“I started out as a producer and songwriter and decided to take center stage by performing my own music,” says Hershel Abram. “I’d describe it as alternative neo-soul pop. I write flirtatious, sexy, feel-good songs with a sophisticated twist.”
Abram’s debut, The Music Vein, was released in 2009, with the single “Rock Real Slow” earning airplay on local 98.9 FM. Abrams — whose father contracted colon and liver cancer — donates a quarter of all his digital-download income to cancer research.
“The best local gig we ever had was headlining on Father’s Day last year at the House of Blues, because I was able to dedicate that show to my father, who wasn’t expected to live by the time the show took place. All the proceeds went to the nonprofit organization Fight Cancer. Before my own time is up, I want to be a part of seeing people cured and no longer suffering. It not only affects the patient; it affects the whole family.
“By the way, my dad is still holding on, to this date.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1) Michael Jackson, Thriller. “This album was not only the greatest album in the world, but I felt Michael and Quincy Jones created timeless music that stands the test of time.”
2) Celine Dion, A New Day. “One of my favorites from her. The things that I respect most are her vocal styling, range, and stage performances.”
3) Stevie Wonder, Greatest Hits. “Growing up, Stevie Wonder was the reason I wanted to play piano. His music covers every emotional spectrum that you may be feeling, and in my eyes he’s simply a musical genius.”
4) Kings of Leon, Only by the Night. “When I first heard this band, I could immediately identify with some of their writing characteristics, and I instantly appreciated their singles.”
5) Anthony Hamilton, Comin’ From Where I’m From. “Listening to this, I felt his soul was spilling over each song with his Southern gospel undertones. He never did transform his style, but he broke through into the mainstream as is.”
6) James Morrison, Songs for You, Truths for Me. “This was a perfect follow-up to his freshman release Undiscovered. He poured his heart and thoughts into this huge storyline, and I enjoyed seeing what directions he took in the songs.”
WHAT’S ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
1) “Get a gig in Israel and perform in Jerusalem.”
2) “Travel around the world and spend four months in each country.”
3) “Ride on a train for the first time, and sit on the top of it for a few miles.”
4) “Play Kobe Bryant one-on-one.”
MOST OFFBEAT NONMUSIC GIG?
“A few years back, I used to contract services out as a personal bodyguard, due to my experience with martial arts and special weapons. I mainly worked for successful businessmen and women who had fortunes of up to a couple hundred million…. I was always presented with unique challenges, from handling a client not wanting to pay up at a private, exclusive gambling party to making sure my client was never seen publicly with secret companions. From private jets to penthouses, I was there delivering peace of mind.”
EVER HAD TO FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE?
“I’ve never come close to killing someone, but I have seriously delivered pain to individuals who find it fun to provoke people who can’t defend themselves. Through my experience as a bodyguard, I was taught to defuse potential problems instead of staying in attack mode.”
BEST THING YOU EVER HAD TO LET GO?
“A childhood dog that was purchased for me by my older sister without my parents’ permission. Since my parents weren’t big fans of animals as pets, they made me give it to one of their friends. I guess my vote didn’t count.”
WHO SHOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
“Jamie Foxx. He did a great job as Ray Charles, and in my opinion he can musically pull off what I do onstage.”
BRUSH WITH FAME?
“I’ve hung out with Nick Cannon on the set of Wild ’n Out, and I’ve met Akon, Robin Thicke, Suge Knight, Wesley Snipes, and Shaq, just to name a few.”
BEST PARTY EVER?
“Last September I got invited to Motown’s 50th anniversary at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I sat down with Quincy Jones and talked music with him, which left me speechless because he has so many great stories. I also got a chance to meet the founder of Motown Records, Mr. Berry Gordy, and many others in the Motown family.”
PSYCHICS: REAL OR FAKE?
“I have to hand it to psychics for keeping the lights on in some of your most prominent beach communities, but frankly I think they’re all frauds whose only skill is having good insight into reading people.”
“When I was told my brother had been in a motorcycle accident, I was about eight years old and I was told he was in ICU. My parents and I thought I should wait and not visit him until he was feeling better. Little did we know, he wouldn’t get better, and two days later he died in the hospital from internal bleeding. What made it worse was that, during those two days, he had asked for me, so it’s something that has stayed with me.”
GOT ANY NICKNAMES?
“Hershey, like the candy. Since my father is also named Hershel, most my friends and family call me Hershey.”
HEARD ANY GOOD JOKES LATELY?
“‘I was in a restaurant yesterday when I realized I desperately needed to pass gas. The music was really loud, so I timed my farts with the beat of the music. After a couple of songs, I started to feel better. I finished my coffee and noticed that everybody was staring at me. Then I remembered that I was listening to my iPod.’”