Amber Mark on new EP ‘Conexão’, Trump and what to do if somebody thinks your song is about them

Honest, eloquent and impossibly talented, Amber Mark is a breath of fresh air. Her 2017 EP ‘3:33am’ was an impressive blend of R&B and Motown, as she bravely tackled the devastation of the death of her mother in 2013. Now on her latest release, ‘Conexão’ (which means connection in Portuguese, btw) we see Amber tackling the next tackle of her life, accompanied by rich Bossa Nova rhythms and soaring romantic instrumentals.

We caught up with Amber to find out about her latest release and what it’s like when somebody thinks you’ve written a song about them.

You wrote, produced and performed every part of  ‘Conexão’. How important is it for you to have control across everything?

I definitely think I’m the most creative when I do it on my own, but I’m trying to start working with other producers for the future. But I personally enjoy it the most when I do it by myself, but that’s just because I can be weird and not feel embarrassed about it!

I feel like I get more insecure when there’s other people in the room, whereas when I’m by myself I feel like I can try things out and not feel like I’m wasting people’s time. So I think that’s what the difference is.

How does ‘Conexão’ differ to your last EP, ‘3:33’?

The subject is different – it’s the next chapter of my life. It definitely has to do a lot more with romance and stuff like that.

After my mum had passed I ended up with the ups and downs of dealing with her loss, I felt like I was never going to find love like that again so I shut myself off to that whole side of my life, and then came to the realisation, in starting to date someone, that I would find love again it would just be in a different shape or form, and it could still be very strong.

So I think I really wanted to write about that connection of finding love again and being in love and getting that comfortable with someone and the ups and downs of it, feeling under appreciated and stuff like that in different relationships that I’ve gone through in these few years. So that was the difference between the EP 3:33, which was dealing with grief and loss, and then this was the next chapter of my life right now, finding love again.”

Amber Mark press shot

Do you have people ever ask: “by the way, is this song about me?”

Yeah…

How do you react when that happens?

I have to tell the truth! Sometimes it’s weird, one of those songs was about a guy I used to date, ‘Love Me Right’, and he actually responded pretty well. I was really afraid to show him the song; but when he listened to it he actually really liked it. And then I apologised to him and he was like “no, it’s fine, you’re an artist!”

Have you ever had people think songs are about them and you’re like “no this is literally nothing to do with you”?

Yeah that’s happened with my current boyfriend; but it was a song that was negative. It was a random song I’d done with someone else that’s not even out. It wasn’t like I was the one writing all the lyrics, I was working with someone, and I remember showing the song to my boyfriend and he was like “is this about our life”…and was like ‘What? No! This is nothing to do with us!’ there was somebody else writing with me, it’s like ‘you’re crazy!’

Amber Mark press shot

What’s it like being a young American at the moment?

It’s different because I live in New York – one of the cities where it’s like “I don’t understand how this happened!” Everyone I know is against him [Trump], but I really realised how American America is when I travelled around it. I’d never really done that, I’d travelled around Europe and Asia but I’d never been to Wisconsin. So it’s definitely weird.

It’s horrible to hear on the news everyday something new and worse that he’s trying to accomplish. And it’s not just him, it’s everybody involved in the government. Just politics in general is a disgusting thing. It’s weird for me to comprehend someone being able to hurt someone like that. I could never know someone who could hurt someone else and not feel like a horrible person. These people are numb to that side of their emotions.

People are entitled to their own opinions and what they believe in but it’s very hard when it’s something that logically does not make sense; but talking about it is always good. I love seeing the videos of people who go and talk to these neo-Nazis because they’re like “I’m just here to have a conversation and understand.” Having a conversation about it and talking about your emotions without judgement. You have to be able to be completely open because they’re not going to be, but you could turn a new leaf in their life.

Amber Mark’s Conexão EP is out