Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

AMERIE: DONâT JUDGE A BOOK

Amerie
Amerie Amerie

Stereotyping: such an ugly disease. Sadly, weâre all guilty of it, especially when weâre feeling fragile. It makes us feel better about ourselves. One glimpse at Amerie Mi Marie Rogers [real name] with her flawless skin, enviable figure and universal beauty even the most kind-hearted of souls is likely to get all green-eyed. Well! If she can sing, dance and look foxy in fishnets, she must be stupid. Uh-uh. Think again.

After spending a good hour nattering down the phone to the 27-year-old singer/songwriter/producer itâs safe to say, the gal got brains. Crikey, sheâs even got a Bachelors degree to prove it. And the gal can talk. Her passion for chatter is almost as endearing as the gawky giggle sheâs unwittingly honed, and the fact she lives with her lawyer sister in New Jersey, near the studio she favours over the swanky types of LA.

It was at her âlocalâ studio that Amerie put most of the groundwork down for her forthcoming, third album, âBecause I Love Itâ. Having only heard a few tracks on the album, it's difficult to make an appraisal. However, if her first single âthe contagious, full-throttle booty-bouncer, âTake Controlâ- is anything to go by though, you could be in for a tremendous treat. We must take our hats off to Amerie âwhatever the verdict her album yields- for actually co-producing this entire musical project herself. Yes! And you thought she was just a bitta hot tottyâ¦

What have you been up to this week?
âHello! Well, Iâve just left LA where I was finishing off the album and rehearsing for forthcoming shows. Now, Iâm back in New York and Iâm going to the studio tonight to do some brainstorming. The work never stops but thatâs great.â

Youâre father was in the US military, is that why you call yourself a âmilitary bratâ?
âItâs just a term that kids that grow up in military families use. Itâs kind of an endearing thing, like calling little kids ârug rats.ââ

Where do you consider home?
âNew York, for now, but I doubt Iâll settle here. I think in the future Iâll probably have more than one home, in different pockets of the world, and divide my time between them. I actually really feel at home when Iâm in London. The simple fact that we share the same language is one reason, but I just like the feel of London, thereâs something in the air that I like.â

R&B has been getting a bad rap over here lately for being over-polished and too 'pop'. Discussâ¦
âI donât really think so. I think music always changes. People complain about that with hip hop, but I think a lot of genres blend in to one another- like some hip hop blends with R&B and pop. I think the lines are blurring.â

âOne Thingâ was such a huge hit. Do you feel pressured to follow it up?
âI guess I do but I donât think that any external pressure is greater than the pressure I put on myself. I think Iâm pretty hard on myself for everything, not just musical stuff.â

On your MySpace site you've written you'd be an Egyptologist if you werenât a singer. Why the fascination?
âIâm fascinated with anything culturally ancient. Thatâs one of the things I love about London- you can walk the streets and know that someone else has walked those streets hundreds and hundreds of years ago. The idea of people from different times sharing the same space has always fascinated me. I want to go to Greece and go to the Coliseum and the temples and touch the actual stones and columns and the same things that people touched thousands of years ago. Just standing in the same place that someone once did thousands of years ago, like in Egypt, is sharing an experience and almost like going back in time.â

Getting back to the music, is it true you co-produced the entire album?
âYeah, just about; some production and co-production. I think I was doing it before on my previous projects but itâs just I didnât have that official title. For the most part, I go to this studio in Jersey City and it doesnât really look like much but I do most of everything there. I go in with my manager and engineer and I work like that. I donât really fly around to see different producers and go and have someone do vocal production. I just vocal produce myself, and most of the writing I do at home in my kitchen. Iâm not paying for studio time! I donât like wasting money!â

Okaaay! We discovered youâre quite the scholar. Whatâs your Bachelors degree in?
âEnglish and I have a minor in Fine Art and Design.â

Are people ever surprised you have a Bachelors degree?
âSometimes, but I think less because Iâm a female and more so because Iâm an entertainer. I think entertainers get a bad rap- the stereotype is they arenât very intelligent or educated. Thatâs not really the case and if people look at a lot of entertainers, theyâd probably be surprised. People assume and thatâs unfortunate.â

Amerieâs album âBecause I Love Itâ is out 14th May on Sony/BMG
Words Elle J Small

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