EDITORIAL : Article : Amber Jolene : The classy songbird talks about her upcoming releases, and her little known side gig as a DJ
Amber Jolene : The classy songbird talks about her upcoming releases, and her little known side gig as a DJ : *
Submitted by Shejay
(October 11, 2011)
WOW - Can you believe it's been 5 years since last saw each other at the Shejay day party in Ibiza?! Good times! What have you been up to since then? From the looks of it, you've been very busy.... It's been too long! I've busy writing and recording with producers a plenty, doing gigs, Djing... On a personal note I got married since then too, so it's been a busy couple of years in a number of ways!
You've got a pretty impressive discography, having been featured on quite a few releases from some of dance music's biggest labels - Defected, Toolroom, Southern Fried, Yoshitoshi, Hed Kandi, to name a few - where else can we expect to hear your lovely voice this year? Well, being in the studio with Timo Garcia is great as we are a pretty productive team so no doubt we will have more releases coming out soon. I've just finished working with Mowgli on a track which has just been picked up, and also I'm in the studio with Dave Felton aka Jake Island to record with him. I've also done a track called Last Night with MetteS which is being released on Deso Records November 15th. I've also been jamming with a band of late and turning my house records into proper songs, so that has been a really interesting development.
Tell us about your background in terms of vocal training and when did you start songwriting? Well, until last year, I'd never had a singing lesson in my life! I've actually found an amazing holistic singing teacher who has been great helping me get the most out of my voice and how to look after it. She has been teaching me to sing opera using the 'bel canto' technique of singing. It's been an amazing experience and I've hit notes I never thought possible.
Songwriting has always been there, from being a little kid and listening to Bananarama (!) over and over again (until I got all the lyrics written down right) to getting my first guitar at 13, strumming away and writing miserable songs about first loves with plenty of teenage angst. That's where everyone pretty much starts I'm sure. Today, well I always carry around my notebook and pen and write down anything that amuses me, snippets of conversation overheard or a headline I've seen in a newspaper or wherever... I work with anything which provokes a feeling or inspires me.
Your three biggest musical influences are.... My hubbie and I recently tried to create our 'Desert Island Disc' lists whilst on holiday in Italy - and it is the hardest thing to do! So trying to pick just three acts is even harder... OK, if pressed, I'll go for The Carpenters, Nina Simone & Roy Orbison... but that could change in the next 10 minutes!
What's been your most memorable live gig? There's been a few & festival gigs are a definite highlight. However, recently the most enjoyable gig I've done was at a proper old South London boozer. It was a warm May night totally packed, and the atmosphere was electric. I was singing with this blues band I've been working with, turning my house records into something totally new. It was great vibe.
Some people might not know you also DJ - but not house music as you might expect....It seems you have a penchant for spinning disco, soul and rock - is that right? That must be quite fun since it's a slight deviation from the typical dance music scene where you're often singing live? DJing gives me the opportunity to impose my musical will on others... J I kid... but sadly I do find I always have to be in charge of the music at parties, as I get very upset when I am forced to listen to awful music. I like to control the fun!
I have a very eclectic taste from rock n roll, Rhythm & Blues, NY disco, rare groove, jazz, reggae, house... I love to collect records & I inherited a fair few from my dad who definitely instilled a love of music in me from a young age. I used to DJ every weekend for years which was pretty draining, but now I only drag my record boxes out for special events and that is a lot more fun.
How would you describe your personal style? And Where or from whom do you get your fashion inspiration? Well I love vintage... but I'm not adverse to shiny new expensive things! I love having things no-one else has and the thrill in the hunt is an addictive buzz. I know everyone says this, but I definitely have my own style and that again is eclectic, picking bits and pieces from through the decades. It's important to know what suits you. I guess if I had to choose my decade it would be a version of the 70s when analogue ruled and vinyl was king... Glitz, big hair, even bigger hats and very fabulous dresses in not so flammable materials! I would be a total disco diva, on stage every Saturday singing at studio 54!
Name one woman - dead or alive - that inspires you and tell us why.... Wow that's another big question. I wouldn't want to just pick out one person. Anyone can inspire me on any given day and they do regularly. It doesn't matter who they are really, it could be my mum, but it could be a total stranger who does something amazing. It's what they do that counts. Random acts of kindness or moments of brilliance can happen anywhere - you've just got to look out for them.
Amber's latest release 'Sun in My Eyes' is out now on Southern Fried and is available on all major download sites.