A popular purple dinosaur, known to parents and children alike as Barney, became the catalyst for setting Abbey Cone on course to releasing her second of two CDs in the next month.
“I would sing to cartoons,” Abbey said from the living room of her Argyle home. Her mother, Melissa Cone, chimes in: “She knew every Barney song.”
Listening to Abbey sing the little ditties on key, memorizing every word, her mother realized she had a songstress in the family.
At age six, she started piano lessons and, shortly thereafter, vocal lessons. By age 9, she was taking guitar lessons and singing onstage at the Grapevine Opry House. That first song was Martina McBride’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
By age 12, she was penning lyrics to create her own country songs and traveling to Nashville – the nexus of country and western music – to make connections. She even took band in school, where she learned to play the alto/tenor saxophone.
The youngest of four, Abbey would sing at rodeo arenas where her siblings were performing. To this day, she’s still a bit horse shy. “I am deathly afraid of horses … I will not get on one,” she writes in her online blog. “I had to find my place in the arena and it was singing the national anthem.”
It all just came naturally to the now 16-year-old Argyle teen – singing, songwriting, playing instruments, appearing on stage.
“I knew what I loved,” Abbey said, gently strumming a guitar as she sat on a nearby sofa.
Now, as her first song hits radio stations across the Texas market and her second CD in three years is almost out, Abbey is finding her foothold in a competitive market with her soulful sound.
“He’s my pecan pie, I’m his sweet ice cream.
He’s my clear blue sky, I’m his everything.
I’m a lucky girl in his loving arms and he’s my Southern Charm.”
The lyrics to her songs are catchy at times and old soul at others but her voice adds an unexpected depth to every song.
A fan of Taylor Swift – known for her clever, quick ditties that have made her into a household name – Abbey is more the soulful, bluesy country singer.
On “Dirt,” which opens with a heavy violin influence, is cleverly written with deeper meaning intertwined with light and airy.
“It comes on everyone’s feet; it get in corners where brooms can’t sweep … Grass grows on the bones of the truth. If you’re gonna get to heaven, you’ve got to get a little dirt on you.”
Being part of the music industry has been a learning curve for both Abbey and her mother, who also serves as her daughter’s manager. “The music industry has changed so much,” she said, adding the days of being discovered are gone. In today’s technologically-advanced world, up-and-coming music stars need to build their own audiences through social media, websites, YouTube videos and more to get the attention of the established music industry.
“They have to build their own base,” Melissa Cone said.
Recognizing the strength of her talents, Abbey’s parents built their daughter a studio on the property where she can be found regularly practicing and perfecting her skills.
Her CD, Abbey Cone Collage, features three songs she penned with other songwriters including “Just Like This,” “Southern Charm,” and “I’ll Be Your Someone.”
In her spare time between performances, studio work and homeschool lessons, Abbey carves out time to go to Cook Children’s Hospital where she sings to the children.
“Life ain’t perfect; can’t have a rainbow without rain; shade ain’t such a bad place to be; who says concrete isn’t a place for a rose.”
Her visits to the children’s hospital brings the family full circle. It is that hospital where Abbey’s older sister was a preemie undergoing numerous surgeries. Abbey began volunteering last summer. As part of a drum circle, a little 5-year-old girl crawled into Abbey’s lap – from that moment on, Abbey knew she wanted to give something back. And so she did.
Abbey will be performing several upcoming shows including the Larry Joe Taylor Music Festival in Stephenville on April 24 and, in keeping with her dedication to giving back, the Cook Children’s Hospital Alumni Private Party on April 30. In May, she’s slated to be on stage for the Main Street Days in Grapevine, the Palace Arts Center in June and the Midland County Fair in August. In February, she and her sister, Darby, performed at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo – one atop a horse and one on stage.
For those seeking a glimpse into her music portfolio, visit http://www.abbeycone.com/ for a few of her latest songs. The new CD will feature 15 songs, offering three additional free songs with the usual 12.
Others can visit her website to read her blog, updated with a behind-the-scenes glimpse at performing on stage to sharing the family’s pumpkin pie recipe – a tasty generational heirloom.
She’s easy to find on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube – just type in her full name – Abbey Cone – and it’ll take you straight to a smorgasbord of songs, photos, videos and more.
Regardless of what the future brings, Abbey’s doing what she loves and what she believes she was meant to do.
“It’s me paired along with God’s plan,” she said. “It’s a God thing.”
Her mother agrees: “I think God has opened the doors…She’s been very dedicated and driven.”