Signed to Dirty Hit records in 2018, Ama has released three EPs since her promising career kicked off at the mere age of 18. Her latest drop, Vs Everything, borne out of a period in which she felt she was at constant odds with the world around her, shakes the ground with its playful beats and dreamy vocals. The EP, comprised of four songs, each portraying a different version of a battle cry, echoes a vulnerability alongside an overarching strive to stay true; an element that remains central to Ama’s creative endeavours.
Raised in West London and fed a multitude of musical expression from an early age, it is no surprise that Ama’s musical prowess heralds her as one to watch as she expands her repertoire, soon to delve into the realms of self-production. Opening up about lockdown, the highs and lows of modern life and her desire to provide joy to anyone who listens, Ama chats to us about forging her way in the world, her arms raised in fight.
Your EP Vs Everything dropped on January 29th – what a way to start the new year! How have you been feeling since the release?
I’ve been feeling really happy that it's finally out! I’ve just been focusing on what I want to do with the year and where I want 2021 to take me, fresh 2021 energy!
How would you describe the EP?
I wrote the EP in a period where it felt like I was fighting everything, myself, dreams, relationships, doubts and I think the EP really represents that emotional spectrum we all have, I think with this project I managed to tap into a more free and even more honest element with my writing.
With Dreams vs Reality – it's vulnerability, wanting things to turn out well, believing in your vision even when you’re not there yet. The beats per minute capture the rage and anger of being in a toxic relationship, somebody that you care about and love but there is also a lot of friction, it’s just not working and thinking about how it might be time to break up. Facts is that it is all about reflection and honesty with yourself, me owning up to being very stubborn and asking to be held accountable when I mess up. And, finally, World League, being the euphoria of being surrounded by people that you love and all believing in each other and their talents.
The music video for World League is set in a go-karting rink, while Facts has you solo, with boxing gloves. This fighting imagery you use, coupled with the name of your EP, Vs Everything, strikes a cohesion in its concept. Can you tell us more about where these ideas came from?
It all goes back to fighting, that was the main counterpoint for all the visuals. Being in a battle as life will always throw you different challenges. With Facts it made sense for it to be more solo as it is more about reflection and owning up to your flaws. However, there is strength in numbers and World League really is all about community, a celebration of friendship and the love I have for my team, we’re all on this journey together… I couldn’t think of a better sport to symbolise that than a racing team! Plus it was really fun to shoot and I think really captured the raw energy of the friendship that lies underneath the song.
What do you hope your listeners will experience or take away when listening to your music?
With this EP, I hope that there will be songs on there that anyone who’s listening can turn to at different points when their feeling different emotions and for there to be something in each of the songs that can resonate with them. I want people to walk away from my music feeling uplifted. I think all of the songs have a positive tone underneath them, even BPM where there is literally screaming, there is also a lot of resolution to those emotions of anger.
Your last EP Screenluv, released in 2019, is about love in the digital age. This subject seems ever more apt now as this past year has escalated the reality of living behind the screen. How did you find having to adapt to the ‘new normal?’ What has lockdown been like for you?
Lockdown has been intense, to say the least. I have this theory that because we’re doing a smaller range of physical activities our brains are compensating by making us feel the emotions we have even more extreme, so there definitely has been extreme highs and lows this past 11 months. I’ve spent the large majority of this period of time on devices, however, it's been pretty productive, at some points (laughs). I’ve been working on improving my music production as that was and still is something I’m not the most confident in, and I’m excited to say that the next song I drop will be completely produced by me!
Unfortunately, there have been a lot of screens and not so much ‘luv,’ it’s not really the best time in history to be dating right now, but it definitely is a great time to be working on yourself, and healing through anything that needs to be healed. Lately, I have been taking a break from the screens more often and journaling, also I’ve got a few books piling up in my room now that I’m starting to get through.
You grew up in West London and have spoken in previous interviews about being raised in a musical household. Has your family influenced your musical style?
I think it's influenced how open I am to all different sounds, there has always been such a vast amount of different music going on around me. It certainly proved to me that there is no linear way to do things and inspiration can be drawn from a multitude of places, not just what’s hot right now, it’s important to make from the sounds and the things that draw me towards them because the options are infinite.
What else inspires your work? Any musicians in particular?
Feeling definitely is the overriding motivation behind my work. However, artists like Kelela and Doja Cat inspired me a lot when I first started making my own music now 5 years ago, these were women that I saw taking pop and R&B and making it their own, experimenting with the sounds and creating freely. I remember I would tune into Doja’s periscopes and she would be making beats and writing live, sometimes she’d ask for lyric ideas and I was in them comments (laughs). Right now some women who are really inspiring me are Oklou and Eartheater.
What's your first memory of music – either creating or listening?
My memory honestly is terrible, especially with something like music that has always been around for me… My mum has always constantly every waking moment been playing worship music around the house, my sister was always playing something I had never heard before that was super cool and then I would go see my dad instruments were always involved. I remember though when I recorded my first song Dreams, it was to a beat my sister had made and I instantly fell in love with it when she showed me, we then recorded it in her bedroom a few months later with this mic she had that she would never let me use unsupervised (laughs).
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Since you started recording and releasing your own music at a young age, what is something you’ve learnt from self-recording?
Sometimes I can definitely get in my own head, especially if I am expecting perfection from myself it can get quite overwhelming and take forever, I’m still trying to teach myself to do that less because a lot of that is just in my head I reckon. But when recording on my own, something I’ve learnt is definitely the vibe is what’s the most important and not to lose that in the search for 'the perfect vocal.'
If you could go back to when you released your first single and give yourself some advice – what would it be?
It would be: keep going, things will happen at the right time, just keep true.
What’s the process of creation like for you? Talk us through the steps of creating a track.
Every time it's different, especially now with lockdown I’m not really doing sessions with any of the producers I usually work with. But, lately, sometimes a melody will just come to me and I’ll record it down, or either I will just start writing to some chords or a bassline or a bassline will come to me and I’ll start writing around that and once the song is fully written I’ll start building the production or send over to a friend to help build it and then the song starts taking form.
Your sound has developed since you released Monochrome back in 2019, in a short space of time. What’s next for you musically?
I think as an artist just as any other human we all grow, learn new things, expand our tastes and mature, with monochrome that song is definitely when I felt like I was finding my feet as an artist and making music that was actually mine. That feeling has only continued to happen as I have made more music and I have become more confident sonically with experimenting and knowing more what I like. It still is all about what feels right and I couldn’t tell you exactly what’s next, I just know I want it to be bright and colourful.
What are your hopes for the future?
My hopes for the future are definitely for my music to continue to evolve and reach as many people as possible, I want to be able to provide joy and love sonically. I also would like to begin writing and co-writing for other artists, as that really is one of my favourite parts about making music, the writing.