A Sonic Conceptualist Performing Artist and Composer, Activist and Scholar, Abby Dobson is Artist-in-Residence with the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) co-founded and led by noted legal scholar and activist, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. Abby Dobson has performed at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Apollo Theater, Blue Note Jazz Club, Joe's Pub, Queens Museum, New Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Hammer Museum, S.O.B.’s, Park Avenue Armory and The Tonight Show.
Dobson’s sound is the alchemy of R&B/Soul, jazz, classic pop, classical, gospel, blues and folk, forging a gem that erases musical boundaries. Her debut CD, "Sleeping Beauty: You Are the One You Have Been Waiting On” was released to rave reviews. Featured on Talib Kweli’s album “Gravitas” on “State of Grace”, Dobson was nominated for a 2014 BET Hip Hop Award for Best Impact Song. Dobson has also lent backing vocals to artists ranging from John Legend to Talib Kweli. Accompanied by her band or acoustic ensemble, Dobson has opened concerts for Gregory Porter, Ledisi, Rahsaan Patterson, Floetry, Kindred, Eric Roberson and Leela James. Dobson performs with Burnt Sugar: The Arkestra Chamber, a 20-plus member ensemble known for improvisatory orchestral performances that combine all manner of vocal, instrumental and electronic music, led by founder and conductor Greg Tate. Dobson is also a member of the Resistance Revival Chorus (RRC), born out of the Women’s March. RRC’s debut album, "This Joy," is scheduled to be released in October 2020 on Righteous Babe records and will include Dobson's song #SayHerName, which was inspired by The African American Policy Forum’s #SayHerName campaign. Dobson also recently founded the Freedom Now Sonic Ensemble, an acapella vocal ensemble.
Dobson was a 2017 Create Change Fellow with The Laundromat Project and performs with Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter. Recently, Dobson was commissioned by The Laundromat Project in conjunction with Park Avenue Armory’s Symposium: Culture in a Changing America and launch of 100 Years | 100 Women, an initiative celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage in the U.S. Dobson is developing this commissioned work, a multi-media performance piece entitled “Sister Outsider: A Remembering and Declaration of These Self Evident Truths … We Be Black, We Be Woman, We Be Human”.
Dobson currently serves as President of the National Organization for Women-New York City Chapter (NOW-NYC) and is an Advisory Board Member of The Other Side, a theater-based global drama exchange program for girls. As a teaching artist, Dobson develops and/or facilitates arts-based workshops for victims of sex trafficking, activists, artists, and formerly incarcerated Black women and girls. Dobson is committed to shining her artistic light – having volunteered in service of countless programs, including Upward Bound, The Brotherhood SisterSol, Bronx Community College and The Lower Eastside Girl’s Club, to name a few.
Dobson received a Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor’s degree from Williams College in Political Science and History, before accepting her artists’ calling. Passionate about using music as a tool for empathy cultivation, Dobson creates music to inspire audiences to engage in action to promote transformative social change. Abby Dobson’s hope is to move and inspire you to feel deeply through the power of music. She credits her lived experiences as a performing, recording and touring artist with sparking a deep interest in scholarship that speaks to the experiences of Black female artists as culture workers and knowledge producers.
Currently a M.A. candidate in Political Science at the Graduate Center-CUNY, Dobson is an independent scholar whose research interests focus primarily on Black feminist political thought and praxis; the connection between art and politics; and the intersections of race, gender and class in the imagination, consumption, production, promotion and distribution of music and the impact of those intersections on citizenship. Dobson’s essay “From Baldwin to Beyoncé: Exploring the Responsibility of the Artist in Society--- Re-envisioning the Black Female Sonic Artist as Citizen” appears in African American Arts: Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity (The Griot Project Book Series), published by Rutgers University Press in December 2019. Abby Dobson is also currently working on “Sister Outsider: A (Re)membering,” an album slated for release in September 2021.
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