Get to know Amber Ais, a young singer-songwriter from Boston, Massachusetts, who swept us away with her cover of 'Finesse' by Drake.
Last week, you followed us on our growing Twitter profile. I don’t usually have time to look at anyone’s profile, but for some reason, that day, I did. When I clicked on your SoundCloud, I thought one of two things could happen. (a) You’re going to knock it out of the park or (b) it was going to be a dud. I must say you handled yourself well. Was it your idea to cover that song in particular? Why?
First off, I just wanna say thank you for reposting the cover and stuff! I was lowkey scared people weren’t going to like it or thought it would suck, but I really appreciate the positive feedback I received. Doing that type of music is not really my thing, but I absolutely love Drake. Like almost TOO much! But I listened to ‘Scorpion’ and the second ‘Finesse’ was over, I texted my friend Christian and was like, ‘Yo, can you make me this track?’ He said, ‘Bet’, and in three days of the album coming out I had the track! Then, I hit my friend Luke to help me engineer, and I made it! It was really just for fun. For some reason, that song resonated with me and I was like I wanna sing this.
Tell me about your hometown. Are there a lot of opportunities for people in the music business in your city? Where do you find yourself getting the most help? Is social media the most beneficial tool for you as a musician?
Well, I’m from a really small town called Stoughton, Massachusetts and there’s really not much to do there. Like the coolest thing we have, there is a Sonic! But there definitely is a super small and lowkey music scene there and they’re all so talented. But going to Berklee helped me learn how to network and meet other musicians than just the people I knew in my small town. So from the people I met in Stoughton and the people I met at Berklee I can just ask people to help me. Like everyone is also super diverse. They’re also photographers and videographers that are willing to help others with their art in that way as well. Which of course when it comes to social media definitely comes in handy. I think for me social media is definitely the most beneficial way for me to get my music out there and to spread the word about stuff. I think it’s important to your artistry to push your brand but I hate how much I need to use it in order for people to care.
Are you a trained singer? Are you responsible for writing your lyrics, or do you enjoy collaborating with other songwriters to create music?
I wouldn’t say that I’m trained per say. I grew up signing in church and when I got to Berklee it was a requirement to make us do private vocal lessons. So I guess I’ve been trained but I wouldn’t say like I’m an expert on anything.
Yes, I write all my lyrics for the most part. I love lyric writing. I have like HELLA notes on my phone of just words or concepts. But yeah I’ve definitely love collaborating with other people! It’s really fun hearing the ways that people write and creating something from two different writing styles.
Tell us about your live performance.
Performing is still something I’m getting used to. I used to think I sucked at music, so I avoided it for a really long time because I compared myself a lot to people. Going to Berklee with a bunch of talented singers, made me feel like I wasn’t that good and that people were gonna think that I sucked. I’m a Christian, and I realized that God had given me a unique sound and unique voice, so there was no point in me trying to compare something that was never created to be like someone else. What helped was playing with people who are down for the music I created and really believed in me. My band has always consisted of my greatest friends who are willing to help me.
How did you find GRUNGECAKE?
I follow Dash Machete on Twitter and I think she retweeted you or something and I was like, “OOOH A MUSIC BLOG! Dope.” So, I followed you! I didn’t even really know anything about y’all. I also didn’t expect you to follow me back or even retweet anything that I was putting out.
Who are some of the new artists that inspire you as a fellow musician? Are there any legends who influence your musical style? In what way?
I love this question. SZA, technically, isn’t new cause she’s been in the game for a minute, but I think SZA is very honest and relatable and I really hope my music is like that. This guy named Kevin Garrett is really cool too I’ve been obsessed with him since like 2016 but his lyrics are so great. Like they’re so conversational and I’m trying to be more like that. A legend to me would be JOHN MAYER. He definitely was one of the staples in my songwriting. I think not only as a guitar player but like a lyricist. Lyrics are so important and I wish everybody thought that! Ed Sheeran isnt really a legend yet, but when I saw him in concert for his ‘Multiply’ tour I cried the whole time because he was so good! And I was just extremely inspired by him and I saw him and I was like, “THAT is what I wanna do with my life.” Old Ed Sheeran was so genuine with his words. Then, somehow, I got really inspired by the 80s. And I was just like YO this music really goes hard. So I started using that as an influence as well. The 80s mostly influenced my fashion and visuals more than anything but some songs off my new project are definitely influenced by that era.
What’s next for you? Any original music coming our way soon?
Yes! I’m actually releasing a single on August 10 called, ‘Waiting’. It’s the first single off of my second EP and I’m really excited about the whole project. I’m hoping to release the second EP by October and then go on a mini tour and release some visuals and stuff. All I really want out of this life is to move to California and make a living off the music that I create for the rest of my life.