Do you have a favorite song on the album? One that you know you’ll have a great time performing or one that fans will keep on repeat?
Oh no! I haven’t even thought about that. I probably would never say because I know that people, and I’m one of these people, people get super protective of their song, and if I don’t pick their song I don’t want to offend anybody so I’m not going to say anything. I’m lucky that I have songs that I can even pick from, how about that.
In terms of the creative process, you took a few years to drop new material. Do you think it’s important for artists to take a step back to really work on their craft and put out something that’s substantial instead of feeding into their fans and constantly dropping new music that they know isn’t up to par?
For me it wasn’t a hiatus because I was creating music and I was on the road. The fact that I didn’t put it out in a certain time period didn’t occur to me until people started saying “Where were you?” For a number of people that are super followers of what I do they know I’ve been on the road this whole time and I put out two singles. My last album was almost six years ago, and I feel like I didn’t take a hiatus at all. I was just creating the music. Organically if it had been done in two years it would’ve been released in two years, but this is the time that it took. I’m not saying that I’m going to take five years or six years between this album and the next, but I also don’t know if I’ll have the fortune of being able to put another album out. I hope I do. I don’t try to know what’s going to happen in the future, but for right now I didn’t have a sense of being on a hiatus at all. I have two teenage kids and I’m a very present parent as is my husband. Raising kids is a full time job even when you already have a career (laughs). I juggle and try to be the best at each job that I’m doing. I actually didn’t think I was on a hiatus at all. I thought I was just trying to do the best album possible (laughs).
You‘ve been in the music industry since the ‘90s, and given the way that it’s changing such as the way people are presenting music or the way we’re consuming the music, what changes have you seen in the music industry?
The advent of the Internet and shows like “American Idol,” and “The Voice.” Music and entertainment isn’t just for an elite few anymore. I think that’s pretty great because anybody can have access to one day being somebody that means something to a lot of people. I saw that change drastically in the late ‘90s, early 2000s. My label at the time, a major label, didn’t have an idea of how important the Internet was. Thank God my husband who is also my manager did, and I’ve been in touch with my Internet family community. A lot of them have been in touch with me and coming to my shows since ’99 when they started writing to me on my website ABlisslife.com. Those kinds of things to me are so important and will go to my existence as an artist. I saw the change but I was also in it. I was part of it. It doesn’t feel so weird to me and something that I have to try to adapt to. We got involved with it early.
Do you have an artist that you would love to collaborate with now?
I always have my list of artists but I’ll never say (laughs).
What are your thoughts on the state of R&B today?
I think everything is just the way it’s supposed to be. Things are always changing and my husband always talks about how every generation says, “In my time that’s when the music was the best,” so it’s jut about being able to see through the eyes of every generation and I think that I have the ability to adjust, but I also have such a love of music that I really don’t care where it’s coming from, what genre, what new sound. If I like it, I like it, and I don’t discriminate. If it’s Top 40, if it’s whatever the genre is, if I like it I like it. I’m pretty open to everything so I will listen to the current music that my kids are listening to and their friends are listening to as long as it feels good to me, and a lot of it feels good to me. The nice thing about having the Internet giving people exposure is that there’s lots of stuff that’s underground that isn’t necessarily mainstream or commercial that is going on with R&B that people have more access to as long as they are willing to look for it. It’s always been there and it’ll always be. It’s always changing and moving and new exciting things are happening. It’s just nice to be open to it all.
What is on your playlist now?
I’m always listening to every, every, everything. I can’t stress that more. I don’t discriminate. The only music I have trouble listening to is some certain current country music but I actually like a lot of country music because the lyrics are so great. I like anything from something that might’ve came from the 1940s to Kings of Leon. My oldest daughter loves Joey Bada$$ and I like some of that. I like Tyler, The Creator and I like Coldplay. It really doesn’t matter to me; I just have to like it so my playlist is just too much. It’s at the point where, “Are you going to buy another song Amel?” I was making mixtapes for myself when I was in my teens so I love that you can buy one song and add it and make your own mixtape. I think that’s great and I understand that’s also how the climate has changed with music is that I have to make each song really, really be that possible great song. Nine times out of 10 someone’s not going to buy my whole album, I’d love if they did, but I know that’s the reality. I have to make sure every song really be able to shine. I’m down with whatever music makes me feel good, and that can be anything.
Where do you gather your inspiration from when you’re writing?
It’s partially subconscious which is a blessing because things come to me and I’m still kind of in awe. The same way that it did in the beginning when it just comes, and you just start writing and you don’t know where it comes from. If you spend too much time trying to figure it out I’m afraid I’ll lose it. I don’t think too much about how or where, but I feel inspired just being out and around people, and living. I don’t like isolation. I feel isolation from people and from being social, that cuts me off and I start to feel like I can’t be creative. For me creativity comes from being outdoors, outside and then also being in a place like a city. I love living in New York because I feel like I can see all kinds of people and hear all kinds of things, noises and see all kinds of sights and they all form who I am as an artist and how I create. I don’t need to go off and write and be at the ocean for a month, then I probably wouldn’t write very well. I need to have a little bit of everything.
Your songs have been featured on a few movie soundtracks such as “Why Did I Get Married.” Do you have any plans to pursue a career in acting?
I’ve dabbled in it before. For a while I had an agent that was trying to push me into doing stuff and it was really a nice idea and I know now, I’m wise enough to know that I can’t say “never” and I have no idea what will happen in the future. I don’t mind the idea of it, but I don’t know what my capabilities are in that area. I know what I enjoy doing is character stuff, but it’s not ever what I’ve been offered. I love voice-over stuff. I love doing different little voices. We recently started The Bliss Group publishing. We got two children’s books that we’ve published that are available online, and I did the narration for them, for the audio book. I had one of the best times of my entire life doing the voices for these kids’ stories. I like that character stuff. If it’s offered to me I’m down with it. I don’t believe in failing. I believe that you fail if you don’t try.
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