Slidin’ Thru: Amber Smoke

July 15, 2019

Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!

Amber Smoke is exactly what her name insinuates: heat. Hailing from Houston and now residing in sunny Los Angeles, the “Money Orders” recording artist flexes her versatility in both singing and rapping — bringing a unique swag and style that does not go unnoticed. Read more..

At 24 years old, all Amber knows is music. There was and never will be a plan B. Her songs are written for women specifically, serving as a walking testimony to all aspiring singer-songwriters that the independent grind is possible and attainable. On that note, audiences can look forward to her forthcoming EP Pink Smoke, a project that will bring new life into the music game.

For those who don’t know, who is Amber Smoke?
It’s my real name first of all. A lot of people think I made it up but I could never come up with something like that. I don’t know what name it’d be if I hadn’t been named Amber Smoke. Basically, she’s a fierce woman all about women empowerment. All about women coming together, slaying the game. Being strong, independent, and killing it.

Why should people fuck w/ you?
’Cause this shit’s hot! It’s dope, it’s fire. I’m a hard worker, I put a lot into it. Many, many years.

How would you describe your sound?
I call it urban pop. It’s LA’s finest. It’s upbeat, it’s hype, but still has sexism. Something people are gonna really appreciate.

Being from Houston, how does that play into your life and career?
There’s a culture down there, it’s a vibe. We have a lot of people who have come out of Houston and are mega superstars, people we grew up listening to. That musical culture is there. It’s influenced me heavily and definitely a part of my music style and sound. I keep the roots there.

Did you grow up to the Screw movement?
Yas, of course! That’s what Houston’s all about.

What are your thoughts on RiFF RAFF?
I really don’t listen to him. The guy with the braids? I saw him one time at the mall in The Galleria. It was a funny exchange. We had a good time, I guess. [chuckles]

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist? 
What’s dope about LA is you just have to be where the movement is sometimes. There’s so much great opportunity out here. So many awesome creatives. Really amazing people come together and create something that makes a difference.

How long have you been out here?
Been out here a year and a half. I came out here literally with my car, no savings, no nothing. Just my clothes and my car, I said “I’m going!” SKRT. I was crazy. It was wild at first, a difficult transition. But once I got my foot in, I felt it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.

What’s your favorite part about the West Coast? 
Besides the weather, even though it hasn’t been as great this year. What’s going on? Just the people, the energy. They have great energy.

What were you doing before music in Houston?
I was always making music. I was recording, shooting, editing my own videos at the time. I decided to move, went to Atlanta briefly. I went to New York briefly, back to Atlanta, then here to California.

And this is where you’re staying?
Yup! [laughs] This where I’m staying for sure.

At what point did you realize this music thing was for real?
I loved music since I was 8. When I was part of the Rap-A-Lot culture, I experienced it a lot. When I first started as a teenager really entrenched in the who’s who, that’s when I knew. Because I was on stage with so many people I looked up to as a little kid.

Like who?
Juvenile, Bun B, etc.

Talk about remixing Nicki Minaj’s “Chun Li.”
First of all, she’s dope. Throwing it out there. The “Chun Li” beat is fire. It just felt like the right thing to do, When I got in there and did it, I’m like “I’m gonna throw it up.” I didn’t realize at the time that people were gonna be so into it. But I’m glad they were, shout out to Nicki ‘cause she’s fire.

Favorite female rappers you look up to?
First off, Lauryn Hill. Second of all, Eve. Nicki, of course. Because she’s just done it so well, Lil Kim. Believe it or not, I used to listen to a lot of Queen Latifah.

Talk about your upcoming project, Pink Smoke.
It’s gonna be my new EP. “Money Orders” is one of the records on there, that we shot a video to with Coco. We also shot a video to “Work,” which is the new single we’ll be releasing first. The video’s hot! I’m excited about it.

Bring us back to your mindset with “Money Orders.”
Recording “Money Orders,” I was just tired of it! I was tired of people trying to tell me what to do. I was tired of people doubting the pen. I’m like “what now?!” Then I kind of tweaked it as I started to see that the song had potential. Tweaked it to be a little more so everybody could get into it. Originally it was a lot different, because I was upset when I went in there.

What pissed you off?
People. No just kidding. [chuckles] It was a thing where I do well when people doubt me. I like to rise to the occasion. I like to express myself with my pen, it’s a form of expression. When I started to actually do it, I’m like “okay you know what, this can be a dope song.” I switched gears with it. It’s the little things in there. One of the lines is “you gotta watch your back, these boys on Cain and Abel.” It was upsetness!

What can we expect from Pink Smoke?
Pink Smoke is definitely gonna be fire. If I could describe it, I’d say color.

Any features?
No features right now. If anybody wants to feature… hi! [hair flips]

What are some goals as an artist at this point in your career?
My goal is to expand the brand, get the music out there. Touch more people, make a profit, and continue to rise day by day. Take it day by day.

What does it mean for you to perform at The Basement Series here today?
I’m excited! I saw this a year ago and wanted to be a part of it. I saw it on Instagram and thought “I want to be a part of this!” Now looking at it, I’m here. I’m doing it. It’s dope, this is how life goes. Shout out to Ericka.

What is it you want fans to get from your story?
No matter what, keep pushing. It may take you a long time, but you’ll get there. Strive for greatness. Continue to be determined. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Keep your focus and do what you do.

How important is social media for your career?
Super important. You can definitely launch off of social media depending on how popular you get. It’s all about branding, that’s what social media is.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on IG?
Snoop Dogg! [laughs] He’s awesome.

What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Normal day in the life is writing, recording, rehearsing. Constantly talking on the phone about different things, different opportunities. Lots of hard work, lots of sweat. Practicing, all that sweat! It’s a lot.

3 things you need in the studio?
I need water, good vibes, and a snack. I eat vegan, so it’s gotta be a vegan snack.

Favorite song to perform in a set? 
“Work!” The single. Make sure ya’ll go get that.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Nothing. I realized that’s why I’m still doing music! Not gonna lie. When I was ehhhh, I’m like “what else would you do?” I’m like “nothing.”

What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
Just a big hug and genuine love, like “I love you! I saw you…” One time I was in the restroom washing my hands, this lady was like “I watch you on Instagram!” I’m like “really?!” She’s like “keep going!” I’m like “thank youuu!” In a restaurant/bar in LA.

Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Drake. I’m gonna be honest, it really is. I play him all day. I know every word to every song.

What’s your favorite song?

Dream collab? 
Drake. [laughs]

What advice do you have for an aspiring Amber Smoke?
Do it for yourself and don’t wait on anyone.

Anything you want to let us know?
Make sure you follow me @TheAmberSmoke. Check out my website theambersmoke.com. New single “Work” coming out on all digital platforms, Pink Smoke will be dropping soon!

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