Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Get To Know Amber Dee

Hailing from Bristol, Amber Dee is an emerging singer/songwriter who wears her heart on her sleeve lyrically and is using her music to help her listeners feel a sense of escapism in these uncertain times. Her new single Monday, which is out now is bound to have you in a better mood after just one listen. With her soft vocals and the guitar backing which transports you back to a Spring evening, Monday is the perfect start to your weekly listening.

I had the pleasure of talking to the wonderful Amber, ahead of her show at The Spice of Life in Soho, alongside an all-female line up. We talked all things including her new single Monday, our shared love for Jessie Ware and S Club, (No judgements on the latter, thank you very much) opening up about mental health on social media, and told me of her goals to help give a voice to under-represented communities in the music industry.

 LOOP) How are you feeling about tonight’s performance?
 I’m excited, it’s our first band gig in a very long time, so yeah I’m stoked!

That’s good, bit of a different vibe. So, do you have any pre-show or post-show routines?
Well we used to listen to “Eye of the Tiger,” but we’ve moved on a bit since then. My guitarist Jack takes me to the side of the stage, and we take three deep breaths together and he’s like “Ready”, and I’m like “Yeah” and just have a little quite moment at the side of the stage before we go on.

So, what’s the music scene in Bristol like compared to London?
It’s a smaller city, but it’s amazing! The Bristol music scene is sick! It’s a good mix between bands, EDM, there’s a lot of DJ nights going on, and there’s a lot of community and collaborative feel going on there.

How would you describe your music to a new listener?
This question is always so hard. So, I guess the base of it is pop, but I definitely feel inspired by soul, RnB, Hip-Hop, yeah, I listen to a quite eclectic mix. Just whatever comes out really.

A proper mix then?
I love a vocal harmony, I’ve been listening to a lot of Jessie Ware

I love Jessie Ware
Yeah, she’s great!

So, you’ve got a new single called Monday What was the inspiration it?
So, it was during the time when we were all locked away, it was completely written and produced over Zoom with my friend Becca, whose artist name is Le Montais.

Didn’t she do stuff with Hobbie Stuart back in the day?
Yeah, she did. So, Becca and I work quite closely together, and we created it all over Zoom. She was in Jersey in her home studio, I was in my, I guess home studio, which is sort of a glamourised shed really in the garden.

Got to make it work
Exactly! It’s just a reflective track I guess. 

What do you hope people get from listening to your new single?
Just a few minutes away from the world. I think it’s nice to have a little bit of a break. I hope that people can get their heads in it and it can take them away from the madness from a couple of minutes.

I think that’s what we all need
Yeah, exactly.

Have you got a certain process when it comes to writing?
Ooh, interesting, I make lots of notes on my phone, just when I’m pottering about. I think I get a lot of inspiration from daily life like travelling, I’m always making notes and then later I pull inspiration from those notes. Often, if I go to a gig, I’ll come back and want to make music, it doesn’t matter what time it is, I’ll just want to make music.

You get the urge
Yeah, I definitely feel inspired by other people’ stuff and seeing live music.

What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from being an independent artist?
Oh my gosh, I could write a book. I think, don’t wait for everything to be perfect. I think put your true self into stuff, like into the music, especially when you’re in the creative process like writing and producing. You can smooth bits out etc, but there has to be a point where you just say to yourself it has to be ready to put out into the world, because otherwise you can just change things forever.

So, I know you’ve done a lot of gigs. What has been your favourite gig to play?
I’ll always hold Camden Assembly dear to my heart. Just because it was our first London headline show. We sold it out, that was back in May 2019, I think. Since then, my favourite has been the Thekla in Bristol, where we supported Olivia Dean there back in August. That was really fun.

So how did the Olivia Dean support gig come about? She is really on the rise now
Yeah, she’s absolutely amazing! She’s so good. I got a message like two or three days before the show, saying we need a local support act, we think you would suit really well, do you want to come down and play it? My guitarist Jack was with me at the time and I ran out to the studio saying “Jack, what are you doing on” whatever date it was, and he was like” I dunno, why?” “We’re going to play the Thekla, supporting Olivia Dean.” He was like “yeah, let’s do it!” So it ended up just being us two, playing a sold out gig at the Thekla supporting Olivia Dean, which was pretty intense but amazing!

Have you had any nightmare gigs?
Oh my gosh! I remember, I think it was somewhere in Shoreditch. We were just getting ready to soundcheck and I got a message from my old guitarist, saying that she had fallen ill on the train. No one could do anything, we couldn’t get to her, and then miraculously, before we got on stage, she showed up and we managed to play the gig. Bless her, but the pressure was on for a minute.

Bit touch and go

So, bit of a deeper question. You’ve opened up about your mental health on social media recently, do you think it is important for artists to be transparent with their audience?
I think as transparent as you feel comfortable being. I feel it’s generally important for people to speak up about things that are affecting them, but then again, that is sometimes easier said than done. I think if you feel ready to share the story, then it can really help people potentially. But yeah, I think just opening more conversations about stuff that is more “taboo” is important or just more difficult to talk about. I think the more conversations happen the more people won’t feel alone. When I read stuff about mental health, and people’s different experiences, especially in the music industry, it makes me feel relieved because I don’t feel alone anymore. 

Who were you listening to when you were younger?
Oh, when I was really young my mum had a Phil Collins Greatest Hits CD. That was my favourite, and I was mad obsessed with S Club 7!

I mean everyone used to love a bit of S Club 7! So who do you listen to you now? Apart from Jessie Ware
Yeah! Jessie Ware! I love Lianne La Havas, Olivia Dean has been on the playlist a lot since we played that show. Rex Orange County, JP Cooper. What else do I listen to? Recently, I guess it’s a bit different to what I would usually listen to but I’ve been listening to a lot of Maya Jane Coles recently.

Oh she’s amazing! I love her! Yeah, that is a pretty different sound from your music.
Yeah, Yeah!

If you could write/collaborate with one artist from the past and one from the present, who would they be?
Oh my gosh! When you say past?
Long gone
This is so hard! Present, I just really want to work with JP Cooper. I think he’s sick. I really love his voice. His voice is amazing but I also really love his arrangements, like his choir arrangements within his songs. Also, just the groove and feel, especially his debut album as it takes me back to the moments where I listened to it a lot, like that period of my life. Past”… maybe Prince!

Prince is a great choice!
Yeah, I think so

What are your goals for the next 12 months?
So I’m studying music at the moment. I want to do a research project on opening up more inclusive creative spaces, for people/communities who are under-represented in writing sessions, studios and rehearsal spaces. Those kind of things. I want to do a research project on why that is, and how to better those spaces to be more inclusive. I feel that has a massive effect on the content and songs that are being created. We want to hear everyone’s voice rather than just a narrow tunnel of voices. So I’m definitely doing a lot on that, and just writing and recording more stuff. I’ve been working more on producing, co-producing my own music with Becca recently, gigging more with the band and just getting out there.

That sounds great! Well, that about wraps it up. Good luck on your new single and the show and we hope to hear more from you soon.
Thank you very much.

To keep up to date with Amber, follow her on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/amberdeemusic/ 

Listen to her new single Monday here: https://open.spotify.com/track/3gOhf5tstdeyQi8BiAdf2K?si=29cd4f53f2714b21 

Words by Jack Shephard

Posted On 4 October, 2022