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Wednesday, November 3, 2010
ABRAHAM MCDONALD: Moving The World One Note At A Time
At a time when many in the United States wonder if the American Dream is dead, singer/songwriter Abraham McDonald is living proof that with perseverence and faith it is very much alive. His journey into the ears and hearts of the world has not come without hard work and sacrifice, but in 2010 it has paid off in a big way.
I was first introduced to the talented artist in late 2009 through Youtube, and it was obvious to me then what is clear to many today: he is not just a performer of music. He is the music. With every note he delivers not just something that is pleasant to the ears but sinks down into the psyche and touches the heart.
The past year professionally has been a whirlwind that any individual who desires a career in the entertainment industry would long for, but I truly believe that for Abraham it is only a fulfillment of a vision that he saw for himself long ago. Life for him didn't begin with his winning Oprah's talent competition in 2009. It didn't begin with his signing a record deal with Island Def Jam records. It didn't even begin with the performances all around the world in the past several months. According to Abraham, it began when he was just a boy growing up in Texas when he realized that he had been blessed with a gift that if used properly could change not only his world, but that of those who would hear him.
I think he was right.
Conversations has interviewed numerous movers and shakers from various fields over the past seven years, but few have had the impact on listeners as has Abraham McDonald. That is why in my opinion, he is not just Conversations' Recording Artist of 2010, but a symbol to many of what can happen when you believe.
In this interview with McDonald we talk about his life in music and what he believes others can take away from the rollercoaster ride of a lifetime that he is only just beginning.
Abraham, you have had an amazing ride over the past year with appearances on Oprah, a record deal with Island Def Jam and performances around the world, but this journey has been a long one for you. When did you first realize that music was something you wanted to do as a profession?
I don’t recall wanting to sing as a “profession” as a kid, I only knew that singing made me feel good and that I could see myself on stages. It’s in this season of my life, my right “now” that I’m discovering music/singing as a profession. And I’m loving it: the traveling, the smiles, and even the valleys that come with the desire of success. Singing is a well of things to me now.
People hear you sing and they say that the words seem to come from your heart and your soul. That's a true gift. How do you feel when you see people respond so positively to something that you enjoy doing?
This is one of the hardest questions I’ve been asked; more so because I can’t take credit for that amazing feeling of connecting in spirit. Ultimately that’s what true expression should ignite… an exchange, my gift for your wonderful energy… a complete cycle. I guess you could say that I feel complete when I hear positive responses to my sharing the gift. All I know is that I get to smile a lot.
I've had the pleasure to interview you for the radio edition of Conversations, and each time we talked it seemed as though you were still humbled by what you have been able to do. That's not an easy thing to accomplish given the trappings of fame. In one interview you said that you saw yourself as a vessel. Can you explain that?
I’m only as strong as my connection is to my source. I can’t paint a perfect picture because I’m nowhere near a perfect man. But, what I can do is tune in and respond accordingly. Without my connection I’m useless. I thank God as often as I’m reminded that I am placed by assignment and not by my own work.
I'm sure you have seen some of your favorite singers on TV and thought about that being you one day. Your single "Miracle" has been getting rave reviews with the video debuting on Oprah.com, and I've already seen it on BET's Centric. Do you feel as though your career is coming full circle, and what can we expect from you next?
I’ve been a thirteen-year-old boy, enjoying surprise after surprise and win after win these last 11 months. I can’t stop smiling, and though my sister and I have climbed a few mountains and even crossed a couple valleys, we are only at the beginning of the beginning of my new career. I’m grateful however that the dreams I recall now vividly, as a kid I had no idea that God had already begun to imprint those desires of my heart. It’s a wonderful journey to ride along and have the responsibility of getting out of the car where He stops.
As far as what’s next…the world is before me and I plan to enjoy. My Christmas single, “Giving You My Heart For Christmas” is going to be what I believe is your next favorite Christmas song. Keep an ear out and start bugging your local stations NOW! My new single and album, “Man with Two Hearts" is slated for release in the first quarter of 2011. Be sure to keep tuning into www.mrabrahammcdonald.com you’ll find all touring information, music and photo/video updates there.
Success is a word that is thrown around a lot, Abraham, and it means different things to different people. Given where you've come from and what you have done up until this point, what does success mean to you?
Success is a personal word. It shouldn’t be flagrantly flung in front of anyone. I have no successes without peace. What I have been blessed to see and do in this new season of my life is only due to a mild trust in me that I believe my source wants to believe I can handle. Daily though, I work at my gift, I think about how my family will and can be blessed if I’m focused, and the truth is, I’m not always focused. (laughs) The success of it all is to be diligently connected to the mission laid before you. Only you know your true failures and successes.
Congratulations again on all of your accomplishments, Abraham. We look forward to following you in 2011 and beyond. What advice would you give to those looking to you as an example about why they should follow their dreams?
The only thing I can say about dreaming, is that self-belief is connected to trusting in your source. I was not created to lose. Pungent, maybe, but in truth, I believe in my heart of hearts that something special has been designed just for me to do, to become, and to share even.
I sat on the side of my bed back in July of 2009, I said to myself, “I know there is more!" I began to search my heart and my memories. Who was I, who did I want to be, what did I want to do… I got to the place of completely trusting the leading of my source and I began to move, even before my Oprah experience.
I didn’t wake up in Chicago and say, ”Well now this is it! This here! Now this is living” (laughs) No, I’d made a decision to live before that opportunity was even birthed. To the listener, the reader, I encourage you to seek the vision for your life, make a decision to live and then trust your source to direct you. Easier said than done…but check this out… Your 1% contribution is to follow, your source will hold down the other 99%. Pay attention and protect your thinking.
When asked what advice he would give to others who had a dream they wanted to follow, Abraham answered: "Get up... You only have to do 1% of this thing. Your Source will take care of the other 99%. If heavy-listing is alot for you at 1%, it's not going to happen for you... You have to begin to think yourself forward. Ask yourself 'What should I do today?' Each day is an opportunity to do something towards your dream."