ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Amba Shepherd

Amba Shepherd may not be a mainstream household name yet, but she has made a big name for herself with her stellar voice and becoming a darling go to singer/songwriter in the electronic music scene through lending her voice to song collaborations with superstar DJ’s such as Hardwell, Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto to name a few. The Australian songstress showed the world her magnetic potential with her first original track, “Prelude,” and now she is on the heels of what may be her biggest commercial release to date, “Wide Awake & Dreaming.” The newest addition to Amba’s catalog fuses her gorgeous vocals with deep, hypnotic melodies making for the perfect combination. The song was produced by Tommy Rocks and she has just released a beautiful artsy animated music video to accompany the hot new track. Amba seems to be on a roll and her new single should boost her fan base as well as her worldwide recognition.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Amba and talk about her new song, what it’s like to collaborate with some of the biggest DJ’s as well as playing major EDM festivals like Tomorrowland and Electric Daisy Carnival.

Sason Bishope Parry: How has life been treating you? Are you living in the U.S. or Australia?

Amba Shepherd: Hi! Life is great! I just landed back in Sydney after two and half weeks of being in the studio in LA writing & recording new material with some incredible producers & DJs. It was such an inspiring trip I love meeting new people to work with! Plus, I don’t even have any jetlag coming home which is awesome. I am living in Sydney but I spend a lot of my time back and forth to the US, Europe & Asia for studio or touring.

SBP: Did you start doing music in Australia and when did you get into music?
AS: Yes I come from a musical family so music has always been a huge part of my life. As a child, my influences were classical and jazz-oriented because this is what my Dad would play to me. My first release was in 2010 a collaboration with Australian DJ Nick Galea a track called “I Believe” that went straight to #2 on the Aria chart (and stayed for several weeks), at that point I went over to Sweden for a studio trip that led to more releases. In 2011 I put out a record called “Black & White” on Fresco Records with Joan Reyes & Sergi Domene and it got the attention of Porter Robinson, Armada Music, and some other awesome people! Since then it has snowballed and never stopped.

SBP: Tell us a little a bit about yourself?
AS: I am totally obsessed with and dedicated to music. I ADORE animals! I also love meditating and yoga they keep my very busy brain focused, grounded and centered, and without them, I would struggle because music is a totally ridiculous & insane business. I love traveling it gives you so much perspective on life. I am obsessed with nature, the beach, the ocean, being outside makes me so happy.

SBP: Do you write and produce your own music and lyrics?
AS: Yes I have a studio here is Sydney. I work in a DAW called Cubase and mostly I write top-line vocals melody and lyrics to a finished track. I will write, sing & produce the vocal & then arrange & mix it. I also play piano and from time to time write whole songs, or start the foundation for an idea this way.

SBP: You have had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the biggest DJ’s on the Planet, how did that happen?
AS: I mentioned a bit about the process of how I started above. Essentially, each project I have worked with has led to the next. It’s been a very organic process, and due to the nature of the dance music scene where DJs / producers are always on top of everything being released, it was very easy for me to be heard. Everyone has just approached me directly. Also, I work very hard at what I do, and I’m pretty fast. I treat every project like it’s my own so I really give it everything because I love making music so much.

SBP: You just released your new single, “Wide Awake & Dreaming,” how is it being received?
AS: I have been totally blown away by the support! Some of the best DJs/ radio stations in the world have been playing or featuring the record which is so awesome – Selected, Lost Frequencies, Martin Garrix, Sam Feldt, Hook N Sling, Nicky Romero, Sirius XM Electro, Morgan Page, Yves V, Blasterjaxx, Tigerlily, AXS, Celebmix, Earmilk, Myspace, DJ Mag, Radio 538 NL, Quintino, Danny Avila and many more! I feel so loved 😛

SBP: Tell us about your new music video?
AS: The music video is an animated visual by insanely talented artist Brandon Bolmer (Maskarade) and it’s the story of the pianist on his journey of realizing his musical dreams. I love doing things differently and this video is the perfect representation of my aesthetic right now – electric blue/angular/somewhat androgynous.

SBP: Being a live act in a world of DJ’s, have you been able to translate your songs to a live experience?
AS: In the past, I would tour with a DJ and sing live with a mix of recorded vocals in the back. It’s not really possible to recreate the studio recording in a live setting unless you have a full concert production including musical director, full band with or without portions played recorded on track, sound engineer, top quality audio gear to facilitate live sound including mics and monitors as well front of house system; and that’s just to recreate the audio. You also have to consider the visual experience. Right now I am working on developing a brand new live show so I can be as live, spontaneous and creative as possible which I am so excited for.

SBP: Do you play any instruments in the studio or live?
AS: I play piano and drums / full scale of percussion instruments.

SBP: Do you enjoy playing clubs or festivals more?
AS: Festivals are my favorite. Nothing beats that incredible atmosphere the energy is insane and everyone is there for the experience of the music.

SBP: Who inspires you in music today and who are some of your musical heroes?
AS: Artists who inspire me are the ones that are really breaking the mold – Porter Robinson, Flume, Eric Prydz, Tchami, DJ Snake, Skrillex, Diplo (and so many more of course!). My musical heroes are the geniuses & founders of modern music, classic artists like David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Prince, Sting, George Michael, Hall & Oates, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Roebrta Flack, Diana Ross, and Carole King for example.

SBP: You have a great style, do you have a favorite designer?
AS: I love fashion, it’s very hard to pick one favorite. At the moment I really love A.P.C.

SBP: Tell us something about yourself that nobody knows?
AS: I get pretty bad stage fright but I just hurl myself up on stage anyway. Once I am there I love it but getting there is terrifying.

SBP: Do have any tattoos?
AS: Not yet.

SBP: What’s next for Amba Shepherd?
AS: My next single is coming up in April! Then I’m off to Europe in May super excited. This year is all about solo singles, a couple of very special collaborations, and my brand new live show.

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