American-Korean artist Amerie Mi Marie Rogers first hit the airwaves back in 2002 with ‘All I Have’ – although it was 2005’s ‘1 Thing’ that really pushed her to international prominence, reaching number 8 in the Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 in the UK. Fast forward to 2014: the name is now Ameriie (spot the extra ‘i’), and she’s back with a bang.
After a few years experimenting with different musical styles, Ameriie has been keeping a beady eye on the pop industry in recent times. New single ‘What I Want’ is a punchy, 80’s inspired song that feels right at home in today’s music climate. With a plethora of different projects on the way, both within music and outside of it, she found time to chat to FAULT about her new single and plans going forward. ‘What I Want’ is available as a lyric video on YouTube now, while Cymatika Vol. 1 and Because I Love It 2 are the next projects to look forward to. FAULT Online got an insight into Ameriie’s creative process in this exclusive London interview:
FAULT: What have you been up to in the last 5 years?
Ameriie: The last 5 years I’ve been constantly creating new music, it’s something I always do. I was recording for Cymatika, which is Part 1 of a Trilogy, that I’ll be releasing in the future and also simultaneously recording songs for BILI [Because I Love It] 2.
I’ve been recording songs, writing and co-producing as well – and then depending on the sound of the song, that dictates which project the song will be landing on because Cymatika has a very distinctive sound, sonically it’s very tight. BILI 2 has a certain sound as well, but the sound is not as extremely specific as Cymatika is.
I’ve been doing that, and I’ve also been writing – because when I was younger, I used to write little short stories and I would staple them together and make little books and newsletters and see if neighbours would buy them, which some of them did because they were very nice!
How does it feel to be releasing music, and what made you decide that now was the right time?
Whenever I’m about to release a new album, I usually feel like a new artist, maybe because I’m constantly creating and so I’m always used to hearing it and I usually keep a lot of the music to myself. I don’t really give it out or play it for a lot of people, it’s just something I create and put away and so it’s kind of the first time people are really hearing it because it’s not like I play it for a lot of my friends, everything feels very fresh.
It feels like the right the right time because both projects are close to being complete.
The single What I Want is a your lead single – what made it the choice for your first single, and is that indicative of the sound we can expect to hear from you on future music?
It came about because my husband who produced the record, he really knows what I love and gravitate towards. I love percussions and break beats, so he had the idea and I loved it and so he ended up creating the track and I was like ‘wow this is really great!’
It’s a bit of a departure for me because for the most part I’ve been recording these new songs, creating the track around the melody, coming up with the melody, lyrics and everything, so in this instance, it was amazing!
The song took a long time – sometimes I can create a song in literally 5 minutes and it just comes but you never know if that will be the case. In this instance it took 8 months because I didn’t want to force it. I never sat down and said ‘it’s time to write the song and let’s just do this’, it had to be organic, it had to come to me, I didn’t want to think about it, and I wanted it to be driven very much by feeling and nothing cerebral. One day the pieces really started falling together and it just came.
What kind of music have you particularly been listening to and do you feel that’s changed since you first started out?
No I pretty much listen to the same music, the thing about it is I don’t actually listen to a lot of music – and when I do listen to music, I tend to get into a zone and I listen to the same few songs over and over.
I love Kanye’s music, I really enjoyed his ‘Yeezus’ album – I wouldn’t say it necessarily inspired this project but I think everything is an inspiration…whether it’s television, films, paintings, music, books…just ideas.
I’m inspired a lot by things that aren’t usually related to what I’m doing, to me this was more of an aura of energy and I was inspired a lot by human energy of the frantic sort. I did a lot of running, and a lot of exercising while I was listening to it –I’ve really been listening lately to Lorde, Lana Del Ray, Kanye and lots of instrumentals, Hans Zimmerman, a lot of scores.
Do you feel the music industry for you has changed since you began?
I think everything changes. I think that right now it’s a great time because there’s so many opportunities. I think the mixing of genres, as far as in the music we listen to is so much more open to different genres. Mixing genres isn’t strange, and you have people that listen to Taylor Swift and Lorde, who also listen to Kanye and they listen to everything.
I can appreciate that – I think that’s changed a bit – but I think that’s not just music, I think it’s just what happens with the world, it’s globalisation. People in NY are eating sushi and people in LA are eating Ethiopian food and we’re all enjoying everyone’s culture, and that includes music, food, film, clothing and style. There’s less division with people now, which I think is good, and an appreciation of different things.
Is there anyone you would want to collab with in the future?
Doing something with Kanye [West] would be really cool, I really have a lot of respect for him as an artist. I hear what he’s doing and I feel like, without speaking to him about it, I know where he’s coming from artistically and so I feel a certain kinship with him, sonically with the things he puts together so he’s someone I would like to work with.
What do you feel the future holds for Ameriie (both musically and also outside of that)?
I’m just riding the wave. I look forward to everything that life has in store for me and I’m in a really great place, and I’m open.
What is your FAULT?
I’ve got better at it but one of the things I’ve always struggled with is that I’m a perfectionist and a lot of that has to do with my personality. I’m a little OCD, certain things will bother me if they’re not in the right place.
Recently I’ve realised that everything does not have to be perfect. You can be as precise as you want when you’re creating a song or you’re designing something, but you have to accept that everything will always be imperfect because we’re human beings.
Now I strive for things to be perfect in their imperfection. As an artist, you have to know when to stop. You can continue to do something over and over again, do a vocal over and over again, over think something, a video treatment, anything – and sometimes that can stagnant and stall you, and you have to know when to let it go.
Words: Kevin Lyster
Styling: A+C Studio
Grooming: Patricia Obaro Odje