Ameriie Discusses Her Latest EP 'Drive,' Her Obsession With Reading, And YouTube
She may not have been featured in the forefront for the past few years, but the R&B songstress has been working hard behind the scenes.
They usually say most soft-spoken people can't speak up, but Ameriie is one that can't resonate with this statement. Her sweet, mellow conversational tone will make you feel at ease, but it can and does protrude when things aren't going the way she visions it to be, being the perfectionist that she is. When talking with the beauty, you'll be surprised she's the woman whose vocal chords crescendo behind the records, "One Thing," and "Out Loud."
Music may be Ameriie's love, but she has also ventured out to engage in other business endeavors that she's very passionate about. The singer talked to VIBE about her latest EP, Drive, her infatuation with reading, and connecting with her fans through YouTube.
Let’s talk about your recent projects. I see you recently returned to the music scene with your latest EP, Drive. Where does the name derive from?
Ameriie: I call it Drive because I love how everyone gets in a car and drives and you run into a light, or you’re going to a specific destination, or sometimes you’re just going to take the scenic route for whatever reason, and driving music makes that trip really enjoyable. It puts you in a zone. I feel like driving music is very at spirit. I wanted a short project that felt not even cohesive that you can just listen to in the car from beginning to end. So, that’s where the name comes from.
The album was really great and it received a lot of positive feedback. Were you surprised by the success of the album seeing as though you took a break from the music industry?
I don't really know what my expectations were. I didn’t really know what to expect. I just knew that I wanted to put something out because it has been a while, and I’ve been talking to my fans for a long time through music. I felt like it was just a good time. I’ve been working on some other projects that were longer and thematic, and it definetly showed my maturity because it had to be very specific. I like to work on different things at the same time and if something’s ready and it feels like a unit, I feel like it’s ready to be heard. That’s how I felt about that and I try not to get too hung up on responses because whether it’s positive or negative you gotta keep doing what you’re doing and it’s a good way to kind of keep your creative energy fresh and stay focused on the music and not too much on accolades or criticism. But, I mean, I had to see what was going on (laughs) and it was doing pretty well (laughs) so I was really happy about that.
But I will say you did remain fresh because you had your own Youtube going. So what made decide to connect to them through Youtube by subscribing to your own page to talk about makeup, and reading, and books? Where did that come from?
I really just wanted to talk to everyone. People ask me so often in interviews what are your fitness tips, or what are you eating, where do you get makeup products, what’s your skin care routine, etc, and something about Youtube I felt really geled with me, as far as being able to talk to people. I mean obviously it’s still a bit one sided because you’re making a video, but when I’m talking into the camera I really just feel like I’m talking to someone. And then of course the comments section, I’m really active in the comments section because I really want to have that dialogue (laughs), and a lot of people have great suggestions like, “Oh yeah girl you tried this sunscreen,” and then that way everyone looking for great products and that person that has the type of skin the person is talking about that they have, it’s like we’re all in a circle and we’re all sharing and I love it. Whether it’s makeup, or skincare, books, we’re all able to share. And it’s crazy because I read probably about 50 to 60 books a year and I don’t know a person who reads as much as I do. Like in real life. Although I did read on the Internet that people really do read that much. It’s good so you can talk about the books too and I think I’m going to do more on the beauty side because I was on the book side for a while and I was really just trying to figure out what kind of videos I want to do. And when I say beauty I really mean beauty and fashion as well, more like style, blog, like my style diaries, what I'm wearing, that kind of thing.
So if you read 50-60 books a year, how many do you try to get down in a month?
I usually read about four. Anywhere between three to five, average four. And it takes me about a week to read because I’m not reading all the time. I used to be able to read really quickly. Like I would try to be a speed reader, not that I’m saying I’m not a quick reader, but I would read so fast. But I find it more enjoyable when I don’t read as quickly and I get a lot more out of it. And I find there’s times when a couple days might go by where I can’t read. I get cranky when I don’t read for more than a couple of days (laughs). I love reading, I love falling into their world, I love the smell of books, I love touching the books. There’s a lot more. I feel like I would love to read more but that’s pretty much as much as I can read and make sure that I remember the books.
With you taking a break and doing lifestyle endeavors, reading, and creating your own trilogy, and YouTube, would you say that has influenced your writing in any way?
