I am about to write the most personal narrative to date. I consider myself a music devourer: I need to find novelty and new trends every so often. The body asks me that, there is no more. I can spend most of the hours in which I am awake listening and listening, and that is why a large number of songs reach a time when, exhausted to sound, they begin to diminish the interest in pleasing me. That is, they start to bore me. It is the natural cycle of music. This is the reason why I am always looking for new talents, artists and songs, and so on. One day, fate decided that YouTube's suggestions would recommend me to a stranger: Amber Mark. The song was called “Monsoon”, in collaboration with Mia Mark (also unknown to me, later I would discover that she was not a rapper or singer, but the mother of the artist). What was special about this moment was the personal context in which I lived at that time: I had recently lost my grandmother, an essential part of me. The love of my life. The person who taught me the most in this world. And so, praising her, I could spend my days. I had a hard time overcoming this loss, and at that time the memories, rather than tearing a nostalgic smile on me, they would make me sadly cry. I was in the process of accepting this painful situation, which I was unable to convey in words. But I wasn't aware that pressing the play on the imagen “Monsoon” video clip would change everything a little. And so it was: The first chords of a song that sounded as fragile as intense and melancholic began to sound. I began to notice how my arms’ body hair stood on end and I began to shudder a little. At that time, I didn’t have a good command of English, but I felt a rare connection that made me understand in detail what this beautiful song was about. I could not help it; tears began to sprout from my eyes. “It feels like monsoon everyday”. The connection I felt with this song was the strongest I have ever experienced, and as strange as it sounds, I have always hidden it from the world. A beautiful metaphor related the rainy season in India with the fact of missing someone who is no longer here and mourning this loss, crying with tears as rain was falling from the sky. For me it was the most beautiful thing that has been written and sung. Amber, dedicated this song to her deceased mother, who unites love with pain, both as strong as the torrential precipitations of the Asian country. As the song progressed, the meanings of it seized my memories and sadness, enveloping me and somehow healing the pain I felt. Made a sea of tears, I became another monsoon. But at the end of the song, I felt relief. I think this was the double intention of this young artist: let off steam to heal. I don't know if it was a song or a simple coincidence, but from here I began to change my mentality: I understood that missing someone and crying for the person was nothing more than a nice tribute. A private garden watered by tears, blooming from a pain that translates into affection and nostalgia. I have lost count of how many times I have heard this song, and the admiration I feel for this artist is as great as the good memories I have with my grandmother. I have always believed that the maximum of artists is to connect with their fans through music, make them feel “something special” with their songs, and this moment was, for me, the most important in terms of music-experience relationship personal. So, having said that, I think Amber, whom I usually think of as a small salvation, deserves a nice tribute from me. Here is my narrative about this beautiful surprise.
I think it is necessary to get in position before starting to talk about Amber Mark and thus understand her rich inner world: this young woman grew up watching the sunsets of a thousand completely different places. She has lived in India, Germany or EEUU among others, which has made Amber soak up different cultures and points of view from a very young age, expanding her creative mind to unsuspected horizons. It was after the hard blow that was the death of his mother, painter thangka (a Tibetan Buddhist art form), when she moved to New York and began composing as if it were a kind of therapy. Taking the exotic in a natural way, the singer transferred her duel to her music and was born 3:33 am. In this rich and wonderful EP, each song plays an important role in transmitting the thoughts of our protagonist, reflecting each of them a different emotional dimension. Opening this project with “Regret”, Mark presents a theme as tropical as it is deep; soft and deliciously enveloping. A song that from the first second makes you a participant in the nostalgia that the singer feels. Amber repents and reflects on those things, good and bad, that she has not been able to tell her mother. Mark, took the time with this song, giving way to