If Katy Perry and Taylor Swift had a child…
A few days ago somebody send me a message on twitter to check out “this artist” called Meri Amber. Since I’m always looking out for good new music, I looked her up.
Let me say, I have honestly never heard or seen an artist just like her. Most of the people I usually get in touch with for promotion or such things, count as urban artists. But since I don’t limit myself to any genre of music, of course I’ll promote a geek pop singer, if I like what she’s doing. My only condition is genuity of the artists and their work.
If you like pop music and you haven’t heard of Meri Amber before, there’s a very good chance you won’t have to wait much longer until she’ll cross your radar. Well, other than this blog.
Meri Amber is a young, ambitious geek pop singer from Sidney, Australia.
Sidenote: Could it be, Australians and Germans are getting more popular on mainstream entertainment??
Pop music, just like rap, is one of the most over-saturated segments of the music market. To stand out and actually achieve something is a great challenge. Needless to say, that winning a People’s Choice Award at the Australian Independent Music Awards speaks volumes. You got to do a mountain of things and properly as well. Meri Amber does so.
Meri Amber’s music is pop. It embraces and embodies everything about pop culture, even uses pop culture sound-bits in her music as well as her lyrics.
Even though it’s a little unusual for me these days, I like her fresh, funny, geek pop sound. It was a fresh breeze and will continue to be, I’ll keep an ear out for her!
Gladly Meri Amber was happy to agree to do a little interview with me, that you can read (unedited) in the following.
You’re obviously a very creative mind, with your music and cartoons, when did you decide to share your talent and why?
Back in the day (I think I was sixteen) I had a myspace profile and was putting myself out there because that’s what everyone was doing. I ended up trying the “normal route” afterwards and studied law/accounting for some time. I largely stooped sharing my work at that point, which was fair enough because I don’t think I was ever focused enough or saw true meaning to it. But, whilst trying an office job I really realised that music and art is what I’m meant to be doing. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and would do it in all my spare time. I think it’s really then that I made a conscious decision to try and create the highest quality art that I can and try and find a way to bring it to the world. Properly planned and put out with thought and purpose.
I know artists don’t necessarily need professional training, but it helps. Did or do you have any professional training?
I had a wonderful creative education when I was younger. I went to a performing arts high school, through the Talent Development Project talent school and had plenty of private lessons. There’s grading systems for music down under called AMEB and ANZCA and I went through all their exams in a number of instruments (singing, piano, flute, music theory and bass guitar). I was one of those obsessive kids that got really into learning as much as I could about music and I guess that’s never stopped. I haven’t formally gone to a university or studied a diploma in music, I’m busy right now trying to create as much high quality content as I can, though I wouldn’t rule out going and learning in the future.
“Being a musician is basically coming up with crazy ideas and then acting on them”, is my favorite quote so far, any comment?? What is crazy, really?
I think doing something crazy is about doing something that rational minds would find a way to rationalise you out of doing. Every song-writer starts with a blank sheet of paper. The crazy ones are the ones that disregard the voices in their mind saying things like “you have to make a song everyone will like”, “you can’t write a song about aliens”, “you can’t stop midway through a song and scream” etc. There are a number of songs, videos and concepts that I’ve created that many people would say were crazy because they might alienate people, take a novel approach, or challenge the way they think. I say, good.
We have something else than music in common. Law school. How did it go for you?
I’m a bit of a dweeb at heart. I really enjoyed the “school” part of law school. There were a few long lectures and tutorials that were pushing everyone’s attention limit, but in general the material was really interesting and well taught. I wasn’t able to handle Criminal Law as well (which was many people’s favourite) I haven’t been de-sensitized enough. But, I haven’t got a single complaint about the theoretical and academic side of law school in general at all! I simply found the office lifestyle after when you go into industry was something that didn’t suit my character (nothing wrong with the profession itself, it simply wasn’t for me).
Please tell me your secrets of time management. I need some.
Haha, don’t we all! I have a diary that is my lifeblood. All my music releases are planned ahead for over a year. The posts are also planned for and I write them out for each day (many months in advance when they are made) so I just have to open my diary and see what to post online for the day when it comes. I have a Google Drive with all my Meri Amber assets in case I need to share them with any team members and a dropbox with the music/visual content in case I’m sharing them with another creative or journalist. As a musician, it’s worth creating a few standard documents like what your setup is (for venues) and what your bio is (short, medium, long). I also find the time taken out to make proper lyric sheets and chord charts pays off. I have a wonderful checkbox grid with all my daily tasks (yoga/pilates, practicing all my instruments and music theory) to make sure I do them every day that I’d also recommend to anyone (with their own daily routine tasks). I’m still not perfect. Cat gifs are awfully distracting and when a routine gets broken it’s a genuine effort to make sure it’s patched back.
