Bookending the February 2019 release of ‘Champion Plaque’, her genre-blending single with Ceschi Ramos, Cincinnati-based songwriter and vocalist Abiyah has released her next single, ‘Mirror Flower’, to end the year and the decade. On this outing, Abiyah lyrically explores some of her inner emotional contemplations and how to navigate them on a journey to strength, self-empowerment, and happiness, backed by synth-driven melodies produced by electronic musician Warren Harrison. In both its thematic lyrical content and flowing vibed-out music, somewhat reminiscent of UK trip hop group Massive Attack, ’Mirror Flower’ is highly relatable with strong crossover potential.
‘Mirror Flower’ is available for FREE download (pay-what-you-want) on Bandcamp at https://abiyahmusic.bandcamp.com/track/mirror-flower, as well as all digital streaming platforms.
As many of Abiyah’s songs do, ‘Mirror Flower’ has a story about ‘connections’ behind it, this one of the full-circle variety. In 2002, Abiyah performed at the inaugural MidPoint Music Festival in Cincinnati, as did the (then) husband-wife darkwave/trip hop electronic duo Hungry Lucy, comprised of producer Warren Harrison and Christa Belle. Abiyah and Hungry Lucy ended up meeting on the same multi-band/genre bills for the next few years after that, and became familiar and friendly with each other. Seventeen years later, in 2019, Abiyah and Harrison collaborated on a song for the first time. That song would become ‘Mirror Flower’.
Although Harrison had heard Abiyah’s music over the years, it wasn’t until a chance encounter with her in December 2018 in a randomly-selected band put together for a Freestore Foodbank fundraiser that he came to fully learn of Abiyah’s singing capabilities. They convened in February 2019 at his home studio to start getting to work. Harrison selected a beat he thought would fit Abiyah’s vibe, and she began sussing out a chorus and verses, in a one-and-done stream-of-consciousness style, while he looped the track in the background. A few months later, they reconvened and Abiyah fine-tuned the lyrics and melodies as Harrison recorded.
‘The zone of feeling like you know, but it don’t feel right.’
What appeared in ‘Mirror Flower’ as a result of this songwriting approach was a somber and contemplative look at self, with Abiyah also allowing an opportunity to find a path for herself to empowerment.
'Inside your time is overloaded how you see you in the mirror, flower
Roses golden in the fire
Crying out now, you stand up right now
How you be you in the mirror, flower
Roses golden in the fire.'
The cover art, by DC-based artist Tiffani Gomez (who also created the artwork for Abiyah’s 2018 release ‘Crylike/Masked’), mirrors and reflects the themes found in ‘Mirror Flower’ with a complex simplicity of symbolism. Broken, yet colorful, stained glass mirror pieces present a sense of the brokenness we sometimes feel when looking at ourselves in the mirror, literally and figuratively. Yet, they also resemble flower petals which can give us comfort, peace, beauty and strength. The black hole in the center of the image signifies the darkness that can be present within many of us. Even then, it is still surrounded by calming colors designed to uplift.