Interview with singer/songwriter Amber Jay

Full of energy and life, Liverpool based Amber Jay is a really exciting up and coming alt-pop artist. Her new single ‘Equal’ transports her sound to a groovier space than her EP ‘Never Too Far From a Dark Thought’, whilst retaining the atmospheric melancholia that underpins all of her music. Here she is chatting to co-founder of AM, Hermione about her style and what inspires her.

Hey, thanks for talking to us here at AM! Your music has been described as ‘genre bending alt-pop,’ for some of our readers who may not have heard your music before, how would you describe your sound?

I’d say it’s different and unpredictable. At times it can be haunting and emotive but also energetic and whacky.

What made you want to go into music?

I didn’t really choose to go into it as a career. Over time I was doing it as a hobby and just as something I enjoyed. Especially the songwriting aspect because I could do that privately and it didn’t ask anything from me like performing or recording does.

It was other people’s encouragement and belief in me combined with my own love for songwriting and eventually all the other aspects that made me go into music.

As a young artist what has been your career highlight so far?

Probably getting played on Radio 1. That’s huge for me, for anyone! I used to drive delivery vans and all I would do is listen to Radio 1 in the van and then one day I got an email saying I was going to get played and I couldn’t believe it.

Oh and another highlight would probably be when my high school music teacher started following me on Instagram. She’s incredible and really encouraged and believed in me at school. Everyone who has been taught by her knows how much of a special teacher she is.

What artists/sounds have influenced your style the most and is there anything in particular inspiring you artistically at the moment?

People like Marika Hackman, The Japanese House and Billie Eilish were the first sort of artists i saw myself in. I noticed how their voices weren’t these huge Beyonce or Lady Gaga voices but still had cool and interesting productions behind them. That was a turning point for sure. I’ve just discovered Orla Gartland. I think she’s really cool. I like how all her songs are really distinctive and have something unique in each of them. 

You tackle some really relevant topics in your new track ‘Equal,’ where did the inspiration come from for that track and what were you exploring?

 Equal was first inspired by the Netflix film ‘Knock Down The House’, which showcases women in America running for political office. They were facing a lot of misogyny and I could relate to the situations they were coming up against. So after the film finished I ran upstairs and wrote the chorus. I wrote the chorus with the message that we can be anything, regardless of gender or sexuality or anything. Within the verses I wanted to comment on other issues like gender and pronouns, sexuality, my perspective on those human experiences that are often discriminated against.

I find huge frustration in the fact that myself and others suffer from societal norms created by people who are now dead and we still live by them. We consume negative stereotypes about certain identities through our childhood and adolescence. To then find ourselves a victim to our own thoughts, desperately trying to deconstruct the harmful ideas about the people we then grow up to be.

‘Equal’ also has an absolutely banging groove to it- does the music or the lyrics come first for you?

The lyrics came first and it existed acoustically for a while then I took it to producer Kurran Karbal, who works his magic every time.

What’s next for you – any plans for the future/releases on the way?

Another EP next year for sure. I’m delving into some unusual topics in the songs I’m writing at the moment and so I’m excited to see not just how the songs turn out but the visuals too. I take more care with the songs I’m writing now and I’m more intentional. My interests are changing and my perspectives on the world are evolving and so I’m excited to write more about those views. I can’t wait to keep adding to and building the world around my music.

Where can our readers find out more about you? (social media links/contact details etc.)

I’m on @iamamberjay across all socials! Thanks so much for having me!

Words by Amber Jay

Photo © Amber Jay

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