Grammy winner singer-songwriter spoke with SDSU music students over Zoom

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Ryan Hardison

Grammy winning singer-songwriter Ambré was in a Zoom meeting with SDSU students.

by Ryan Hardison, Staff Writer

Students may be going a little stir crazy, but San Diego State is offering interactive virtual events to help students stay sane.

On Monday evening, SDSU professor Maya Ginsberg held a Zoom discussion and question and answer discussion with Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Ambré. 

The other Zoom participants included students in Ginsberg’s history of Motown and history of hip-hop classes along with other music majors. This gave these students a chance to learn more about a rising artist and the workings of the music industry.

The 23-year-old star was born and raised in New Orleans where she found a passion for music while performing in choir and marching band during high school. Although she didn’t enjoy singing at first, Ambré said singing with others gave her validation and inspired her to pursue a possible career in the field.

In 2014, during her senior year of high school, Ambré released her first few songs on SoundCloud and planned on attending film school once she graduated. However, after graduation, her music career took off. 

“I wasn’t anticipating it getting super huge, it took me a while to post my music online because I’m a perfectionist,” Ambré said.

Soon she was contacted on Instagram by Swagg R’celious, a producer for H.E.R. after he came across Ambré’s songs on SoundCloud. After exchanging a few demos, H.E.R.’s manager decided to fly Ambré to New York to write for H.E.R. which was a shocking turn of events.

2015 proved to be an eventful year for Ambré. After being flown to New York to collaborate with H.E.R., she wrote the songs “U” and “Changes” for H.E.R.’s self-titled album. 

After writing for H.E.R, Ambré released her first mixtape “Wanderlust” on SoundCloud and a month later she opened for Kehlani on her “You Should Be Here” tour. While on the road Ambré found out that she was nominated for a Best R&B Album Grammy for her songwriting contributions on H.E.R.’s album. She later won the award. 

“I didn’t plan on coming out of high school and going straight on tour, it just happened super organically,” Ambré said.

Since then, Ambré has dropped two more projects, and last year she signed her fast major record label deal with Roc Nation. After joining Roc Nation in November 2019, her 10-track EP “Pulp” was released, and it featured G-Eazy, Jean Deaux and BJ the Chicago Kid.

Though Ambré is usually categorized as an R&B artist, she considers herself to be very fluid and wants to avoid limiting herself to one genre. Most of this inspiration comes from one of her favorite artists, Andre 3000, and his work as a part of the legendary rap duo, Outkast.

“As far as genre, Outkast created their own lane, so I don’t want to be like R&B is what I am, I want my music to speak for itself,” Ambré said.

Halfway through the discussion, Ginsberg played a few of Ambré’s music videos for the audience, including her song “Band Practice” which Ambré said is a metaphorical song about love. 

“It’s about the concept of rehearsing and practicing a song compared to learning how to love people in general,” Ambré said.

Professor Ginsberg held the Zoom meeting with her students and the guest star.

One factor that inspires Ambré’s music is her passion for filmmaking, helping her add a visual story component to her songwriting. Inspired by films like “Eyes Wide Shut” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” she wants to make her projects a visual experience for fans.

“I want to create my own movie, so when people listen to (a song) they could close their eyes and come into my own world,” Ambré said. “I want the songs to feel like a journey.”

In the last 15 minutes of the session, Ginsberg gave students a chance to ask Ambré questions about her career and aspirations.

When asked about what keeps her going as a musician, Ambré said that since it’s the only thing she’s good at, she’s not planning on stopping anytime soon.

“What makes me keep going is the fact that I love music so much and I’m not good at anything else,” Ambré said. “I suck at having a job, so I know I’m doing the one thing I can do.”

Despite still being relatively new to the music industry, and to Roc Nation, Ambré has high hopes for her next project.

“They’ve really been helping my creative process by providing me with so many resources, and more often than not it’s been a perfect match,” Ambré said.

Listen to Ambré’s new song “Color Blind” featuring Maeta on Spotify or Apple Music 

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