She was the piece I knew it needed as she we are both big melody girls!
2.LH You definitely pour your heart and soul into the vocals, is it important for you that your writing contains an element of truth and reality in order for you to do that?
AC For sure it’s essential! I’m a pretty open person so I can find truth in a lot of things but when it comes to my writing I think that unless it’s true for me or someone else in the room I don’t want to write it.
3. LH And is there a part of ” Rhinestone Ring” that is true for you?
AC The whole song is true for me! Nathan and are in a relationship ( which is commonly known I think?) and that’s how we feel about one another…
LH Ha, I wasn’t aware of that!
AC….So funny! Yes we are together, we met and started writing and he started producing my project shortly after. We’ve lived together for three years. so I think it was easy for us to write that song together and all of it is true for me!
4. LH And I see that you and Nathan co-produced the track….when it came to the arrangement, did you have a strong idea as you are writing how you’d like the finished track to sound once you got into the studio?
AC So, we cut ” Rhinestone Ring ” in 2019, and as Nathan was a writer on it too we’d already started a track together, like a demo, and we built from there. Nathan played so much on it, I did all the background vocals. We didn’t even cut it in a studio, we sent it out to get drums on it and to a few other players and they sent it back to us. Obviously we were in a studio, but it wasn’t like ” today we are going in to cut ‘Rhinestone Ring'” …from the day we wrote it, as Nathan is my producer, it was in a production phase!
LH A bit like a jigsaw puzzle coming together!
5.LH Did you play on the track as well as providing lead and backing vocals? I think you can play guitar and keys?
AC I don’t play keys, I wish I did! I did play saxophone in a band when I was younger though! But no, I didn’t play an instrument on the track. I love doing background vocals… if I wasn’t such an artist I’d give up my whole career and do just that! I love singing harmonies! Trios and background singers for female artists ( like Aretha Franklin) really do it for me!
6. LH There’s a dreamy video too… you are so involved in the entire process of this release, from start to finish… which part did you enjoy the most?
AC All of it was amazing for me! I love the video so much, I’ve learned so much in the process of releasing one song! My favourite part was obviously the writing and singing, but I also loved getting to work with the graphic team from the label on getting to design the cover art . And we relaunched my website… as an artist you get the chance to be involved as little or as much in your own career as you please, and I like to be involved in all of it! I feel like I have a voice in all of it which is a really great place for me to be with only one song released. I’m really excited to keep releasing songs!
7. LH I know it must have been a bit frustrating as the song was meant to be released a while back, but do you think from the feedback you are hearing that the delay has actually helped people relate to it even more… with the pandemic making a lot of people focus less on material things?
AC Yeah, I think that if the situation had been different I don’t know if “Rhinestone Ring” would have been the first song I would have released, but I couldn’t ignore the parallels coming out of the pandemic and realising ” oh I have this song about not needing as much as you thought you did ” . And it was coming into wedding season, so it just made sense. Also last year I feel that people were’t listening in the same way, we were all so weighed down by so many things, so it was a conscious decision not to release new music during the pandemic. It’s so much better releasing this post the apocalypse!
8 . LH Yeah, and I gather that like a lot of us you had quite a tough time coping with the events of the last 18 months or so, but you have said that ultimately it was a blessing in some respects. Is that something your comfortable to expand on here?
AC Of course! I really struggled last year. I guess the biggest thing was I signed a deal in December 2019 aged 21 after moving to Nashville aged 16 after actively coming here since I was 14 to get a record deal! Obviously I love writing songs but I was after a deal, and what that did for my psyche as a young woman was I just I woke up every day wondering what I could do that day to get me further towards that objective. Then I GOT the record deal ( and pretty much the way I wanted, too… I’d just come off the CMT Women of Country 2020, I had this project done and it all felt so right to me) and then the pandemic happened and the thing I identified with most because I knew who I was in this role just disappeared. I felt like a shell, it was like I wasn’t sure who I am without this , and there’s literally nothing I can do, releasing my project wasn’t an option. It was just really hard, and I really went inside and came out feeling a lot more genuinely confident about myself rather than a confidence that is just able to be turned on and off …before I was in a place where it was scarily easy to say “everything’s ok!” and now I feel a lot more grounded. In a way it was like a “re-choosing” of this career for myself, ‘cos I’ve been doing it since I was 6 it felt like it chose me and I didn’t choose it! So I chose it for myself last year and I am able now to hold space for the future of my career, the unknown, which used to kill me , and still be ok currently. I feel I’m reignited in my desire about releasing songs and playing shows. I don’t feel that people talk about burn out enough and having done this from so young, it all just fell in on me and I couldn’t breathe. I had to create space for myself to be able to breathe again and I did that, now I can go forward and make this happen for myself.
Sorry, that was a long answer!
LH It was great!
9. LH My next question was going to be about what we can expect from you next, specifically is this track part of an EP/Album, or are you going to continue to concentrate on releasing singles….and you’ve already told me there’s a project so what’s that all about?
AC Yes you are going to get more singles from me in early 2022! I got my record deal on the back of a 6-song project that “Rhinestone Ring “and there next song are on, in my perfect world I’d add a few songs and put out an album next year so I’m really hoping that’s what I’ll be able to do . I feel we are in a phase where the pandemic changed the industry so much, I’m releasing songs and listening to the feedback and then making a decision about what to release. So we are ” going with the flow” right now!
10 LH You’ve already co-written with most of country music royalty , but is there anyone you particularly dream of collaborating with?
AC A lot of people! I’d love to collaborate Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert… they are my top two!
11. LH And you’ve got some shows coming up early next year with the wonderful Brittney Spencer I see! What are your thoughts about that?
AC I’m just SO excited! It’s 8 days with her, just me and my guitar, and I’m excited to put a really great acoustic set together. I don’t even know how long my sets are yet, but I’m just so pumped to be opening for her, we haven’t even met yet! I want to watch and learn from her, we are playing some really cool venues….I just want to get out and do something other than sitting here! ( laughs) I’m going on tour ‘cos i want to get out of my house!! I can’t wait for those shows!
12 LH. And of course we’d love to see you visit us over here sometime…..is that something else that would excite you?
AC Of course! I’ve never been there, ever, I’d love to make it over there next year!
LH Fingers crossed….and hopefully we can meet in person. I’ll even bring my rhinestone ring along….
AC Yay, you bring it, I’ll sing it!
LH Thanks so much for your time today.
AC Thank YOU! Bye!
Stream/Download ” Rhinestone Ring” here https://abbeycone.lnk.to/RhinestoneRing_UK
For more artist information, visit AbbeyCone.com where you’ll also find links to all Abbey’s socials.
Article written by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)