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From Writer to Roc Nation Signee: Ambré Finally Puts Herself At The Forefront Of R&B [Interview]

New Orleans hailing Ambre’s soulful R’n’B is hinged on a love for her hometown and the people that contribute to the city’s higher vibration. The arrival of the songstress's debut EP 3000° is all the evidence we need. Having adapted the title to emulate New Orleans rap heavy-weight Juvenile’s groundbreaking studio album 400 Degreez, with this body of work Ambré is paying homage to her creative legacy, whilst simultaneously putting her stamp on the global scene in a big way. Thus, New Wave caught up with the burgeoning superstar from across the pond to discuss her journey in music so far, her organic approach to collaboration, how she’s pushing the visual boundaries of her creative repertoire, and of course, the deeply sentimental messaging behind this next musical chapter.

New Wave: Tell us about your background and what it was like growing up in New Orleans? Is there anything nostalgic about the city that comes through in your music?


Ambré: I could write a book about all the nuances that make New Orleans what it is. I think now that I don’t live there I feel more nostalgic about it, and that comes through in my music. It’s the starting part of my whole identity, where I fell in love with music, where I felt my first heartbreak. All of that naturally comes out in my music and subconsciously informs every decision that I make.


How did it feel to get signed by Roc Nation after grinding for many years beforehand? Did you have any moments of self-doubt in the years you spent as an ‘underground’ and ‘rising’ artist? Tell us about your personal journey towards music.


I’ve had many days where I told myself I was done with music. I just don’t think it’s my choice anymore [laughs]. It’s something I was born to do. When you first get into this industry it’s tough because all you want to do is prove yourself and get people to see what you see. I know now that “proving yourself” in the music industry never really ends because of the way people consume art. It’s a constant fight for notoriety and relevancy. I’ve heard people say, “You’re only as good as your last work” which is bullshit. You’re as good as you believe you are and one month, day, or year doesn’t take away from what you gave to the world. I realized that the only way to keep you is to do it for a different reason. I’m no longer trying to prove myself, I'm simply doing what I came here to do. The ones who get it, get it.


What sort of musicians would you say helped mold the sort of music you make today? You’ve worked with Jay Electronica, Isaiah Rashad and Thundercat in the past. Were you able to learn anything new about your own musicality in the process of working with them?


I’d say every musician I've met or heard helped mold me. I’m constantly learning. Even if it’s something I don’t like, I try to find something to learn from it. Jay Electronica is a legend, and to be honest I was shocked getting the chance to work with him. He’s so humble and also, one of the most bright-spirited people I've met. Thundercat too. He’s a beast. Zay, I haven’t worked with in person yet but he’s one of my favourite artists. All of them teach me through their own doing, to remain humble and continue to learn, work with, and support new artists.

Photography by Laiken Joy

Your new EP 3000° goes crazy! Tell us about the meaning behind the title and why you felt compelled to write it.


Thank you! Well, this EP is a love letter; an ode if you will to New Orleans, my family and to the legends who came before me. The title specifically, is a play on Juvenile’s album 400 Degreez. I really wanted to make something that was showing people where I come from and to honor that. I wanted to make something the city would be proud of.


That warm wholesomeness definitely comes through! Outside of creating a record in homage to your hometown, are there any other essential takeaways that you wanted your listeners to catch on too?

I think there’s one overall message which is love; at the end of that day, that’s what it all comes down to.


You’ve collaborated with BEAM, Jvck James & Destin Conrad on 3000°? How did you go about picking people to work with for the project?


All of my collaborations happen really organically. Destin is my best friend, we’re literally always together, so he was going to end up on something regardless [laughs]. BEAM is someone I've known since I was like nineteen, so we have great chemistry in the studio. I like to have that same kind of energy with every song. I just work with people I like and that like me. When it comes to Jvck, he’s an amazing artist and we’ve been friends for a little while. For 'I’m Baby' I knew I wanted a male voice on this song and immediately thought of him. I sent it to him through text. When he sent it back to me, he exceeded everything I even imagined.

The video for 'I’m Baby' is stunning; it also showcases your artistic side! How important are aesthetics to you? Do you think about how you’ll convey your songs visually during the recording process at all? Or do you think about visuals after the recording process is wrapped up?


Thanks! Shoutout to the director Child. Visuals are everything to me. I even write songs sometimes based on what I'm looking at. These are all senses that help tell a story. The more of them you engage with, the better and easier it is to tell the story. Imagine watching a movie with no sound. It can still be cool, but it's much better with it. I think music is the same.


That’s true! Lastly, what’s next for Ambré? Do you have any shows coming up, will you be traveling with this record, or are you heading back into the studio straight away?


I’m always in the studio, but I definitely have shows coming up. I’m performing at Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn, and I'm sure more shows are coming too.


Stream Ambré's debut EP 3000° right here!






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