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Written by Mikael Lopez / Photos by Martin Rinman

Amalia has been singing her heart out on record for almost a decade and in almost as many different genres before recently releasing her debut album Art SlaveLast week we had a talk with her about “back then”, when new jack swing rocked her world, and this time she shares some thoughts on music “now” and which artists today are worth the while.

Part Two:
“Fast food music, peer pals & funky females!”

The pop music and commercial R&B that Amalia used to love so much as a teenager has changed, it’s no longer the same music that used to excite her. She calls it “junk food music”, music that gives instant bliss and that everybody’s forgotten next year when the next thing hits.

“I don’t want to say there was more artistic integrity back then, ’cause I don’t think that’s true, I just think commercial major labels were putting out real quality music. I don’t wanna write off all commercial music, it sounds so flippin’ cliché to me. I love Beyoncé’s music. I
need my Ciara sometimes. And Justin Timberlake’s Justified was a solid album.”

“I don’t want to make music that’s disposable. I don’t want to be something that’s chucked in the garbage twenty years from now. “There was that one hit wonder girl.” I really wanna be involved with musicians and artists that are going to stand the test of time.”

Amalia – I’m the Woman (Album Preview)

(Continued below:)

Amalia is still inspired by soulful singers. At one point she favoured only male singers and didn’t listen to any female singers “for a year or so”, but today the sexes get an equal amount of love. Her favourites just tend to work in the underground or make beats in their bedrooms these days.

“When you’re a kid you’re looking up to all these artists and you’re awed and they’re so untouchable. I still look up to my peers, but I feel like I can be friends with them now.”

“I love Peven Everett, he’s a house singer. I love his voice. He’s just so free he can do whatever he wants. He doesn’t even need music with him, he can sing acapella and I’m happy.

Amalia – Psychoanalyze (Album Preview)

Amalia has always had an ear to the broken beat movement out of west London that emerged in the mid 90s. The sound combined a little bit of everything, mainly jazz, funk and electronic influences, to create a new wild and creative style that was popularized by artists like Bugz in the Attic.

“I just fell in love with all the vocalists on those tracks. Bembe Segue is a huge inspiration to me. The music is so funky and can be very complex, so to be able to sing on a lot of that music you have to have skill. I think that’s why I admire those vocalists. Their rhythm, their notes.”

With all the talk about the record industry, new genres popping up every week and the what’s-hot-what’s-not mentality today it’s easy to lose track and forget what’s important, but Amalia knows exactly why she’s doing what she’s doing.

“I’m doing this to have fun. To connect to people and leave something behind. It’s the main reason that I make music or, I think, why anybody does what they’re really passionate about. I think if I did something else I would just suck and be miserable.”

Amalia – Luxurious [AD Bourke Remix] (Album Preview)

Amalia’s debut album
Art Slave is outon Tokyo Dawn Records and is sometimes referred to as ‘cosmic funk queen supreme’ by her minions. She alsohas a track on compilation The Boogie (Tokyo Dawn Records)and appears on both AD Bourke’s Mirage EP (Citinite) and Opolopo’s new album Voltage Controlled Feelings (Tokyo Dawn Records).

(People who should be funkin’ up your life according to Amalia):

Reggie B
/ Deborah Jordan / Eska / Fatima / Paul Mac Innes & Stray / Gregory Porter