I recently had a fantastic chat with teen singer/songwriter Amber T, whose latest single “Get Me” released this July. She’s an ambitious and unique talent who didn’t let a pesky thing like a pandemic stop her from new collaborations or prepping herself for a real life stage.
We filmed her playing a full set over at the Black Heart during lockdown – watch Amber’s full set in HD here.
You’ve been writing music since you were thirteen years old and performing since even before then. Do you remember what it was that made you want to pursue a music career?
It’s been the main thing in my life since I was really young, like four or five. The thing I enjoy the most is performing. Above anything I just like performing in front of crowds and people. So yeah, ever since I was little I’ve just really loved it and there’s not really been anything else that made me feel the same way. It’s always just been music music music.
Who were your early influences? Have they changed much over the years?
I used to listen to a lot of Ellie Goulding when I was really young. Her older stuff obviously. She’s got such a unique voice and I always think that she’s one of the reasons that my voice is slightly different because I used to just listen to her nonstop and then as I got a bit older I started appreciating rock music a lot more. I used to really despise it, I was like, ‘no, rock music, eurgghh’ and then as I got to secondary school, I started appreciating it a lot more.
I listened to Panic at the Disco when I was in year seven, which was probably the first rockier music I listened to. I was like, ‘oh I can really appreciate the different levels to this’. You get so used to pop music nowadays being very synthesized, you know, with drums and whatever and hearing real drums I thought was really cool. And then I’ve always liked The 1975 since I was about nine years old. My brothers used to play them to me a lot and then as I got a bit older I listened to all their albums and I’ve seen them twice at the 02. Proper fangirl, me.
Would you say that that blend of Ellie Goulding mixed with the rock bands, has really inspired your sound and who you want to be yourself as an artist?
Oh 100%. I think ‘cause I’m so young, I’m able to take influences from stuff that’s current now. I really appreciate Beabadoobee, her style of music. She takes a lot of influences from 90s grunge rock which I think is really interesting. And still manages to make it fit today’s youthful sound. I really think that’s cool. I’m becoming more open with what I listen to and discovering more things that I can appreciate and take into account for when I make my own songs.
What is your creative process when writing? Has it changed much since when you were younger?
Well before it was mainly four chords on the guitar – the same four chords – and then I’d write some basic lyrics that rhyme. Which, nothing wrong with that obviously, but I sort of matured a bit since then. I’ve gotten a lot more familiar with using different digital workspaces and creating music and demos, that way that I can turn them into proper songs.
And songwriting-wise, definitely as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to write more maturely. As well as different songwriting techniques that I’ve noticed being used in other songs, I’ve been listening to and adapting that into my own creative process.
You’re also the youngest (and one of the first) music ambassadors for Yamaha Music London. Congrats!
Oh it’s honestly insane. It was International Women’s Day and I was scouted to represent young females as I can play guitar, keyboard and ukulele and I taught myself how to play those instruments when I was about 10 or 11, just from YouTube and things like that.
And then after that I think they really just liked me I guess and offered me an ambassador contract and I was able to pick out equipment that I really wanted to use and try out. I’m so lucky to be able to have that because I’ve always wanted all this sort of stuff and being able to actually have it and use it is just amazing.
You collaborated with Galaxy Thief last year as well for your previous single ‘Shaken’. Did that project begin through your Yamaha Ambassador connection or did you know those guys beforehand?
I knew those guys beforehand, we just met at different gigs and stuff and when I did my fundraiser for Teenage Cancer Trust in 2019, so we kept in contact with each other. They sent over a track and they were like ‘we’re not really sure on this but what do you think?’ and I was like ‘oh I love this, I’d love to hop on this and give it a go’. So I took their lyrics and added in mine and then we went into the studio, pre-lockdown, just literally like a week before everything shut down again in November, recorded the single in two days and it’s obviously come out now and is doing really well. It hit 100k just a few days ago I think.
Tell us about your new single, ‘Get Me’?
This is a song I wrote not too long ago and it’s probably one of my favourite songs I’ve ever written. Normally, I’ll write a demo and be like ‘oh I’m not sure on this, maybe I’ll go in a studio and make it a bit better, it’ll sound a little bit more me’ but this one was one that I wrote and was like ‘this is so me, I love everything about this’.
