Playing bass in her first band at just 13 years old, Abby Kurtz says she never imagined herself as a singer. But sometimes, the natural order leaves one no choice.
As the only female in a band full of puberty-stricken boys, Kurtz found herself stepping up to the mic out of the pure desire to keep things moving.
“In my first band when I was 13, all of the boys in the band took turns singing,” she recalls. “When their voices started changing, I would get so frustrated because we would have to drop songs and pick new ones because they could no longer sing them. That’s when I decided I was going to take on the role of lead singer.”
That was only three years ago, and since then, Kurtz has become a force in and of herself. She took naturally to singing, and says she loves it now as the front woman for the hard-rocking band Abby K, but bass is still her specialty. In 2018, the teenager was one of just 80 people to be accepted out of 1,500 applicants to GRAMMY Camp at the University of Southern California. Of those 80, Kurtz was one of only three bassists.
The experience taught her more about songwriting, so instead of covering hard rock classics, she’s since been expressing herself with her own music.
Later in 2018, Kurtz went on to open for Nita Strauss, the guitarist known for her work with The Iron Maidens and as a touring guitarist with Alice Cooper. She kept in touch with Strauss, and opened for the guitarist a second time at Amos’ Southend in May.
Around the end of August, Abby K will release their first single, “It Should Have Been Me,” through Sony/Orchard. The song is an emotional one, as the title implies, but it’s not about what most people think it’s about, she says.
“While most would think it’s about a boy, it’s actually written about an opportunity that I didn’t get,” Kurtz says. “I auditioned for a band about a year ago and it was very clear that I was their best option, but they still didn’t invite me to join. Maybe it was because I was so young or because I didn’t have enough experience at the time. Whatever it was, it hurt. I got so mad. I went home, sat in my bedroom and through my tears, ‘It Should Have Been Me’ was born.”
Hopefully, that band is paying attention. If they are, they’ll have their own regrets to write a song about soon enough.