AJ Abdullah

At a time when the world – and its music - can sometimes seem to come with a razor’s edge, AJ Abdullah, a first-generation Texan by way of Pakistani parents, revels in making ukulele-infused pop that is, in his words, “soft, romantic, and healing.” That AJ himself has faced many of the society’s challenges for people of color is all part of the delightful paradox of an artist who hid his unconventional career dreams from his family for nearly his entire life, only to emerge with millions of Spotify streams for his addicting, endearing songs about love. A theater major at UT-Austin, AJ morphed away from performing to writing his junior year, a change cemented when his powerful self-produced play, “Land of Opportunity,” was nationally recognized. The prize spurred AJ to focus more intensely on songwriting, turning his poems into evermore charming lyrical outings and galvanizing an online following of 60,000 monthly listeners. With his new album, Sleepytime Tea, AJ continues to push his musicality forward, with hopes of opening and inspiring hearts everywhere.