The music industry has given us some great African American female Pop stars to create the soundtracks we live by through the decades and today: Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, and Alicia Keys to name a few. This week, we had the opportunity to speak with a new artist who is joining the ranks of the artists I just listed as well as carving her own trail of selfless integrity – her name is Amber Ais. Ais is a singer, songwriter, musician from Boston, Massachusetts who just released Blush – an EP that is set to affect our emotions coloring them pink! Just released today, Blush is available to listen to on all of Amber Ais’ platforms. In this EXCLUSIVE interview, you will learn more about how Amber Ais is ready to make the music industry truly SEE black female artists, how she is adapting as a new artist with COVID-19 still lingering, and how Blush is more than just a title of an EP – this week on #WCM #FeatureFriday!
It is obvious, the music industry is not the way it used to be a decade ago – singles are released instead of full albums, streaming is the method to release music compared to physical CDs, etc., and social media is the typical platform to stay relevant instead of meet and greets. What made you want to break out into the music industry?
Ever since I was a kid I really just had this deep desire for music. I really loved to sing growing up and I would actually write songs at recess with my friends! Haha I was never athletic or really that smart but I just really had this goal inside of me to pursue music with my whole heart. I just remembered being in high school and being like I honestly don’t care about making money. I just love this thing so much. The music industry has definitely changed but I think what keeps it going are the artists that are true to themselves and aren’t just there to make money and be famous.
Why did you choose to sing/write within the Pop genre?
Well growing up I was only allowed to listen to Contemporary Christian music and Radio Disney/Disney Channel lol So my roots are definitely from that and you can hear those influences in my music! I ended up going to Berklee College of Music for college and I realized that they put a lot of black women in boxes and tried to make everyone into a jazz or [R&B] singer but that was never me. I was always torn because it always felt like I wasn’t “black enough” because I didn’t sound like everyone else. I compared myself a lot and felt like I wasn’t talented enough to be there. But I just prayed and asked God to just help me be confident in the gift He gave me. There’s this verse in Ephesians 2 that says that we are the workmanship of God and He created us all specifically and uniquely for the good of the world. And I just realized that God made everyone different and I should just do pop music because that’s what I love so much anyway. Also there is no representation of black women in pop so I always wanted to have a lane where I could just do that and not just do what is expected of me.
It is great to see that you have a solid spiritual foundation to add to the focal muscle of your career in an industry that tends to be reckless. Do you think the climate of the music industry has become better for the female artist?
Definitely. I think some of the best artists and writers right now are women. Especially in rap. They’re killing the game right now. I hope it’s not just a trend but like it becomes normal to see women in music.
I do not think it is a trend at all – I feel as if it is becoming cemented as the “norm,” but do you think the industry needs to evolve a bit more when it comes to African American female singers, because there are many stereotypes?
Oh for sure! 100%! This is partially why I fight so hard for black women in pop. In college people would just say I sounded like Corrine Bailey Rae or Tracy Chapman just because I was black girl with a guitar and it would frustrate me because I didn’t sound like them at all. People just expect black women to either be like Beyoncé or Meg the Stallion. And while they are beautiful and confident women that’s not the only type of black woman there is. It’s almost like if you are black you’re just labeled as [R&B] or Soul or Rap and that’s it. It’s like we’re not allowed to do other genres even though black people really started a lot of musical genres.
So, so, true. You said before, and I quote, that “as a black woman who does pop music there is never really space for us to be heard because we are often confined to the genres people "expect" of us. So I would love a chance to be a face of representation." This is a true testament, but with fellow brown, tan, and black female artists lining the charts as we speak, how do you plan on becoming the “face” of representation?
I plan on doing that by being true to myself and not trying to be like everyone because of what people expect or want. I think we just need to let black women be versatile. And I remember growing up and feeling like there are no black girls who can’t dance and play the guitar like I do. I just don’t want a little black girl one day to feel like she’s not represented because she’s different.
In listening to your EP, I could hear a genuine prowess to your voice, and I can also hear trend-worthy, Pop melodies and instrumentation similar to Arianna Grande and Rhianna, what distinguishes you from your competitors?
I think I just want to be a hybrid of all genres so I think that’s what makes me stand out. Again, I think I just want to be versatile and I don’t want to be confined to one genre but I also want to be true to myself. With my last EP, my writing style is the same but the production was definitely different with Blush. I just don’t want people to put me in a box which is why my last EP was very singer/songwriter pop and this EP is a little more production heavy.
What is the backstory behind your latest EP “Blush” – it is more than just a title, isn’t it?
Well to me all these songs have a story behind them and they all kind of made me “blush” in a way. Almost all the songs are about this guy I had a crush on. But that’s all it really was. It was just a crush nothing crazy but that sucked because I knew nothing was ever going to come out of that situation. So it’s basically the nail in the coffin of something I experienced. A lot of these songs sound happier than what they actually are which is what I wanted though. I wanted things to sound happy but still convey the emotional depth that I was dealing with.
You said the songs “sound pink” – what did you mean by that?
I don’t really know! Haha but I think they all have an aura. Like when I listen to them the color pink comes to my mind. I see like a sunset with a pink hue when I hear them.
Yes, we often hear in colors, and pink is said to be the color for universal love, so that is a great tie-in. So what do you hope to get out of the release of “Blush”?
I’m honestly just happy to be able to make music and share my heart with people. I think I was called to write and share the things that people aren’t able to say all the time. So when people reach out to me and tell me that a song is helping them get through their break up or hardship I really think I’m walking with purpose. So I guess that’s what I want.
Since COVID-19, as a new artist, how have you had to revamp your release strategy? Or promotional tours?
It’s so hard right now. People are just sitting and consuming content. It’s kind of crazy. Like I want to keep up but I also don’t want to be overlooked and overshadowed. I had a festival I was gonna do this year but the virus got it cancelled. It’s hard but I’m navigating through the whole thing.
Any other projects in the pipes?
So Blush has been in the works since November so I’m just happy to put something out after almost 2 years of not putting out a project. But I’ve been working on and writing an album! Super lit for that! I really love everything I’m writing and I’m still in the early writing of it but I know its going to be good.
Do you have any online shows coming up?
Yes on June 19th I have a Blush IG Live Concert and Q&A! Super happy about that. Super happy to engage with the people who support me!
Thanks Amber. It’s good to see such an altruistic artist on the front lines advocating for passion, compassion, originality, and altruism during this time in society and within a “selfie” driven entertainment industry. Make sure to follow Amber Ais on her social media platforms and tune in on her IG page to see her LIVE Blush Instagram Concert starting TONIGHT Friday June 19th at 7PM EST!
FOLLOW AMBER AIS :
INSTAGRAM : https://www.instagram.com/amber_ais/
TWITTER : https://twitter.com/Amber_Ais
Written by Lakisha Skinner
Lakisha “KiKi” Skinner is a USA-based Indie Music journalist and freelance writer who has been crowned a “word-craft artist” by her global following of Independent music artists. She is a part of an Alt. Rock band and is the owner of Klef Notes entertainment business blog. Lakisha has been the editor for a Backstreet Boy and has been featured on Dr. Jimmy Star’s blog. If she is not crafting words, you can find her buying another pair of shoes to place in her over-cluttered closet. You can read her work at www.KlefNotes.com and find her on https://twitter.com/The0riginalKiKi.
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