the adventure that awaits us with listening to this album. Everything is shaken with “Lose My Cool”, where Amber masterfully transmits the anger and rage that the singer felt after the death of her mother. Far away they sound loud, the sounds are lush and warm, which play in an elegant and tropical atmosphere created by a sublime mixture of piano and samba. Usually in this EP, the themes, although they drink of rich tropical sounds, sound dark and sad, given the background of the death of her mother and the grieving process of the artist. Amber, seems clever, unimaginable sounds to the absolute destiny of any person. In this way, the R&B horizons expand in this project, intertwining sweetly with tropical rhythms such as bossa nova, samba or reggae. The balance between gender and meaning, although they may seem contrary, is gracefully achieved. 3:33 am offers an early meaning of nostalgia, depth and reflection, we could even say a little depressing. But this does not mean that their moved sounds cannot invite you to dance. With the next song, “S P A C E” (the spaced game that offers the name of the song offers a little nod of Amber's insight), the singer creates a connective thread between this song and the inside. We can discover that Mark is explaining the phases of frustration and pain that he experienced after her mother's death. With “S P A C E” she explains the anger she felt in “Lose My Cool”: Amber needed to tidy up her thoughts and emotions and only asked for a little space to compose and heal her wounds. After not getting this peace she needed, and going through a great fight with her sister, the singer composed this soul song with Indian influences. Through a base percussion composed of palms, the listener enters this topic. A few seconds later Amber appears in a sinuously majestic voice. Strong and vibrant, the singer pleads for her space: “I've got real big goals / Need to be able / To focus”. No wonder Amber thanked her sister for making her angry, because she had just signed one of the best songs of her career.
The tribute to the stages of pain experienced by Amber Mark in this EP gives the project a tremendously personal environment, and even more, it discovers a totally sensitive soul. The voice of the singer, light and warm, adopts a serious tone, but manages to merge with the tropical sounds of 3:33 am. The game offered with this set, offers Mark a certain old touch, playing without difficulty with genres of yesteryear. In this way, it would be easy to relate Amber Mark with Patti Labelle as well as Jorja Smith or Janelle Monáe. Although to tell the truth there is an indisputable musical figure in her influences: Sade. Her grandmother and mother was the one who discovered this famous singer, who has had a clear influence on Mark: powerful, but silky and relaxing songs that treat love and pain. This last feeling is what we began to feel in the continuation of the EP with “Journey to the unknown”, a long interlude of powerful piano and eastern songs. The song of sadness, the base feeling of all the singer could feel. From this rage and frustration emanated, and Amber apparently cries and laments as a rain begins to sound. Originally titled “soundtrack to the process of dying”, as it was written when her mother went into a coma, Amber transmit the agony and despair of the moments before death. It is the rain that begins in the middle of the song that serves as a link between this song and the next one, the one already mentioned “Monsoon”. There is no silence between the two themes, just as there is no pause between the moment of death and the sadness that this implies: everything happens in a thousandth of a second. The rain is hollow in these two songs symbolizing the tears that run down our cheeks by saying goodbye to a loved one and remembering it later. A rich and sad ballad with which Amber empathizes with the listener while remembering the good times with her mother. What comes after the sadness phase? Understand the loss and go from crying in sorrow to crying in cheerful nostalgia. Here we find the rhythmic and cheerful “Can you hear me?”. An old-school R&B and soul theme where Mark reflects on the education we should receive regarding death. Not a goodbye, but what is it? The singer's lack of faith is the protagonist here: “I'm ’I'm singing, can you hear me mother?”. The final touch is put “Way back”, where our protagonist looks back and analyzes her journey and process. Like the previous six, an original and delicious song, combining dance, R&B and soul. Amber is recomposing, but not totally. The final learning is knowing how to live with that emptiness, not feeling well at all but coping. “I was broken / I was acting up / For good reason / Lost all of my love”. Amber speaks in the past, has managed to know how to live with the lack of her mother.
