Music runs as deep in 20-year-old Abigail Bleu as her Moorestown heritage does.
The fifth-generation township resident grew up in a family of musicians and music lovers and felt herself drawn to music at am early age.
“I have always loved music since I was young — since I was a baby, actually,” Bleu says. “My mom used to play ‘In the Arms of the Angels’ by Sarah McLachlan and I would cry my eyes out because it’s a sad song, and I just felt music so deeply even then. When I was old enough to talk, I would always beg my mom to put on Sheryl Crow.”
A diverse taste in music that had her listening to everything from female singer/songwriters to classic rock staples to radio hits, meant Bleu always had a song inside her trying to get out. She cites Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Rihanna and Ariana Grande among her wide range of influences; performing at venues like her church on Sunday mornings and her bedroom whenever the spirit moved her gave her early glimpses into the life she’d soon realize she was meant for.
“I started off singing in my room as a little girl and my dream started cultivating,” Bleu says. “The moment I realized that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life was at the Taylor Swift concert in 2011. I was 11 years old. I looked up at Taylor on stage and knew in that moment I wanted to be on a stage one day with that many people watching me sing.”
The January release of her first single, a cheeky dance-pop tune called “Better Than Alexis,” has Bleu’s star on the rise, putting her one step closer to filling arenas with fans and singing to sold-out crowds.
She credits and thanks her parents for always encouraging her to follow her passion — an easy task, her father Ryan Barbalios says, after he saw how deeply music moved his daughter.
“Abigail was always in choir; she plays the guitar, violin and piano — she started being self-taught on the guitar before taking lessons — and she’s excellent at them all,” Ryan says.
“She and I used to watch ‘American Idol’ when she was little and I’d day, ‘You’re going to be up there one day.’”
Abigail’s mother Wendy adds that having an early sense of her daughter’s potential helped her see how special she was.
“I’ve never heard the voice of God before, but when Abigail was a baby, He spoke to me and told me that she was going to be a star, which I didn’t share with anybody for the longest time because it shocked me,” Wendy recalls.
“Then when she was a little older, all of a sudden this beautiful talent came out of her, and she really started to show her ability with the guitar and music. And then I thought, ‘Maybe this is what that was all about.’”
Armed with passion and a guitar while being cheered on by her nearest and dearest, Bleu says she’s been creating her own music for half her life now, even before she dreamed of sharing her songs with an audience.
The journey that started with a young girls’ foundational hunger for music picked up steam when Bleu made an auspicious recording connection.
“I was blessed with a publishing deal with Troy Carter, Lady Gaga’s former manager, at Q&A music publishing,” she says. “I recorded an EP and that collection of songs got me the deal.”
What would become her debut single began with a lyric and soon became the song that Bleu knew had to be her entrance into the music scene.
“The experience of putting out ‘Better Than Alexis’ was a crazy and fun one for sure,” she recalls. “It started in my room when I wrote one line: ‘Gone so quickly baby boy, last time you were with me in your corduroys.’
“I went into the studio with that line and my producer Tyco and I made a beat around it,” Bleu adds. “I fell in love with the song and realized I wanted this to be the first one I released.”
As the reviews roll in and more listeners connect with Bleu’s song about an addictive, one-sided relationship, the up-and-coming musician eagerly anticipates letting more of her music venture into the world.
“I can’t wait to continue to release my music, because it’s a beautiful thing to be able to share my music with others, especially when people love it,” Bleu notes. “There are many exciting things in the works when it comes to my music.”
And no matter where her journey takes her, Bleu’s parents say they will always be proud of their daughter.
“More than anything, we are thrilled to see her live out her dream and she’ll always have our support, 110 percent,” Wendy says. “She’ll always be a star to us.
“She’ll always be our shining star.”