Patrick Cantazariti, your partner, who designed your website and is also your partner in crime for social media, how did you find him, how did he become your partner? Artists need teams but sometimes don’t know where to start if there are no possible team members already in sight. Any suggestion?
Haha, it’s a funny story. I met Patrick on a train. He began speaking to me because he saw we had the same phone and I quickly found out that he’s an IT guy. I asked him, as he was an IT guy, if he could fix the injustice that is being caused by Pac-Man to the world. The fact that Pac-Man is able to eat continuously and not grow fat didn’t seem fair to me. So we got to know each other over time as Patrick made me Fat Pac-Man (where Pac-Man gets fatter and eventually can’t move through the maze unless he finds a treadmill). I’ve posted recently on some Facebook groups looking for potential band members and can definitely feel you on the statement that it’s hard to find team members. When you start to get some success (it doesn’t have to be much), people do start to emerge that want to work with you because they’ve seen what you’re capable of and want a part in it. But, you have to make sure that you’re both on the same page and in it for the right reasons before you fully commit to working together as a team.
Who else would you like to work with, businesswise or artistically?
I would LOVE to work with the producer Greg Wells, though I may need to become a pop superstar first. He’s worked on some super clever pop music albums that have a real depth and purpose to them, which is something I’d love to see how he does. I’d also love to collaborate with other people in the geeky music world like the Doubleclicks, Kirby Krackle and Jonathan Coulton, it’d be great fun working with other people who are proud to write songs about DnD, Spoilers and Ikea as opposed to the norm. Though, I’m interested in working with people who don’t have a big name for themselves too. There’s some incredible talent out there that hasn’t had the spotlight shining brightly on it (yet). I’m fortunate to be working with an incredible indie comic artist called Nathan Seabolt on an upcoming zombie music video and a brilliant Lego artist called Bricktascale on an upcoming Lego video. Suffice to say, I’m excited.
When I look at and listen to your work I tend to think: “If Katy Perry had a little sister in Australia…”, which is meant as a compliment. Would you call that accurate?
I am greatly flattered! I’m a big Katy Perry fan, I have all her albums and movie too. I think her song writing is something truly phenomenal, heartfelt and clever. Her lyrics show a real maturity in them that you don’t see enough of in pop music. For example, most pop songs are about bashing the boyfriend/girlfriend that has done you wrong and are very black and white. I think she’s captured a more realistic sort of relationship and maturity in her song “It Takes Two” when she says “It takes two, two sides to every story, not just you, I can’t keep ignoring, I admit half of it, I’m not that innocent”. She also smashed her Superbowl performance and showed the world she has no problem reproducing her recorded songs perfectly live.
I like what you do, that’s why we’re doing this, but we all know there are trolls all over the internet. For the younger audience, how do you deal with bullies?
If it’s on the internet it’s easy, just ignore it. Don’t respond unless there is a genuine reason (i.e. they misunderstood what you were doing) and if they keep persisting after you respond, just ignore them then. If it’s in the real world it can be a bit harder to ignore. You have to be diplomatic and strong in that you have to be able to stand up for yourself to a bully when they are putting you down in front of a large crowd and you have no choice (I know how hard it is!). You also have to be able to hold back your mind from getting upset and the physical reactions that follow (i.e. tears) if they ever prank you/ tease you/ bully you at all (again, I know how hard it is!). Both online and in the real world, you need to give off the impression that they aren’t effecting you (even if deep inside you feel that they are) in order for them to decide it’s not worth it and move on. This “strength” is sometimes what is needed to be accepted by a tribe or for them to feel it’s too much effort to try and stir you. Trust me, if you do this and persist at it, they will go away. I went through it and the system works. They aren’t worth your energy feeling upset over anyway.
Who produces your music, how to you take on the creative process?
My music is produced in conjunction with a number of people. My first CD I worked with Joey Lewis from King Sound Studios (the Wandering Mini-P), the second CD I worked with John Vella (the Super EP), in the meanwhile I’ve also worked with Gyula Gyorffy on a number of singles (Postcard Singles, I XOX U and more to come!) and I’ve also produced my own work (Love$Accy and more songs that are soon to come as well!). My process is very nit-picky and I feel it sort of has to be with the niche I chose. I like having many sonic and lyrical references, which in a practical sense means I need to find them. I send producers lots of links and sound samples to make sure they know exactly what I want (or alternatively, exactly what they are going to use). My music then becomes more than a neat song with a nice full band arrangement, it becomes a treasure hunt where every listen reveals something new and magical to the curious listener.
Google hangout soon to come!