When you first see Abigail Stahlschmidt, whether in the pages of a magazine, an ad online, or performing in concert, you recognize immediately that she is pretty and talented. However, the true beauty in this young woman is that she is smart, fun, and truly cares about other people.
When Abby and her sister were young, their parents wanted to make sure they played musical instruments, so Gabrielle took piano lessons and Abby started playing the violin when she was only four years old.
“My sister and I had a natural talent for music. We were in theatre productions, and being on stage, being in orchestra and choir, really got me in front of people performing, so it just became much more natural.”
Around the age of fourteen, Abby shifted from playing violin in an orchestra to playing with a worship band, which gave her the opportunity to learn music other than classical, and the opportunity for her to add the violin to various genres of music. “It was like a total different world had been opened up for me. Rather than having the sheet music in front of me, I was able to think about ‘what do I like, what would I like to contribute to this?’”
Abby’s ability to improv on the violin opened doors to her, allowing her to play with bands from various genres, and also lead her to the realization that what she really wanted was to come up with her own music, write her own songs, and have musicians back her up. “I love playing with other people. I will always love collaborating and will continue to do that, but being able to write and perform original songs and have your own identity and your own voice as an artist is even more special.”
When Abby was thirteen, she was discovered by photographer Lance Tilford who recommended her to a local modeling agency. Because of her performance background, Abby found that modeling came naturally for her. She is now signed with five other agencies across the country. “I think having been on stage so much, it was like ‘oh, this is not weird for me to have a camera right in front of my face’.”
Abby works with modeling agencies across country and travels all over the U.S. modeling for department stores, designers, corporations, and magazines; has been featured in many runway fashion shows and TV commercials; has graced the covers of magazines and appeared in numerous fashion spreads. She is currently the face of Mary Kay’s perfume “Clever” throughout all of South America.
“I love being on set shooting for a particular campaign. It’s exciting when so many people are coming together to create the finished product. On those kinds of shoots the photographers, models, hair and makeup artists are from all over the world. It’s just mind-blowing being able to experience that much culture!
“A successful shoot really does come down to the people. Whenever you get to meet people who are passionate about what they do, and invested and willing to do what it takes to make a project come together, that’s when it’s the most fun.”
In addition to modeling, Abby has acted in short films and various projects for local filmmakers. She had a cameo in the feature film “Four Color Eulogy” (Pirate Pictures/Archlight Studios), which features a couple of her songs on the soundtrack.
In February, Abby once again teamed up with the award-winning team at Pirate Pictures to create a music video for her song “Turntable”. The video and the song were released in May on iTunes, Spotify, and social media outlets. “Turntable” is also in regular rotation on radio station KFAV 99.9 FM. Abigail was honored to have the music video premiere July 16th on the big screen at the Tivoli Theater as part of the St. Louis Filmmaker’s Showcase. In addition, the video is now playing on The Country Network (TCN).
“ ‘Turntable’ was the first real project where I was able to come out with new music, my own music. The visual aspect of the music is really important too. We’re already talking about ideas for the next music video.”
Abby also released a violin cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain” which features her on an electric violin called the “Viper”. The video reached over a half million views online within a couple of months, and she is now endorsed on the “Viper” by Mark Wood of Wood Violins.
All of this has lead Abby to Nashville where she is pulling together a team to help her build the music side of her career. She is currently putting together her band. “Having those core people, those core instruments that define your sound is really important as an artist.”
Musically, Abby’s style has varied throughout the years. “I have been a lot of places as far as style, which I guess really contributes to who I am now as an artist. I started out in classical music, but I have also always loved fiddling, and when I hear a song that has a cool fiddle solo in it, I get really excited!
“I still love so many aspects of other music styles. I love some of the rock elements of the Tran-Siberian Orchestra Tribute stuff that I have done, and I want to be able to pull together elements of that and bring it into a country show. I wouldn’t necessarily be “down-home” country because I didn’t grow up on grits and gravy, but at the same time I do love the organic instruments – I love mandolin, I love slide guitar, I love fiddle (obviously), and I love the storytelling aspect of country music.
“It’s about finding that specific sound that is ‘you’ – maybe it’s defined by some of the instruments you have in your band, as well as the sound of your voice. The fiddle playing, too, which I want to be a real defining factor to my music.”
Throughout all of her experiences, Abby has realized that she wants to use her talents for more than just playing shows and making money.
“I want it to have more of a purpose than just performing. I want to have a specific organization that I help fund, and for me something that is very important is not only raising awareness of human trafficking, but also helping the young girls and guys that have been affected by that, and helping young women who have been in abusive relationships – helping them get out of that, helping them get back on their feet again, and helping them to realize that there is better out there for them.
“I realize that with everything I’ve been given comes a responsibility to give back. I want to be more than an artist. I want to be a voice for inspiration and change…even just through the way I live. I truly believe ‘to whom much is given much is required’. With all the negativity in the world, I hope to be a positive role model, and an artist that parent’s don’t have to worry about their kids listening to.”
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