Abi Ocia: Hammersmith artist on her rise, and why her roots remain vital

Filling out St Stephen’s Church in the early afternoon slot at Bushstock 2018, the powerful voice and searing instrumentation stand out amidst an impressive line-up.

Homegrown talent Abi Ocia took her place among an impressive array of artists for the multi-venue festival held in Shepherd’s Bush, ten minutes from where the 24-year-old grew up.

Having attended Every Nations Church from the age of eight, for Abi performing at such a venue came naturally.

She said: “I’ve been going since I was eight and started singing there and I feel very much at home in church.

“Church is a massive influence for me, I grew up listening to a lot of Christian folk.

“It’s a great genre. There are some massive bands and I think the atmosphere they give in services is a big thing for me.

“I want people to feel something, and I think worship music makes you feel something.

“Even if you don’t necessarily agree with something you still feel something from the music.

“Whether that’s lyrical or instrumentation, I can take something out of a lot of genres.”

Having spent her formative years in the surrounding neighbourhood, Abi is delighted to see the area booming culturally.

Indeed, Bushstock is a fitting homecoming for her, marking the first time she has performed under her own name in her hometown.

She said: “Initially I’d never have assumed an area like Shepherd’s Bush would house something like Bushstock, but the venues do lend itself to that culture of music.

“I think everywhere needs an injection of creativity to keep it alive.

“This area for sure will benefit from this festival. I hope people who live locally can come, you’ve got to make these things accessible.

“It’s all good having festivals that cost x amount but if local people can’t attend then why are we doing it. You have to make it accessible to all people on all accounts.”

While this was a successful return, it’s clear Abi will be soaring to greater heights soon, with a performance at Latitude Festival on July 15 next on the agenda.

And Abi admits it will mark another important milestone in her fledgling career.

She said: “I love the intimate stuff but I also love the chance to go on a big stage. I haven’t done anything like Latitude yet, so I’m really looking forward to that chance.

“It’s a milestone.

“You get so fixated on some things and lose sight of the big picture.

“Sometimes you can forget to self-reflect and realise these are blessings falling down on me.

“I do feel very, very blessed and I do hope it continues.

“There will be more music. There’ll always be more music.”

Having made her mark with tracks including ‘Running’ and ‘Konfyt’, Abi admits there is more music coming very soon.

Yet, at a time when streaming and downloads are more in demand than ever, the Bristol University graduate remains resolute in her desire to release something in physical form.

“There’s definitely more music coming soon. Whether it’s as an album or something else I don’t know yet.

“We are in a culture where streaming and online presence is important. I’m a fan of bodies of work, wehter an album or ep something that reflects you across a time period.

“It will be in a nice, collectible form.

“Album is a great word, let’s keep that word alive as long as you can.

“Nothing compares to it. I like narrative and to be taken on a journey I think you can only do that as an album or EP where you can take the time to digest it.”

Related Articles