Mahalia Abéo Tibbs was born on Chicago’s South Side to a Parisian musician and a poet/activist from Missisippi.
Abéo (ah-bay-oh) named to “bring happiness”, began performing by kindergarten and continued her musical explorations through school bands, chamber, and gospel choirs.
An international multidisciplinary artist working at the cross-section of music, poetry, dance, theater and magic, she grew up choreographing, writing plays, and pop tunes, humming along to her mother’s bass lines.
With her influences ranging from Salif Keta and Miles Davis to Debussy and Alanis Morissette, she sings as a reflection of who she is: an amalgam of spirit, personal cathartic experience and the intent that her name requires. She studied under Oscar Brown Jr. and Katherine Dunham before continuing classical vocal coaching through high school. Mahalia attended Howard University, then honed her dance skills in Paris (via Wells College), later receiving her BA in Inner City Studies (Minor in Dance) from Northeastern Illinois (2013).
A singer/songwriter/composer, abéo released her first solo, self-recorded project in 2014. She moved to New Orleans later that year, where she has been featured in film (Last Looks), music videos (Nicholas Payton), and live theater.
Mahalia taught Afro-Modern movement in the school system before releasing another lo-fi EP (AltarDays) and transitioning to art making full-time. She’s opened for Georgia Ann Muldrow, toured ArtSpot’s Sea of Common Catastrophe (Atlanta/NYC), and graciously joined the touring cast of Vessels in 2017, to grace Philadelphia’s Annenburg Center this upcoming March. She was most recently seen in Andrew Ondrejcak’s Landscape with Figures at the Contemporary Arts Center here in New Orleans (January 2019) and is now working on a local production of Robert O’Hara’s Barbecue as well as a devised piece with BigEasy Award-winning theater company Goat in the Road. She is currently performing, releasing a self-published book of poetry and working on her first full solo album.
Mahalia Abéo ties her creative work to the dismantling of systemic oppression and is grateful.