Amber Ojeda is a California–based recording artist that fuses Pop, R&B, Jazz and electronic music. In 2010 her debut album Here I Am was self released and quickly picked up for international distribution through Sweet Soul Records. Following her debut, Amber landed a coveted spot on Bravo’s emerging singer-songwriter competition series “Platinum Hit.” Biting on the heels of her recent TV appearance, Ojeda released her sophomore album, Space.Bar.Love., which has received nearly three dozen placements in feature films and high-rated TV shows on networks such as ABC, VH1, MTV, Bravo, The CW, Velocity, Oxygen & The Style Network.
As a writer, Amber continues to work with some of the industry’s top musicians and producers including Davy Nathan (Christina Aguilera), Michael Feingold (Jay-Z, Joe Jonas), David Michael Ott (Jussie Smollett) & Kovas (Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown). With an infinite bounty of creative potential in her heart, Amber is also a sought after songwriter frequently called upon to write for other artists and commissioned to create vocal arrangements and lyrics for various projects. Amber is set to release her third studio album, Geminis & Virgins, later this summer. Enjoy our interview with Amber to discuss her musical upbringing, current projects, and her upcoming album, “Geminis & Virgins” available for pre-order before it’s release on August 30th!
Where did your interest in writing and performing sprout from? I have been equally thrilled and terrified of performing since childhood. I am quite private in my personal life, but once I hit the stage a certain energy takes over that lifts away all the anxiety. In regards to writing, I have always loved words. I have piles of journals and diaries saved from a very young age. When I was young my Mom never grounded me. She always sent me to my room to write about the experience that led me to that moment and explain what could be learned from it. It was so boring to me at the time, but looking back now; it was an invaluable lesson in honesty and bullsh*tting!
When did you know you wanted to pursue music professionally? In 2005, I was just starting to write my own songs and got a placement in a movie. It was thrilling!
Who are some of your musical influences, why? My biggest musical influence is/was my Grandfather. I remember riding around with him as a girl and he would sing non-stop the entire drive. I was too young to understand the meaning of the songs, but I felt what he was singing. I can still hear him when I close my eyes.
As far as modern mainstream influences go, I have always loved Janet Jackson. She was a big inspiration for me in this record. I love the way she reinvents herself, and truly owns her sexuality.
Tell us about your brand new album, “Geminis & Virgins!” What was the recording/writing process like? “Geminis & Virgins” is a much bolder album than my previous releases. It tightropes the line between softening into and fighting through my fear of forever. There is hardness to some of the tracks that I wear as an armor in own life. I am now learning that you can be strong without being so combative. My man is a Gemini and I am a Virgo, so you can guess where the title is drawn from. ::laughs::
I recorded it with my longtime collaborator and friend David Michael Ott. We have a very special energy in the studio; we usually communicate through music or funny animal videos when we need a break. Each song was written in a single session and usually recorded the same day. I like to begin my writing from his drumbeats; it keeps me wide open for creative options.
Which song would you say was the most challenging to write/record? “Really Listen to Me” was quite raw. I showed up to the studio fuming from a fight and it flew right out of me. To me, you can sense my anger in the pre-chorus. I usually wouldn’t leave a pre wide open like that, but sometimes in a fight silence is more brutal; so we went with it.
Which song do you prefer to play live? Why? I haven’t performed any of these newbies yet, so I will have to get back to you on that! I will say, my favorite to sing in general in the title track.
What is next for you in 2016? My main focus is pushing the album right now. I do write for quite a few other artists, so that is always something I love to be involved with. Hopefully you will hear quite a few of these songs on TV in the next few months as well!