Written by Sophie Wyatt
Born and raised in East London, singer-songwriter Amber-Simone dove head first into the music scene back in 2015. Since jumping in to the industry, Amber’s music has taken her on a journey and as a result has reflected so many elements of her life. Working with artists such as Shy Luv, Joe Hertz and Franc Moody, Amber has built quite the musical repertoire. But she now back with her brand new, partly self-produced EP ‘Black, No Sugar‘. We got the chance to catch up with the flourishing musician to discuss not only this, but also her track ‘Potential‘, and her ‘snapshot’ like tracks.
Looking back over her life, both physically and musically, Amber recalled some of the first memories she has of music. She explained that both her parents guided her into her first loves for music. Whether that be disco, house or garage.
‘I think my first memories of music from growing up would be my mum and her singing funky house in the car. And my dad had a set up in our flat in Leytonstone. We had this tiny little flat and there was my mum, dad, brother, sister and me. We used to have people round all the time, even the day my sister was born my mum came home from the hospital and there was a full house of people. No rest for the woman who’d just given birth,’ she laughed. ‘So my dad had this hi-fi system in our little flat and turntables and was always playing records.‘
We then started talking about one of her most popular tracks ‘Strawberry Kisses‘ from 2018. Amber explained that while she looks back on that project fondly, her development both as a woman and a musician up to now has progressed her artistic thinking. Since then she has experienced more of the world and believes that is reflected in her latest work.
‘Yeah that feels like so long ago. It feels like a different me actually. It got me on the map as well, because it’s definitely my most streamed song as well, so it definitely set the tone for people to start listening which was cool. I’m only 25 now so during that point I was probably just in my twenties. I suppose a lot of writing material comes from experience, and you don’t necessarily go through that much in terms of life. So I feel like the place that I was at was more about enjoying going out and being in the early stages of love and everything being new and fresh. The freedoms of being in your early twenties.
Whereas there’s been a whole period since then when I joined Frank Moody and toured the world with them. Then I was in a really long term relationship and went through the general trials and tribulations of life. You learn a lot about yourself and you kind of start developing ideas about the world. This new project has definitely come from a much more grounded place. I think I have the space to be honest about my emotions because I have felt a lot more. Especially from this project, speaking from a truer place allows me to feel more connected to the songs. So there’s a level of detachment I now feel to older music because there are ones I felt were less true to my own experiences.‘
We then started to speak about genre. As Amber had already explained, her music has come a long way. And to confine her craft to just one genre or label would seem entirely counterintuitive. So we asked her to explain what her music means to her and how she would sum it up outside of the confines of ‘genre’.
‘I try and just write what I’m feeling. So if I’m playing something, I usually start the writing process while playing. I just sit and fiddle with notes until something resonates with how I’m feeling in that moment. In a way I suppose it’s my own honest storytelling. I like to think of my music as snapshots, like taking polaroids when you’re out with your mates because it’s an immediate way to remember that moment. I like to think of music to be quite symbolic of where I’m at at that moment in time.‘
Earlier this winter, Amber released her latest EP ‘Black, No Sugar‘. We wanted to get into the story behind one of the tracks on the EP, ‘Potential‘. The song takes an emotional stance from within Amber’s thought process about a relationship. She went on to explain a bit more about the story behind the song, and the process behind creating the short film that accompanies the EP.
‘I wrote that in my bedroom, in my little flat in lockdown. I had been with my boyfriend at the time for 5/6 years and we moved in together in lockdown. It just kind of went a bit mad, and I watched this person that I really loved and cared about struggle through that time. I’d always had so much potential in his beliefs and his capability to be happy and grappling with the fact that even though you really believe in someone, and all you want is for them to be happy they have to figure that out on their own. Maybe they’ll never realise what you think they might be. So I had to think do I love you, or do I love what you potentially could be. It’s a conversation with myself.
At first I’d spoken to a few directors and made some mood boards but nothing was really hitting. I don’t think anyone connected to what the song had meant for me, people were taking it too literally. I tried to come away from what the song meant conceptually and figure out the foundations of it. I wanted the whole project to feel like a heartbeat, like an experience that you stepped into to understand me. So then I connected with Sophie Jones, she immediately got it. We created this little world. I wanted to establish what Amber-Simone represents as well, because I’ve had some growth period. It’s quite representative of me stepping into my womanhood.’
Finally we got on to the topic of the future. Amber explained that aside from her upcoming show on 30th November at Peckham Audio, she has got a lot of exciting plans up her sleeve. More plans, mean more music, mean more shows. So we can’t wait!
‘I’ve got the live show on the 30th November, and the full EP is now out. ‘Potential‘ I produced on my own and that was quite an empowering moment, and then my friend helped me finish that up and got some strings played on it. The projects been a real collaborative thing and tapping into our community that we’ve built. Getting horn players and string players from our tight knit fam. But other things to look forward to, I’m just gonna keep the music coming really, and hopefully more live shows next year.‘