That’s always a great sign, if you actually love your own songs, ‘cause it’s very rare. I was lucky enough to film a music video for it just a few weeks ago so, that’s gonna be really exciting and I can’t wait for everyone else to hear it because I’ve been waiting months to get it out there and it’s quite different to what I’ve released before in some ways but it still sits with my current sound.
So after the last sixteen months, how has it been for you getting back finally to real stages and not just more virtual live streams?
I had an outside performance a few weeks ago and it’s probably the first time I’ve played my guitar for longer than maybe half an hour! It was an hour’s performance and I powered through but at the end I was like, ‘wow my hands hurt a lot’. I’ve been training my vocals recently to get the resilience back in it because I’m not used to singing for this amount of time. Initially, with performing live, you’ve got to sing slightly louder. It’s weird trying to readjust again. Now it’s back on track.
Have you got a dream venue or headline slot that you’d love to do?
Ooh. Gosh, I mean, like any other artist, one day, hopefully I’d step foot on the Wembley stage or the 02 stage, that would be lovely. But I’m going to Reading Festival this year with a friend so maybe next year or in the next few years I can be on stage instead of in the crowd.
What were some of your favourite lockdown discoveries or guilty pleasures? Did you uncover any hidden gem albums or movies or even junk food TV?
I did a thing, I was like you know what, I’ve got however long off school, off everything, how about I listen to an album every day, like a different album every day of artists that I’ve always been interested in but never really had the time to discover their music. I listened to a whole range of artists, like Dua Lipa’s put out an album, which I thought was great, Five Seconds of Summer, listened to all their old stuff. All these artists who were popular when I was a little bit younger and never really got the chance to listen to. I really got into Tame Impala as well during the lockdown, I listened to all his albums, I was like ‘wow he’s cool’. A lot of 1975 I quite obviously listened to… I also really got into Cage The Elephant, I thought they were a really cool band.
Any comfort albums as well that you always return to?
I mean, The 1975 – Duluxe album, first album – is always my go-to whenever I’m feeling in need of something. It’s like, ‘how about I listen to these songs for about the 8000th time’. [laughs]
There’s always that risk of listening to something so much that you’re like, either I’ll love this forever or all of a sudden it’ll just click and I can never hear it again.
I’m fascinated by how different musicians have responded to this forceful period of downtime. How was it for you in general?
I think, in some ways, as horrible as it was not being able to perform, it was beneficial. Everyone was on their phones. People weren’t at school, people weren’t at work. People were able to be on their phones all the time, so when you’re posting, ‘oh I’ve got this new song out’, people just seemed a little bit more… not interested but more interactive with what was going on… particularly when I released ‘Jigsaw’, that was peak pandemic time. I got a lot of interaction from that compared to whenever I’ve released stuff before because people weren’t busy. They had time to share it, they had time to listen to it, they had time to watch the video, add it to their playlist. And even now, ‘Jigsaw’s’ still reaching 160 thousand [listens] I believe, which is crazy. It’s my first single so for that to happen has been so great, you know?
Yeah, a little bit more of a captive audience I guess as well. Everyone’s looking for an outlet.
Have you been thinking about your debut EP or full-length album? Is there a particular approach you’re hoping to take or story you’d like to tell with it?
I think for now, I’ve only put out two singles of my own and a collab one and ‘Get Me’ will be my third solo single coming, so definitely. I’m in the studio, building my work and watching numbers rising with my listenership. I’d definitely love to have a collection of songs out.
What shows have you got coming up?
I’ve got a range of Foodies Festivals coming up. I believe I have one on the 17th of July in Winchester. I have a gig there. And then I have the Cambridge Foodies Festival on the 25th July, so I’m looking forward to them ‘cause I know they’re quite big events and Scouting for Girls will be there, people like that.
You can follow Amber across Instagram (ambertitchener), Facebook (ambertmusic) and Twitter (@ambertmusic). Her official website www.ambertmusic.com features links and information about all her single releases, upcoming live shows and embedded Spotify playlists. New single ‘Get Me’ is now available across Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.