Ameriie talks vibrations, languages and the music business
New single What I Want now available to download
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GT sat down with Grammy Award nominated singer Ameriie and discussed, among other things, ghosts, the music business and vibrations. Ameriie's new single What I Want is now available to download and has already gained over 160,000 views on Youtube.
It's great to meet you! How are you finding it, being here in London?
I love London. Now I'm here and I'm excited. I love coming here, I love London because it's such an old city, I feel the sense of history here. We grew up reading about the different people in the history books, and you can kind of like put a place to all the situations, you know, when you're learning things in school, it's easy to feel like it never happened or actually has no relevance to your life, but then you're like, well this is the Tower of London. People were in here.
Ameriee has two albums coming out, Bili and Cymatika. What are they like?
Very different in sound. I love the 80s new wave and I kind of did that with Because I Love It in 2007, and so it's kind of an extension of that because it has those elements in there, but it's still a different sound, but there are elements, there are traces of that there. And Cymatika is a heavier, more dense sound, and really my approach was cinema, and so it's score. I was just thinking score, that's the feel of the music. It's just too different for the songs to have been on the same project, it would have been very weird, I think.
It's all about vibrations though, isn't it, Cymatika?
Yes. Cymatics is the study of vibrations, and the whole thing about it was just we see how you can put sand on a plate and change tones, the frequency, the sand will make a pattern. But the interesting thing is it'll change to another pattern when you change the frequency, but when you come back to the same frequency, it goes back to the same pattern. We're all matter, we're all resonating and all the energy that we put out there, whether it's thoughts, things that people tell us, they really affect us in a very deep way. So that's also why I wanted to also cover not only romantic relationships in Cymatika, but just things like what makes us human. Things that we go through outside of that, like living true to who we are and not suppressing ourselves and being honest with who we are, that kind of thing.
It sounds very deep.
Who inspires you?
Soul singers, not so much R&B but soul like from the soul era: Marvin Gaye. For instance, I was really inspired for What I Want with that whole Motown era, that whole feel, you can probably hear that in there. That inspired me a lot growing up, and it wasn't a conscious thing, but it was just the feel, and it creeps up. One of my influences, I think, would be jazz, which is a weird influence because I don't listen to jazz. I didn't grow up listening to jazz. But I heard people say that they could hear elements in there sometimes, not all the time, but when I do a little 'da-da-da' which I did earlier today, and I'm like, yeah, I don't know where that comes from. So I think sometimes we're influenced in utero or before we were born, but I think I draw from a lot of things.
Do you think you deserve more recognition?
People should know me! (laughs) Actually, I try not to go into that space, because we all wanna be appreciated, but I do understand that's from a very egocentric space. It's usually not a healthy, creative space. So of course you want people to share your stuff, you want everyone to love it, as many people on the planet to love what you're doing. But I can't really dwell on that. It's the best way of explaining. As the art of creation, you have to love it. That's why it's called Because I Love It, and that's why I do it: because I love it. You have to love and have passion about what you're doing, because once you get into the accolades and wanting to be recognised, I feel that that can taint what you're doing. I don't know, but I feel like it can, and I mean a lot of great artists actually had no recognition when they were alive, people just had no clue who they were, at all. Later you realise how genius they were. So you can't control it. You just make it, get it, and that's it.
We read an interview with Cher and she was saying it's now virtually impossible for people to break through. Do you think that's the case?
Someone asked me that before and I was like, on the one hand, there are so many artists. I remember growing up and as far as solo singers, I could think, there was Aaliyah, Brandy, Monica, and before that, Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. That's really it. When Britney was out: Britney and Christina Aguilera, that's it. It was literally like less than one hand. Now, there's a plethora of artists. I remember when people were like, well you have this video, and you want to make sure that people watch it on the Internet, that's cool, they'll watch it there too. Now, when someone's like did you see such-and-such's new video, that's the first time I see a video, on my phone usually, or my computer. So I almost feel like people have a better vehicle now for putting themselves out there. At the same time, it's become so crowded, how does a new artist stand out because there's like a gazillion.
What made you want to be a singer in the first place?
Yes, I am - my mom was just like, 'what? Singing? I thought that was just for fun?' I just always sang and it's something I've just always wanted to do and I wanted to pursue a career in music. I just felt like it was what I wanted to do and what I was supposed to do and what I needed to do, all of those things. But I recently started writing again, too, because I've been writing since I was very young too, and that's why my mom thought I would be a professor, lawyer, or writer, or all three of those things. I started writing and now I feel complete. I have my music and my fiction, which is great. It's just something that I felt I needed to do. To me, that's the best bit: creating songs. I used to create songs and I didn't have a studio, I just had a tape deck that had two decks, so I was just singing the song, put the other one on, record me singing to what I had just recorded, and keep switching decks. So I would stack harmonies and things like that. To me, the creating is the most fun part.
You've lived in A LOT of places. Does that effect your music?
Like living in different places, one thing I learned early on is that people are the same everywhere. I mean we do have our differences culturally, food and customs, but generally we all want the same things. We want to be happy, we love our families, we want to succeed in life, whatever that may mean. I remember sometimes hearing kids saying things like, I don't really like the kids at that school cos they're like this, or you heard about the kids in that neighbourhood, they're very fill in the blank, and I never fell into that. I grew up in so many places, I could see that actually we're kinda all the same everywhere. That was an important lesson to learn.
How many languages do you speak?
I'm not fluent in Korean. I can read and write fluently. It was my first language, but I forgot it. I can actually speak pretty well, a lot better than I think, the confidence level's not there. But I want to learn French as well. I think we need to just get one down first. Rosetta Stone is very cool though, I like that.
Do you have a very strong Korean fan base?
I do. I really have a lot of fans in Asia in general, they've been really great. If I go there, I really feel the love.
What would you say has been your biggest diva moment?
I'm really funny about my lighting. I think I made the lighting guy on set really mad one time. We were running out of time and he was like, we're gonna lose the light, and I was like, whatever happens, we're going to get the light right. This lighting is not right right now, but it'll be right at the end of the day. He was really annoyed. But I insisted on getting that right. I don't think that's a diva moment, I think that's just sense. I'm big on lighting. We have discussions about lighting before we do things. I think that's it.
Do you have a lot of gay fans?
I do. Very supportive base, which is really awesome. When I perform, it's great because it's not like everyone's just watching. They're very participatory and so I really get a lot of the energy and there's so much love. It's incredible.
You're performing at G-A-Y on 6 September. Have you performed there before?
Yeah. I like it, it was fun, it's like a big party. I love that the energy is there. It feels like you're performing at a party, it's not necessarily like a show where people are sitting down. I believe it was standing room only. But everyone was already hyped up.
Ameriie's single is out 28 September – more info on that can be found here.
Words: Conor Byrne
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