We had a chat with with exciting Liverpool bedroom pop artist Amber Jay as the release of her debut EP looms.
A fine line that often has to be toed in music is the one between experimentation and accessibility. The balancing act between feeling cutting edge and fresh and exciting while maintaining a memorable, easy to digest core is an art that many have tried and failed to navigate.
Thankfully, Amber Jay is not one of these artists. Her bedroom-pop sound holds a uniquely haunting quality that offsets her bouncy and often captivating soundscapes. This has never been more evident than on new single ‘Stay The Same’, a heartbreaking yet irresistible track that showcases the incredible depth of her sound, and the unique left-turns that it is capable of taking.
The track is from Never Too Far From a Dark Thought, the upcoming debut EP from the artist. If early indications are anything to go by, this looks set to be the most exciting and resounding showcase of Amber’s talents to date, and could yet be the launching pad for the latest success story in unique and explosive alternative pop. With this in mind we had a chat with Amber Jay and found out a bit more about the artist behind such a unique sound.
Who TF is Amber Jay?
That’s a big question but the short answer is me! No pun intended, I am only 5’2 and that’s on a good day. I’m a music artist who creates alt pop songs. My lyrics are quite delicate, poetic and heartfelt which contrasts with the production of some of the tracks. I write about relationships, whether my own or inspired by on-screen characters and I write about my opinions and perspectives. I also love muesli and have a sheep dog called Tess.
How long have you been making music?
I started writing songs when I was fifteen, on my bedroom floor at night hunched over my guitar and literally whispering into it so no-one would hear me. I knew how to write songs but I knew nothing about the process of releasing music. It took me a long time to get out the stocks. I released my first song when I was twenty. I’ve grown so much just from the process of releasing and having my music exist in public. Within the year of releasing my first song, I recorded an EP and stepped into the sound I knew I wanted to create but didn’t know how to articulate. It all came in time and by working with and meeting different people who helped me grow. All in all it’s been seven years of development and only now can I clearly envisage my direction as an artist and have the vocabulary to translate that vision to those I work with.
Why do you make music?
Sounds cheesy but music makes me feel emotion on a level nothing else can. I’m lucky enough to have the ability to write songs, sing and play an instrument to channel my emotions into music. It’s just a natural process that I have when I feel something to then put it into a song. Most of the time it heightens that emotion and makes it really real. Then it tends to die off and I’m just left with this song that I don’t have such an emotional connection with anymore but is honest and truthful to that past emotion.
What are your biggest influences?
Programmes or films I watch influence a lot of my songs. If I have a connection to a world that’s been created on screen, or with a set of characters, I like to write about their situation and choose instruments/ sounds that emulate the environment they exist in. I also find comfort in seeing artists that look like me or musically have similar themes or aspects about them. I think that without those people I might not have had the confidence and the ability to imagine myself ever existing in music.
What would you say has been your best moment so far?
Working with Kurran who produced the EP. These songs have given me a new lease of life and what we made definitely changed my life. Not in a way in which I’m now a huge big time star but in the way of being happy. I have a much clearer idea of my direction as an artist now. The process was like a creative awakening and the positive energy and hope it has given me will fuel me for a long time. Getting played on Radio 1 was also a highlight but that was just a product of having this work to put out there in the first place. Still buzzing about it though, not going to lie.
How would you describe your sound to somebody unfamiliar with it?
Experimental pop bops that are subliminally haunting.
What’s your dream “I’ve made it” moment?
Omg I love a ‘I’ve made it’ moment. I love the little one’s like when I get an opportunity I applied for or the Radio 1 milestone. I’ll have ‘made it’ when I can survive just doing music, that will make me happy. A dream ‘I’ve made it moment’ though, maybe if my song was used in like a really cool film or programme like Killing Eve. Lets manifest that.
We love your new single ‘Stay The Same’, could you tell us some more about it?
Yes! It was written about that feeling of desperation after breaking up with someone, when you realise you just want everything to return to how it was but by trying to mend the relationship it just makes everything worse. I sort of see it like a lilo in a pool, the more you try and wade towards it to jump back on, the further and further away it gets. The title of the EP ‘Never too far from a dark thought’ is also within the bridge of the song. The title kind of sums up the past few years for me going through different events in which I felt like I was constantly terrified of my own brain and its fragility.
What plans do you have for 2021?
Release my first EP Never Too Far From A Dark Thought and shoot some videos for ‘Stay the Same’ and the third single from the EP. Then get right back to it. I have a bunch of songs I want to get on their feet and make something great of. I have so many concepts I want to pen into songs too. I’m looking forward to growing and learning more. I just want to keep going and get better by doing.
And finally, who is your biggest fan right now?
My mum will always be my biggest fan. Even from the very start, she’d take me to open mics and my guitar would be out of tune and I’d continue to play my entire set sounding god awful but she’d still record it and put it on facebook. She is honestly the best mum.