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Whether you went out last weekend to check out an uber-geeky beat magician or a depressingly awesome indie rock band, we all know there’s always some serious musical talents rocking around the Dam. You might not recognize them all yet, but don’t worry, you will soon. In this series of interviews we talk to remarkable artists about their music and their inspirations.
Chances are big that even if you have never heard of the lovely Amber Gomaa, you actually do know her. She worked with Alain Clark and she’s the backing vocalist and keyboardist of Jett Rebel. Amber sang, wrote and produced (with Jett Rebel as co-producer) her first solo EP Sun Gazing herself on Jett Rebel’s label Baby Tiger Records. She hates being stuck in a comfort zone so she tried to surprise people with her music. Her second video clip, Girlfriend, got released yesterday so we caught up with this classy lady for a chat.
Back to the start. You were a psychology student once, before you went to the conservatory.
“I was always busy with music, but in the beginning I never thought I could actually make a living out of it. Studying psychology made me realize that wasn’t what I wanted to do at all. I probably wouldn’t have been ready for the conservatory if I started right away though. I was very young and it’s an intense program. It’s really personal and the focus completely lies on your own compositions. In my second year of psychology I started working with Alain Clark and things went fast from there.”
Jett Rebel helped produce your EP. Are you close with him?
“Very close! We have a very special musical connection and I’m really fond of him. The band just feels like a close group of friends of eccentric people, even though that sounds a little corny. I learned a lot from playing with him.”
Some people say backing vocalists are usually better singers than the actual lead. Do you think backing vocalists are underestimated?
“A good backing vocalist must be ego-less, which makes them good musicians. Ego is killing. Backing vocalists are more versatile. Are they better? I don’t know, the lead singer is in the spotlight, isn’t he? But some backing vocalists don’t want to be in the spotlight, so it’s hard to compare the two.”
Was it a difficult decision to go solo?
“No, not at all. That was already the plan when I started at the conservatory. Jett Rebel asked me to work with him in my third year. He’s such an amazing musician and I want to keep working with him as long as I can but he knows that if I come to the point where I can’t combine the two anymore I’d go for my solo career. This would be extremely bitter sweet. Luckily I released my music on his label so it wouldn’t be goodbye.”
What song do you have on repeat lately?
“I Can’t Feel My Face! It’s so good! Very well produced and I love the Micheal Jackson inspired poppy vibe.”
You played at the 50 years 3FM party in Paradiso last week. How was that?
“It was so much fun. I get really nervous before I perform. The moment when you feel like you need to leave but you can’t sucks. I can’t even eat before a show because basically my body’s getting ready for a sprint. I had to open the small room and it was a Monday, but after two songs the room was already full which was a relieve. After that I could just chill and the entire scene was there. I felt honored that 3FM asked me and named me serious talent in August. 3FM is a big deal and an amazing platform.”
Tell me about the concept of your new video clip Girlfriend.
“With videos you can add another content layer to a song with a different medium. I wanted to show ‘girlfriend’ in the broadest sense of the word. You see mothers, daughters, friends and lovers showing love. I guess the message is ‘love who you want to love’ and not be afraid to show someone how you feel.”
Did you write this song for anybody in particular?
“I wrote it to someone because I was afraid to say it and it didn’t work out in the end. I think a lot of musicians put the things they can’t say into a song. There’s a difference between feeling it and keeping it to yourself and going out and showing it to that person.”
Are you planning a new EP or an album?
“Yes, I’m writing everyday because I don’t have a lot of gigs right now. I want to make a sequel to this EP. The plan is to finish it by spring next year.”
What’s your vision on live music in Amsterdam?
“I love the live scene. Of course you have the big pop temples such as Melkweg and Paradiso but there are also lovely smaller initiatives such as Je veux Flâner and The Story Club. Every one in the scene is too focused on their own work to be envious. We all do it for the love of music and are very supportive of each other and lift each other up.”
You’re playing at Je veux Flâner next week. Are you excited?
“I can’t wait! Their band is out of this world. What is great about these nights is that you hear other vocalists. It’s always nice to see what others are doing. Amsterdam is like a warm blanket.”
Je veux Flâner – Quinzième edition
When: October 30, 19:30
Where: North Sea Jazz Club, Pazzanistraat 1
Entrance: Diner à €48,50 (19:30) | Danser tôt à €16,00 (21:00) | Danser tard à €13,00 (23:00)
More info: Facebook event
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