After her outgoing envelope EP debut, Amber Mark has continued to offer rich themes with tropical backgrounds where she only demonstrates her enormous talent. With Conexao (May 2018), her second EP, the singer offers a natural evolution of her sounds. It is the passage from girl to woman for this New Yorker. The melodies sound more beautiful, more crystalline. Focusing on Bossa Nova and traditional Brazilian music (hence the title), Amber will link this genre with jazz and R&B, including dancehall, with a new attitude. Mark is reaffirmed as a false veteran with this small project, sounding graceful and with presence. With the main theme of finding love again, Mark becomes more elegant and mature. “Love Me Right”, the single that featured the EP, is about the ups and downs of any relationship. An intelligent song that flirts with electro-pop and tropical sounds, where the game between the main voice and the choirs is crucial to understand the meaning of the song. Increasing the rhythm, as well as the voices, along the voices, to end in a totally calm and silent way, Amber offers endless intensities totally linked in this powerful theme. Versioning “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” from Sade (1998), Amber offers a nice tribute to the artist while offering a beautiful message that comes as a ring to the finger to this project. Finally, in “All The Work”, the New Yorker looks back to review all the effort she has made: “I have cried many thousands worth of tears / Damn well tried, I gave up all these years”. An exuberant song of islanders and Ibizan rhythms that sounds like the hecatomb of Conexao: mixture of islanders and Ibizan rhythms with pop and soft jazz. A warm and attractive fusion with subtle and tasty details.
Apart from her EPs, Amber Mark has also had time to present individual themes. These are songs where the artist has had the luxury of experimenting and leaving her area of land. That is, the approach to more commercial sounds without losing an iota of her essence. With “Put You On”, along with DRAM, the singer is fully approaching her more urban side: 90s R&B with soul influence. The clear protagonist in this song is her voice, which sounds crystal clear and beautiful. With this optimistic and loving theme, Amber offers a tribute to the New York classics and adds another color palette to her tropical (and now urban/street) repertoire. After this theme, came “Mixer”, where Amber becomes fully a 70s gangster. A powerful funk theme where Amber takes a 180º turn and becomes surprisingly daring. Showing great versatility, Amber invites to dance without any worries. Showing a clear admiration for the sounds of yesteryear, come from where they come from, there is no doubt that this artist can train them to their liking and take small wonders of these by joining past and present, and thus, offering a new future. Finally, the latest news we have had about Mark has been the song “What if”, a sweet and gentle R&B whirlwind reminiscent of the themes of the late 90s and early 2000s. A sensual and slow song, which unites R&B and jazz, full of details. The music flutters like butterflies while Amber boasts a voice, offering heavenly gorgorites worthy of Mariah Carey. “What if, if I never felt heartbreak at all? / What if, what if, never knew what it felt like to fall? / What if, what- what if, tell me how would I know if it's love?”, she proclaims in her chorus. Amber is afraid of a new relationship because of what she suffered in a previous one. This pain and sadness is fought, rather accepted, with warm, tropical sounds, brightness and softness. I think her message is quite clear: you have to know how to embrace the pain in order to continue.
Exactly, something that seems totally contrary Amber Mark has managed to get hold of the hand: sadness and dance. This magical union achieved by this magical being is something difficult to find, not today, if not always. It is for this reason that I consider this young woman a small wonder. Amber used music as therapy at 3:33 a.m. and, unwittingly, this became the nature of her music, which is based on the soul. The reflective and deep atmosphere of their songs have an enormous emotional charge that captures the listener in an intense way. To this the union of the powerful and rich tropical sounds is added, being able to make of two opposite poles a whole. The union of funk, jazz, R&B, bossa nova, etc. demonstrates the great ability of this singer, who spreads this whole ensemble with a voice that moves with ease between sweetness and gravity. Mysticism, textures and meanings are totally taken care of, and that is that, another of the strengths of this artist is the care in each song. Offering a special meaning to each theme, Amber ensures that her work both individually and collectively. The stages of mourning at 3:33 am or the search for a new love in Conexao, all the songs revolve on their own axis and at the same time on a common one. All this makes Mark an experience artist at her early age, but she is able to evolve with her next works and with Conexao, offers an organic evolution of her sounds, which become more elegant and mature without losing the more tropical side. And later, with songs that show that when she wants she can jump from gender to gender and from time to time getting decent results. She is worthy of admiring how an artist can open in the channel and help the listener. So that said, I can only thank Amber for helping me understand that new flowers grow after the monsoons.