Take Aim: ARTISTdirect.com's Amy Sciarretto Talks Apologies, Abbey Road and More With Abby Bernstein
Tue, 21 Jun 2011 09:22:29
Singer/songwriter Abby Bernstein, 23, was named after Abbey Road. You should know it -- it's a studio and an album by The Beatles. Her album I'm Not Sorry hones in on human beings and their chronic need to apologize. ARTISTdirect.com News Editor Amy Sciarretto engaged in a quick, informative chat with Bernstein about when not to say you're sorry and about her song, "Even Lovers Drown."
Why do we as humans feel the compelling need to apologize so much? Particularly, it's women. Women always apologize for their actions. I see all these articles and studies about women apologizing in the workplace whereas men, if they apologize at all, they immediately start a solution or blame it on something else. Women apologize more than men. I don't think there is any use in apologizing. Any experience I have had, positive or negative, has taught me about myself and that there is room to improve. Without that, there is no material for songs.
When is the time to never say you are sorry? Never say you're sorry if it goes against personal beliefs. If someone offends you personally. For example, I am advocate for women's and gay rights. Never apologize for positions you take on those issues. Do you have any non-music skills? Growing up in the country, in Western Massachusetts, I was a competitive equestrian. I had a horse growing up and can do jumper stuff. I love horses and went to school at Barnard, which is part of Columbia, to be in NYC and pursue music. I have not ridden in a long time, and would be horrible now, if I did.
You were named after Abbey Road. Did that put a ton of pressure on you to be a musician? Both are my parents are vets. It skipped a generation. Musically, my mom is tone deaf. My parents are huge Beatles fans and hippies.
Pick one song from I'm Not Sorry and put us there in the moment with you. "Even Lovers Drown." I was an English major in college and a huge book nerd and there is this poem by Yeats, which is all about a mermaid drowning her own lover after a difficult break up. Even as an English major, I loved fiction and nonfiction, but not poetry. Post-college, I read a ton of it, relating to things written centuries ago. It was a four-line poem about a mermaid falling in love with a mortal and drowning him. Sex and death are the most interesting topics to write about, so I crafted story based on this idea, even though it was inspired by a poem. There is a line later in the song that says, "No need for distant devotion / His home's at the bottom of the ocean." It came from poem and took on personal meaning.