Abbie Cotto ready for first full local show



Hip-hop and R&B artist Abbie Cotto has been making music for about eight years now – performing in New York City, New Hampshire and Connecticut, creating a loyal following. But June 19 will be his first full performance in Worcester, his hometown.

“I never touched my home port,” said Cotto. “Not sure why.” However, with the rallies and in-person events returning, Cotto says now is the perfect time. “It’s a way to come back to reality,” he said, after what seems like a year of hiatus for many people. Plans have been underway since early May, he said, when rumors started to spread that COVID-19 restrictions were to be lifted.

Currently, the show – sponsored by Jamn 94.5 – is scheduled for 9 p.m. on June 19 at The Bridge, 300 Southbridge St., Worcester. Cotto will have a 30-minute set at 11:30 am as the main act, with DJ Kid Kash. DJ 4eign will hold the main event.

Cotto said he started making music in earnest as a career at age 22 with hip-hop. He expanded into R&B with the help of a mentor who encouraged him to start singing. “He saw something in me,” said Cotto, who then began vocal training. “I like to keep an open mind, try different genres and challenge myself,” he said. Although he still raps, he fell in love with R&B. “Many people forget that you have to have an ear to [R&B]”said Cotto,” to pick up the melody and the rhythm. So I started training my ears too. Cotto’s work has been praised for the crossover between melody and rhythm – something that certainly could only be achieved with trained ears.

His music brought him to the attention of lifelong Worcester resident Manny Alvarado. Once Alvarado started at Unity Radio, he invited Cotto for an interview on “508 Live” last year. “I wanted to draw attention to his talent and his star quality,” said Alvarado. Cotto’s songs focus on self-reflection, he said, learning to love yourself and put yourself first. It is about not taking opponents to heart. Alvarado’s favorite song is “Rose in a Wildfire”, which he connects with personally. “It has a Ja Rule and Ashanti type vibe,” he said, describing what some have called the versatility of Cotto’s style.

It was not only Cotto’s music that appealed to Alvarado, but also their shared vision of their community. “We are both tired of our young people killing each other and going to jail,” Alvarado said. He went on to say that despite his status as a rising star, Cotto hasn’t lost touch with his base and can be found at almost every major community event. “If he’s not playing, he’s backing,” Alvarado said, citing his presence at the BLM wall rally, the George Floyd Rally and his performance on the Save the Bridge initiative. Cotto will also be at a back-to-school neighborhood party for the bridge.

beART is the brand name of Cotto's merchandise, celebrating what we love about art.

Cotto is also a fashion designer and has launched his own clothing line, beART. “The idea behind the clothing line is to do what you love as an art… I try to grow up and have fun at the same time,” he said.

Describing the line, Alvarado recalls a time when “all we had was the clothes on our backs and the feelings in our guts”. The way showbiz people dressed became an important part of maintaining this authentic image of the “everyday urban person”. In projecting this image, Cotto’s clothing brand follows similar themes to its music, a celebration of following your passion.

But Alvarado says Cotto always retains a personal touch: “He delivers his stuff, man.”



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