After a five-year commercial hiatus, Grammy nominated R&B star Ameriie returned to UK shores for a four-date tour towards the end of March, and to mark her comeback, I caught up with the American singer-songwriter herself for an exclusive interview.
Ameriie, previously known as Amerie (the addition of a double ‘I’ made an appearance on her return), has racked up an impressive six UK Top 40 singles since her 2002 chart debut,Why Don’t We Fall In Love. In fact, it’s actually been ten years since the release of her biggest hit thus far, the seemingly inextinguishable ‘1 thing‘, which hit the number four spot in the UK, impacted charts worldwide, and continues to be a firm favourite amongst many pop connoisseurs and R&B enthusiasts alike, which is a considerably recognisable feat in light of the current shifting trends of the music industry. Alongside her calling card, Ameriie also garners a comprehensive back catalogue of four albums, including In Love and Warwhich was released in 2009 to transatlantic acclaim, and is revered by her dedicated fan base for its originality, story and aesthetic vision.
Despite continuing to work diligently on her musical concepts during her break from the scene, Ameriie also launched her own progressive entertainment company, Feenix Rising Entertainment in collaboration with her record producer husband Lenny Nicholson, started her very own Youtube channel Books, Beauty, Amerie, and has been busy immersing herself in further innovating her art and creative energy, by advancing in an entirely different direction to the music she has been known for, by writing two novels, one young adult, and one fantasy, which is actually not as surprising as it sounds, considering she has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Georgetown University. Writing is something that unequivocally comes naturally to Ameriie, who has been writing since the age of seven, and possesses an admirably incredible zeal and analytic fervour for all things books and literature.
Now gearing up to release not one, but two forthcoming albums, BILI, which she describes as “a sonic extension of (former album) Because I Love It with bright harmonies, vocal arrangements, hip-hop drums and New Wave influences” and Cymatia Vol. 1 which is described as having a sound that is “very cinematic,” the songstress began her UK tour on Thursday 26th March in Nottingham, before travelling to Manchester, Birmingham and finally London’s famous Jazz Cafe, on the 29th and 31st March.
Here’s what she had to say about her return to the UK, new music and much more.
Hi Ameriie! So, what are you looking forward to most about coming to the UK for your upcoming tour? How will it feel to be back?
I always appreciate the weather because I love the rain. Aside from that, I look forward to the performances, themselves, especially since the venues are intimate.
What do you miss most about the UK when you’re away?
Again, the rain! It’s such perfect reading and writing weather, perfect to curl up with tea or hot chocolate.
I’m sure we can expect to hear some of your classics during your set, such as: 1 Thing, Touch and Take Control, as well as new songs like What I Want, andOut Loud, but which is your favourite song of all, to perform live?
“Talkin’ About” is my favourite song to perform live.
And what do you like most about performing and touring with a full live band?
There’s a bonus energy not only on the stage, but in the crowd as well.
What else can we expect from you in 2015?
Great things! I shall put that out into the universe! [Laughs.]
What would be your dream collaboration? Male & female?
I don’t think I have one.
If you could listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Only one? Probably something classical.
If you could give anyone advice about making their mark in the current music industry what would it be?
I don’t think I’m an expert on the subject because I can only speak for myself and my own experience, but I’d say it’s important to know what one has to say, and to be true to that.
Great advice. As someone who champions the R&B genre within your music, do you think R&B, and all other urban forms such as HipHop, Rap and Grime receives the recognition it deserves on the mainstream platform? What else can be done?
Music is so subjective. The only thing that can be done is that artists continue to make music.
As someone who writes their own material, how do you overcome writer’s block?
I open myself up to the universe and I let it all just come to me the way it wants to come to me. And I try not to think about it too much. Thinking can kill inspiration or an idea faster than anything else.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
I Am. (Didn’t even take three words.)
Now for a couple of questions from your fan base on Twitter. Would you ever consider a clothing line, perfume, or make-up and hair products?
Some of those are definitely things I’ve thought of, but I have to have enough time to ensure I’m the one actually doing it. I won’t hand my name over to something. If I’m presenting anything to anyone it has to be something I not only stand behind, but use and love myself.
Finally, If you could travel back in time ; when would you go, where and why?
Difficult one… Ancient Egypt. I used to want to be an Egyptologist when I grew up.
Ameriie’s latest single Out Loud is out now.