Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Mark Meets: Exclusive Interview with Amelle Berrabah

We chat to the very bubbly Amelle Berrabah who is set to release her debut solo album this summer. The former girl band member chatted exclusively to us at MarkMeets about her time in the studio and gives a open honest account of what music means to her. She is keen to get back with the girls next year though is focused right now on her own music.

You made your name in a girl band (The Sugababes) and now your on your own! How does it feel to not have the other girls with you this time round.
It's definitely a strange feeling, I’m still getting used to is now to be fair cos I’m been writing the album since last year.

The first few sessions I had without them, I felt very weird just because normally we bounce ideas of each other and also harmony wise, 'I’m like Oh yeah that would sound good like that' or it needs some backing vocals just there'. When it's just you doing it's strange at the beginning, I've got used to it now but I do miss the girls. I saw them very recently and said (In a very upbeat girly voice) "I miss you guys, I miss you all". I'm enjoying it, I'm being really really picky with every little detail but I'm nearly there, I’m pretty much ready to be honest and I'm very very happy with it.

It doesn't really sound like what me and the girls did, it's definitely my own thing and my little weird world, so it represents me.

Your debut solo album is scheduled for release this summer, what can you tell us.
I was supposed to release it earlier but I just didn't feel ready. Like I said I’ve been really picky, I don't wanna feel half ready as it has to be right. I'll be starting promo at the end of June with my single and the rest will fit into place. I'm really excited and can't wait.

Who are you collaborating with?/Producers
I've worked with quite a few producers, there are a few I’m still in talks with at the moment collaboration wise including Tinchy as we're good friends but I want this one to go on my album now (Laughs) so that is definitely happening. There are also some other artists as well that we're finalising and seeing what the best one will be for me. Producer wise I was in LA last year and worked with 'The Game' who is one of the most amazing songwriters. I've worked with a couple of new producers as well...who I didn't take under my wing but you know when you just see talent and I’m literally like "I really wanna work with you", so I've done that on a couple of tracks and the rest of them are quite well known people, like Dr Luke who I'm talking with at the moment and some other big producers.

If they're a really good producer I don't really care how big their name is kind of thing. It's more about the music for me, I'm still really lucky to have worked with the producers on my album. There are a couple that I’ve worked with that 'Get Me', I try to tell them 'That's it :). I'm a bit of a strange one sometimes...(Laughs), unique xx

What is your music style?
Cos of me, what I listen too, it ranges from 'Rolling Stones, Kooks, Mary J Blige, My Life, Alicia Keys, so my music is so across the board it's ridiculous! I take influences. I'm one of them people who like something whether it's a real hard core pop track or drum and base bloody mixed dub-step up in there you know. I've gone with what's in my head really, some of the stuff is quite quirky and I do different accents in a couple of songs.
Some of the songs are not like a character but it's how I imagined the video would be singing it, so I almost invent different people when I sometimes write. There are a couple like that and I’m pretty sure that people won't even know it's me until you hear the real singing parts and they go "I recognise that tone", so some of the parts I done on purpose as being quirky.

There are a couple of really lovely ballads, big tempo ballads and really stripped back stuff as well, but it's more about what i fell like on the day really in the studio as my personality is quite random anyway. It fits together but each song is very different from the next.

Did you write many new tracks on the album?
I've written every song on the album apart from two as I co-wrote one and someone else wrote one. That's why it's more personal to me. I can genuinely say it’s my album, I wrote it from my experiences, a couple are about other people. It's definitely my life and how I see things from my own. It's very important to me this album.

Were you ever tempted to do cover versions?
Yes, funnily enough we’re talking about that at the moment and there are a couple of new ones that I came up with but I want to change them completely but they are very well known songs. There is one that is on the radio right now that I’m thinking I can do but a Jazz version of it, like a Ella Fitzgerald bluesy soulful kind of version to it. There will be more than one cover on the album.

Describe your 1st single in 5 words
There are two that we are in talks about for the first single, so okay...
One of them is one for the summer, it puts a smile on your face, makes you wanna dance, it just makes you smile it really does.
It's got really nice lyrics and words; I wrote is about someone really special to me...my sister (Laughs).
The other one is the complete opposite, it's quirky, different, fun, you still can't help dancing to it as it has a mad beat in it, the baseline is ridiculous! This is the one that you probably know is even me as I take on a very English accent in some parts of the song.

Are you looking forward to performing again?
I'm so looking forward to performing again. I'm a little bit nervous as well. I was talking to Heidi on her birthday and I said "You have to come to my festival cos I don't know that the hell I’m gonna do".
I'm sure once I go on stage it'll be absolutely fine. In my head already I know how I want things to be looking, what I want to wear. I have regular meetings with the label anyway about styling and ideas for photo shoots and stuff. Definitely gonna be putting on some shows. We're talking about a tour at the moment as well but it's a little bit early before we start the promo process and then we'll get onto proper dates like big shows and tour dates and things like that. I literally can't wait, the tour is my favourite thing to do as I absolutely love it.

Tinchy Stryder Ft. Amelle Berrabah - Never Leave You MUSIC VIDEO

Do you have any ideas for you music videos? and will the Hot pants make a return?
(Laughs) quite possibly, I'll probably do a little shakedown, Beyonce moment in a couple of videos (Laughs again).

Sugababes to reunite in 2014...What's the goss?
We're still talking, even now when i'm in the studio there are afew songs that I keep to one side because I can hear us singing
that as they don't feel right for me. All three of us are definitely up for it though we're all quite busy at the moment doing
our own thing, so it does look like mid-towards the end of next year we'll do another single or some shows and so yeah I’m really looking forward to that. We do regularly talk about it and so it will be happening.

Your quite a joker, can you tell us a Melly Joke?
Right now, okay....Of the top of my head, i'm a proper joke teller as well. You've got me, ok, ok, let me think straight. (Half a minute later)...I used to be addicted to soap, but I'm clean now...

Do you have a message for your fans?
I would like to say thank you for the support, there are regular names I see on my Twitter and things like that and they really stick by you and it means...when I say Thank you - it doesn't seem good enough as it doesn't express exactly how I feel, it's overwhelming to be honest especially when you go abit quite and working in the studio, your away and knowing that people are waiting for you. It means the words to me it really does. I hope I live up to the mark when I do release so they'll all be happy. (In an American accent "I'm so lucky to have fans like that"). Thank you, Thank you.

Find more online:
https://twitter.com/Amelle_Berrabah                               Interview by Mark Boardman.

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