Abhi The Nomad: The American Alien Tour
Harrison Sands, Matt McGhee
2477 18th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20009
Doors 11:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Abhi The Nomad
The human experience is marked by a seemingly futile desire to exert control over a world that is almost entirely out of our hands. This is amplified even more when we’re kids, at the mercy of our parents’ decisions.
Ever since he was born, Abhi has had to pack up and move against his will, necessitating “The Nomad” modifier that adorns his name. Because of his dad’s job, his family moved 8 different times in 18 years before he finally achieved enough autonomy during his college years to settle down in Thousand Oaks, California. A list of the places Abhi’s lived reads like a travel blog’s wet dream: Madras, India to Beijing to Hong Kong to New Delhi back to Beijing back to New Delhi to the Fiji Islands to New Delhi again before arriving in Thousand Oaks, California. Throughout all his travels, he kept a certain set of songs with him, becoming the skeleton for his soon-to-be-released “Marbled”.
Thanks to a Student Visa at Cal Lutheran University, Abhi finally felt like he had a place to call home. He met his now-girlfriend (Sarah) there, lived an hour out from the entertainment capital of the world in LA, and even got a job at a recording studio to hold him down while he was building his online following as an artist with popular songs like “Floors” and “Underdog”. He continued adding songs to “Marbled”, incessantly tweaking and fine tuning his existing selection.
Yet Abhi was reminded of how much we lack true agency over our lives when, despite all that Abhi had built in Thousand Oaks, he was forced out of the country because of immigration laws. The way the Student Visa worked, it was stipulated that to stay in the country, Abhi needed to graduate Cal Lutheran, find a job in his field of study (which he did), and only then would he be able to enter a lottery that would determine whether he could stay in the U.S. Unfortunately, he lost the lottery, and was abruptly shipped to India.
By this time, Abhi was buzzing enough on Spotify to make enough to live in Lille, France. It was here that he signed to iconic record label Tommy Boy Entertainment (Ghostface Killah and Method Man) and started gearing up for his first ever album release. After a co-sign from Ebro Darden on Beats 1 Radio, as well as a spot on one of Tyler Oakley’s playlists, his music life was thriving, however, his social life was not. Of his experience in France, he said, “I had just moved away from my girlfriend and my friends, and my full-time position had to push me out. It was shitty. My girlfriend was pretty much the only person I talked to.”
He desperately tried to find a way back into the country and wrestle back some semblance of the freedom America was built on, and through another Student Visa, this time for grad school, he’s been able to arrange living with his girlfriend in Austin, Texas. But this is just a stop-gap solution, another chapter in the travel book of a man who’s never wanted to move in the first place. He still has to play the same lottery he’s likely to lose. Now, his best bet to stay in the country is a Talent Visa, notoriously hard to get for even successful creatives. Immigration lawyers say you need a prestigious award (like a Nobel Prize or a Grammy) and a major publication cover story to even have a case.
Thus, this set of songs is more than just a debut album. Marbled is the culmination of a long road spanning more than 10 cities, 8 states, and 4 countries. It’s the only person, place, or thing he could rely on, the only friend he had with him at every stop. And it represents his best chance to achieve the elusive stability he’s been longing for – that we all long for – ever since he was kid from Madras, India.
He makes good sounds