Abraham Alexander’s Singular Journey

Patricia Lim/KUTX

Debut Album Sea/Sons Tells His Story

By Jeff McCord

Fort Worth’s Abraham Alexander has an inspiring yet brutal backstory. I expected the serious artist that I encountered, but he was also confident with an affable sense of humor, and brimming with excitement with what lies ahead. His debut album Sea/Sons came out in April. 

Sea / Sons

Alexander brought a large and accomplished band into Studio 1A, including several background vocalists who blended perfectly with his soulful leads. Yet in soundcheck, they were joking around so much that our engineer Jake  had to gently remind them that they were about to be live on air. No matter, the set came off beautifully, with crafted and intimate slow-burning renditions.

Abraham was born in Greece to Nigerian immigrants. Hoping to escape the poverty and systemic racism of their surroundings, the family immigrated to Arlington, TX when Abraham was 11. It was not smooth sailing. He did not speak any English, and was the only Black person in his class. Soon after arriving, his mother was killed by a drunk driver. His father was abusive, and he soon ended up in foster care. Yet now only 32 years old, he somehow overcame all these obstacles. 

With a debut album under his belt and a full summer of touring and festivals ahead, I wondered – did he ever imagine such a scenario? 

“I didn’t,” he admits, “but yet I did. I think as soon as I discovered music and I discovered the gate that it allowed me, I dove in. And the visions just started coming. You can’t show up here without some type of planning, without some type of vision and purpose. It wasn’t, I’m 11 years old and I’m going to be here with an album. It was never a conscious decision, but when I held that guitar for the first time, I knew this is it. I’m excited. Nervous. With all of this comes a whole new way, it’s a new weight that’s on your shoulders, but I’m trying not to think of that, just one foot in front of the other and experience. I’m playing Bonnaroo next week, which is something that I still watch on YouTube. I’m going to Europe opening up for The Lumineers this month as well. I’m living out this dream that 99.9% of people will never be able to do.”

Abraham’s song “Knee Deep” is a perfect metaphor for his journey, his immersion in a strange new world. Sea/Son’s cover depicts the family wading in the ocean just before leaving Greece, but the song makes clear that when his mother announced they were leaving for the US, he didn’t want to go. 

“I didn’t, I was reluctant for change. And who isn’t? It’s the only place that I’ve ever known. My folks were Nigerian descent. And so I’m wrestling with the Nigerian culture and I’m wrestling with the Greek culture. And now there was a third. Who am I? Who am I going to be? And yeah, it was hard. But then within me was the curiosity to rediscover myself, the curiosity for the unknown, what could possibly be new.”

Yet how, I wondered, did he ever manage to overcome all the hardships and tragedies he would face in his new country?

A long pause, then finally, “I don’t know. It’s faith for sure. Faith and the pursuit of purpose. I’m lucky, fortunate. I don’t know why I made it out. And so many people who were in the same predicament that I was couldn’t. That’s still something that I’m asking myself. But because I did make it out, then I feel like I’m obligated. I get to do this and in the message that I need to share, it has to be something of substance.”

At Forth Worth’s Texas Wesleyan University, Abraham was a gifted member of their soccer team before being sidelined with an injury. Music came to him in a roundabout way. 

“When I held the guitar for the first time, it was like someone had given me a pen. It was at first a foreign thing to me. I would meet people that would then lead me to other people and then lead me to other people. But it wasn’t for the accolades. It was never for what could potentially be. It was just to have a relationship with the guitar and have a relationship with writing poems or writing songs. That was the remedy. That was a formula.”

And another Fort Worth son took him under his wing.

“Leon Bridges, I was invited in the sessions of Coming Home and I was just trying to understand, and [saw] people working together for something bigger than themselves. That took root in me. That was so interesting. It was perplexing, yet simple. Simple because it was filled with love, which can be complicated, but also simple. [Leon] encouraged me to start doing open mics and see what could happen, and write some songs and keep those songs for myself. And that the catalyst for me, you know, going on that musical journey.” 

Bridges provided a catalyst, but success didn’t come overnight. There were lots of false starts and setbacks.

“You know, people telling me no and telling me that I’m trash. But every single ‘no’ leads you to a ‘yes’. I knew that this was for me. Some of the best advice I ever received was don’t have a plan B.”

The first song Abraham would write was “Heart of Gold” (released as a single in 2022). It set the mold for his future work; quiet, intense, autobiographical. In my mother’s eyes,” it begins, “I can feel the love / And from my father’s hands / A battle rages on my skin.”

Though Abraham claims  “it’s written in a simple way, like a child is writing just what they’re observing”, it does not sound like an artist’s typical stab at a first song. Where did this depth come from?

“I used to take my time being in college and in my writing. I loved British literature. I have this 200 page paper of Dorian Gray up on the shelf somewhere that I had to write.”


“Yeah, it was brutal. But I loved writing. It was something that I didn’t know how do before. I wanted songs with substance. It’s complex because there’s nothing on the album that I haven’t lived for myself. What’s hard about it is the vulnerability that’s within the songs and also trying to get the emotions out of me to jump out of the page. Anything of worth is going to be painful. The courage can only be present when there’s fear. Writing these songs was trying to find my demons and trying to find my vulnerability. And once I did that, they didn’t have as much power over me as they did when they were out there.”

Abraham’s music is working against type. In a loud and noisy world, where does he get the audacity to believe his soft-spoken intimacy can conquer the world?

“That’s an interesting question. I don’t. I think that I’ve conquered my vulnerabilities and I’ve conquered my insecurities. I think that everyone is trying to find out who they are and discover who they are and discover their purpose. It is the Iliad of who we are, and it’s the Iliad of humanity. This is what this record is, the journey and how every single season is intricate and intriguing, all to our growth and to the next. And trying to skip one is going to be detrimental to that journey and to that purpose and to that mission. So I think that people connect with that. And my mission is to tell the story. To this day, I don’t have any expectations. If someone hears it and connects, then we have a kindred spirit. And so we can take over the world together.” 



Set List:

“Déjà Vu”

“Tears Run Deep”

“Knee Deep”

Album: Sea/Sons (Dualtone Records)


Abraham Alexander – vocals; Jordache Grant – keys, bass; James “Slim” Dunn – drums; John Maestro – background vocals; Ayiam – background vocals; Taylor Nicks – background vocals


Producer: Deidre Gott; Production Assistant: Confucius Jones; Audio Engineer: Jake Perlman, Rene Chavez; Audio Mix: Rene Chavez; Cameras: Amaya Austin, Renee Dominguez; Patricia Lim; Edit: Renee Dominguez; Host: Laurie Gallardo

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