Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S




Amerie Amerie

Stereotyping: such an ugly disease. Sadly, we’re all guilty of it, especially when we’re 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 it’s safe to say, the gal got brains. Crikey, she’s 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 she’s 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 ‘local’ studio that Amerie put most of the groundwork down for her forthcoming, third album, ‘Because I Love It’. Having only heard a few tracks on the album, it's difficult to make an appraisal. However, if her first single –the contagious, full-throttle booty-bouncer, ‘Take Control’- is anything to go by though, you could be in for a tremendous treat. We must take our hats off to Amerie –whatever the verdict her album yields- for actually co-producing this entire musical project herself. Yes! And you thought she was just a bitta hot totty…

What have you been up to this week?
“Hello! Well, I’ve just left LA where I was finishing off the album and rehearsing for forthcoming shows. Now, I’m back in New York and I’m going to the studio tonight to do some brainstorming. The work never stops but that’s great.”

You’re father was in the US military, is that why you call yourself a ‘military brat’?
“It’s just a term that kids that grow up in military families use. It’s kind of an endearing thing, like calling little kids ‘rug rats.’”

Where do you consider home?
“New York, for now, but I doubt I’ll settle here. I think in the future I’ll 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 I’m in London. The simple fact that we share the same language is one reason, but I just like the feel of London, there’s something in the air that I like.”

R&B has been getting a bad rap over here lately for being over-polished and too 'pop'. Discuss…
“I don’t 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.”

‘One Thing’ was such a huge hit. Do you feel pressured to follow it up?
“I guess I do but I don’t think that any external pressure is greater than the pressure I put on myself. I think I’m pretty hard on myself for everything, not just musical stuff.”

On your MySpace site you've written you'd be an Egyptologist if you weren’t a singer. Why the fascination?
“I’m fascinated with anything culturally ancient. That’s 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.”

Getting back to the music, is it true you co-produced the entire album?
“Yeah, just about; some production and co-production. I think I was doing it before on my previous projects but it’s just I didn’t have that official title. For the most part, I go to this studio in Jersey City and it doesn’t 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 don’t 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. I’m not paying for studio time! I don’t like wasting money!”

Okaaay! We discovered you’re quite the scholar. What’s your Bachelors degree in?
“English and I have a minor in Fine Art and Design.”

Are people ever surprised you have a Bachelors degree?
“Sometimes, but I think less because I’m a female and more so because I’m an entertainer. I think entertainers get a bad rap- the stereotype is they aren’t very intelligent or educated. That’s not really the case and if people look at a lot of entertainers, they’d probably be surprised. People assume and that’s unfortunate.”

Amerie’s album ‘Because I Love It’ is out 14th May on Sony/BMG
Words Elle J Small

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter