“I always knew that one day we were going to do something. And when you reached out to me about ‘You’ve Got To Feel’, I mean, it just kind of felt perfect,” Amber Mark says to Empress Of (real name Lorely Rodriguez) in the latest edition of NME’s Friends Like These. “Because the song was exactly what I had been feeling.”
‘You’ve Got To Feel’, the pair’s dynamic soul-pop collaboration, was one of the most powerful singles of 2020. Released last October, a week ahead of the US presidential election, it spoke to the ongoing political tensions in States. The creative process behind the anthemic track was a cathartic experience for both Mark and Rodrigeuz.
Rodriguez elaborates on the song’s meaning: “A huge thing for me is not being apathetic. And I can feel us all collectively moving on… just because we have a new president doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that we should still be fighting for.”
The collaborators bonded over a similar worldview whilst recording the track last year, and gradually developed a close friendship. Rodriguez explains to Mark: “Something I love about you as an artist and a human being is that you’re so vocal about everything you feel. I wanted to collaborate with you on this project because I felt a kinship with how you were dealing with the things that I was dealing with. You use your music to empower yourself first, and then everyone else.
“I don’t usually make outwardly political things, but it was just something I needed to do,” she continues. “And I was really happy that I could do it with you… I know we’ll probably work on something again, but I’m just happy that we have this [song] as a starting point.”
Mark responds: “The song has a beautiful message in terms of how you didn’t even have to go into like, left versus right, and it sparked the feeling you get when you see compassion,” she says. “It was exactly what I wanted in a song that talks about the political state that we’re in. I feel like it has exactly what I wanted the message to be because no one really knows what we have to do to find the answers.”
For this instalment of NME’s Friends Like These series (which you can watch in full above), the vocalists also discussed their favourite artists of all time, releasing music in lockdown, and what motivates them as musicians.
-Empress Of and Amber Mark’s ‘You’ve Got To Feel’ is out now