Platinum recording artist, songwriter and producer Gregory Abbott's roots stem from Venezuela (his mother) and the Island of Antigua (his father). Raised in Harlem in New York City, he is a dual citizen of the USA and Antigua.
In college he majored in psychology and minored in music and dramatic arts. He holds a Masters degree and is currently working towards his Ph.D; he was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship to Stanford University's Creative writing Masters program.
Abbott released the single and album "Shake You Down," shaking up the music industry with countless honors and awards.
"Shake You Down" has the distinction of reaching one milliion radio airplays faster than any song in the history of BMI (now well over three million), and won BMI's Pop Song of the Year award as the most performed song. Gregory has also won two 'Soul Train" music awards for Best Male Singer and Best New Artist, He has been the star of the New York Music Awards, receiving four honors: Best R&B Album, Best Debut Album, Best R&B Vocalist, and the Rising Star Award. He has walked away with two awards at Dick Clark's "Black Gold" ceremonies, another honor from the R&B Awards in Las Vegas, a N.Y.Image award, and two awards from the annual CEBA Awards dinner (Communications Excellence Aimed at Black Audiences).
He's had numerous top five hits both performed by himself as well as produced and written for other artists. Abbotts' music has crossed every barrier imaginable. You hear the Caribbean/Spanish influence in his music, topped off with his incredibly smooth, soulful voice.
Gregory Abbott coined the term "groove ballad" to describe what he does. Music writers have affectionately used the term "Wall Street Green Eyed Soul" to describe his sophisticated demeanor and intelligent green eyes that charm the women.
Abbott comes from a family of entertainers. His first cousin Diahnne Abbott was for many years married to actor Robert De Niro, and is herself an actor of merit. Gregory has guest starred on the daytime drama "All My Children" and is now delving more heavily into acting and film production.
Some of his community service work includes Rock Against Drugs (RAD), joining them when they brought their message to Washington, DC. He has also participated in the "Bands to Beat AIDS" campaign focused on AIDS awareness across the US.
Abbott has served on the Board of Directors of both NARAS (the Grammys), and the NAPM (Songwriters Hall of Fame). His own foundation supports aspiring musical talent.
How do you describe your music to people, Gregory?
Oh, that's a tough one. I guess the best answer is that my music is influenced by my heritage and what I listened to growing up in a musical family. So that would be- Caribbean rhythms, R&B structures, and a liberal use of harmony.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I began as a boy soprano at St. Patricks Cathedral in New York City. We did an album every year and a televised performance every Christmas. When my voice changed I had to leave the choir, but remained fascinated by how music was created and humbled by its power to influence people and their emotions. I began the process of learning the intricacies of every instrument and the part it played in creating the beauty of the overall piece.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Its a toss up between cruising in my boat and immersing myself in nature.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Keeping inspired and staying in tune with what people are experiencing so that I can reflect their desires, needs, etc.... in the songs I write. My quest is to write songs that are meaningful and insightful in our rapidly changing world.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I fully expected to be a Doctor, and in College I took a course of study towards this end.
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I would say that growing up in Harlem I saw struggle. I also saw the power of music as a soundtrack to help overcome obstacles and give people relief and inspiration.
What other artists out there do you love?
I love the instrument of Celine Dion, the raw soul of Michael McDonald, the intricate harmonies and technique of Take 6, the flexibility and adaptability of Herbie Hancock. These are just a few. I appreciate many.
What does your future hold?
I'm currently re-introducing my music via some singles to the public, and toward the end of the year I'll be releasing a full album on Spectra Records.
My intent is to expand my musical knowledge, incorporate various influences from other cultures; and to tap deeper into the human psyche so that I can affect people positively, break down barriers and highlight what we share in common rather than the differences that separate us.