Well I can’t say all that influenced it directly. I can say just living life influeneced my fiction writing because the more you live, the more you experience, the more you’ve learned, the more material you have to put in your books. Because really no matter what kind of book you’re reading or writing, whether it’s fantasy or something realistic or science fiction, the heart of all the stories varies from a range of different characters and everything’s really about what it is to be human, to a certain extent. I feel like adventure stories anyways. My songwriting, I feel like actually writing fiction helped my songwriting a lot, just as far as helping me to tell a story in a really short time and also using every word carefully. Because I didn’t realize that until when I was in the studio and I was like, Yeah okay, I’m able to get what I want to get out faster,' basically. That was a nice surprise.
Are you currently working on any new projects?
Yeah, well the book stuff I’m still doing a lot of writing. Musically, I’m working on some more new music. I know I was aiming for the summertime but we hadn’t finished recording that yet. I’m not going to put a time on it. I just have to see how it comes together.
Do you plan on dropping another project before your book hits the shelves next July?
Yeah I would definetly want to do that for sure. Actually that’s the funny thing, because the next thing I want to be a little longer, I know this was just an EP. So I was thinking this next one was going to be an EP, but now I’ve been considering it being a full length album.
Will we meet a character that portrays similar features to you?
You know, I don’t do like semi-autobiographical writing. There are people, but with the experience that I’ve had and different things that I’ve encountered, that all files away in there. But usually when I’m writing it’s about questioning the world around us. So I’ll put in basically all the questions, like life or death. And then you might have a character that goes one way and another character that goes a completely opposite way. It’s just the way of exploring, but I don’t put myself in books though.
My tbr (to-be-read) 📚 for this week's #genrethon readalong. I'll choose 3 from these 4. Watch for my wrap-up at the end of the week on www.youtube.com/Ameriie ?? Feel free to join the fun! #bookstagram #bookstagramfeature #WhenWeCollided #BetweentheWorldandMe #EveryHeartaDoorway #BooksBeautyAmeriie #Ameriie_reads
A photo posted by Ameriie ??? (@ameriie) on
One last question. Is sci-fi your favorite genre?
I don’t have a favorite genre. I do really love literary fiction. So whether it’s science fiction or fantasy I do really love it. But I also really enjoy realistic stuff, like things playing out in our own world, as we know it. And so I can say I have a hardcore perspective of it. I can’t decide whether it’s sci-fi or fantasy, I can put them together anyways. A lot of times I read just hard science fiction, but I don’t think I have a favorite. I literally like all books. I like all the flavors.
What books are you currently reading right now?
Right now, I’m reading two books. One I put down because I was reading it out loud to my husband because I like to do that. If he doesn’t like a book, I would read it aloud for the both of us. But one book is called Dark Matter. It’s about a guy who was poised to be a great scientist, and his wife was poised to be a great artist. And they kind of settled down, got married, and had kids early so they kind of got taken off their path. He was a teacher and he gets abducted one day when he goes out for ice cream, and then he’s left unconscious, and he wakes up, and someone says, 'Dr. such and such, welcome back.' When he wakes up his wife is so different, everything is different, and they’re like wow the experiment worked. But he’s apparently this world famous scientist studying, whatever he's studying. I don’t want to say because then I might give the book away.
Actually I’ll just say it. He’s studying some kind of inter-dimensional travel or alternate universe or whatever. And so he’s just trying to figure out if he left the life with the real wife or if this is his real life. He doesn’t know which one is a dream. And that’s really cool. And then there’s this other book called "The Woman In Cabin 10" which is actually pretty good and she’s going to make it into a film. It’s about this girl who goes on this super elite cruise on this new yacht, and then there's this one woman that she meets in cabin number 10. And then something happens and she thinks the girl was murdered. But when she tells everybody, everyone's like, 'There never was a woman in Cabin 10, what are you talking about?' So it’s just like a mystery. But both of them are really good. I’m was interested in "The Woman In Cabin 10" because it was supposed to be this year's "Gone Girl/The Girl On The Train." A lot of hype. So far I’m enjoying it. And Seth Meyers has a lot of hype too. But I wanted to read two thrilling books by two thrillers that have a lot of hype.