Ben Abraham is an award-winning L.A.-based singer/songwriter from Melbourne, Australia. His 2014 self-released debut LP Sirens earned widespread critical praise, leading to a 2016 reissue via indie label Secretly Canadian. Featuring appearances from Sara Bareilles and Gotye, the album was hailed by the New York Times as “a debut of remarkable depth.” While Sirens catalyzed his career as an in-demand songwriter – co-writing tracks like Kesha’s double-platinum, Grammy Award-winning smash hit “Praying” – he also experienced the most tumultuous period of his life, including a serious breakup and ensuing crisis of faith. In the thick of all that upheaval, Abraham created his sophomore album, Friendly Fire, released in 2022 via Atlantic Records.
Friendly Fire, along with much of Ben’s other work, encompasses an entirely forward-thinking sound, fusing folk and soul and elegantly detailed art-pop with endless imagination. Abraham’s most ambitious work to date, the album also builds a powerful tension from its two-part structure: the first half presents a series of self-contained narratives conveying universal truths about life and love, while the second half finds Abraham looking inward to document his transformation over the last half-decade. Naming Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love as a major inspiration for that framework, Abraham embraced an unbridled freedom in creating the album’s back half, introducing an element of chaos into his eloquent songwriting and nuanced sound design. The result is a thrillingly unpredictable body of work, embedded with moments of kinetic frenzy and otherworldly beauty.
“Growing up in a very spiritual home, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of transfiguration: going from one state to another, more beautiful state,” says Abraham, whose parents are both pastors. “I feel like I went through my own transfiguration in the last few years, and these songs came from feeling like I was being set on fire—not to die, but to be reborn.”
A selection of songs that speak to the undeniable possibility for rebirth after incredible loss and pain, Friendly Fire reveals the extraordinary gift for songwriting that he’s honed for much of his life and spotlights the cinematic yet emotionally raw sensibilities he’s long showcased while penning songs for artists like Demi Lovato and The Chicks. In bringing the album to life, Abraham worked with producer James Flannigan (Dua Lipa, MARINA, Matt Maeson), engineer/producer Jason Agel (Bjork, John Legend), and mixer Michael Brauer (Coldplay, John Mayer), recording solely at LA’s legendary Barefoot Studios. With his earlier live experience including touring with country legend Emmylou Harris, and Grammy-, Tony-, and Emmy Award-winner Ben Platt, Ben most recently embarked on a headlining tour of the US and UK in 2022.
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