Amerie: All’s Fair In Love and War

Alas, summer has arrived. No, your local

weatherman didn’t remind you when the first day of summer officially appears on

the calendar, but that “Ego Trippin’” sample playing on your radio laced with

high notes by Amerie is the smoke signal fans have been patiently waiting for.

It was 2002 when “Why Don’t We Fall In Love” captivated music lovers and in a

way, resonated the sound of summer love woven through every octave carried on

through her first hit. That single set the tone for Amerie’s debut album All

I Have with

songs like “Talkin’ to Me” and the fan favorite “I Just Died.” Since then, she’s

unofficially been crowned the Princess of Summer when “1 Thing” took over the

radio a second time off her sophomore album Touch (2005).However, a disconnect between the R&B

darling and Columbia Records left the songstress unsure about her future, and

the hesitation left fans in the States with twiddled thumbs while fans abroad

received her third album Because I Love It (2007). Such an absence left

room for an overnight boom for one “Umbrella” Queen to take over and the other

Queen of the Roc to solidify her top position on the food chain of female

entertainers. As the airwaves and news articles continue to be saturated with

the same faces and the same attention grabbing antics, news recently broke out

that the Fitchburg, Massachusetts singer signed to Def Jam. Soon followed was

her single “Why R U” and the announcement of her fourth album In Love &

War.

Touching on the complicated quandaries of relationships, In Love & War is a direct extension

from her debut album and picking up where she left off with her last hit “1

Thing.” Is all fair in love and war? Is this Def Jam move a better situation

than her previous slot at Columbia? What about the “Umbrella” Queen and the

Queen of the Roc? As Amerie Mi Marie Rogers explains, in order to win you have

to be comfortable in your own skin.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: The world has been

waiting for your return…

Amerie: You’re making me sound so special!

[laughs]

AHHA: What has been going on with you?

Amerie: One, I did an album overseas. I didn’t

release it here because I was transitioning from [Columbia] to [Def Jam] and I

wasn’t totally sure if I wanted to leave yet. You have to make sure that you

know. You can’t just tell the label, “I’m not feeling it anymore. I want to

leave,” and then you actually change your mind. It changes the whole vibe of

everything, so I wanted to make sure and when I was sure, then we worked on

negotiating out of the situation. At the time I’ve been talking to L.A. [Reid]

and [we’ve] been talking back and forth for a few years, so it seemed like it

was going to be a good time.

I went from one situation to the next and I

didn’t tell anyone. Actually, people were speculating for a long time, but I

just went from one [label] right to the other until people found out on their

own or until the new project comes out, I guess. I was working on that and that

album was Hip-Hop, Soul, Funk and ‘80s new wave music fused together. It’s kind

of what people are doing at this time, but not with the dance aspect of it. Now

it’s kind of like I’m going into a new project In Love & War created this album and

it’s like a fusion of Hip-Hop, Rock and Soul. It’s like a direct extension of

my first album and an extension of “1 Thing.”

AHHA: Did you feel Columbia was down for your

project? Their priority artist on their roster seems to be Beyoncé.

Amerie: Every label should never have one

priority artist. That’s not good because contracts run out and then what are

you going to do? It’s always good to just nurture different talent and everyone

has a different flavor. I just felt like I loved the staff, they were really,

really cool on a personal level and had some really creative ideas, but it just

wasn’t meshing. A lot people said I really didn’t get the support that I

should’ve had, marketing and all of those things, but it really wasn’t…you just

really have to have that great match. It’s like a marriage. It just wasn’t

working and I felt like that a little after my first project, kind of after my

second one, too and then I was like, “I don’t know! I’m going to give this one

more try one this one!” and then I was like, “O.K., this is not going to work,”

and that’s when I decided it just needed to be a change.

AHHA: When it comes to female artists, Columbia has

Beyoncé and Def Jam has Rihanna. With you coming in, you already have your

whole package to compete with that. How do you feel about it?

Amerie: It’s great because as far as [Def

Jam]…there’s Rihanna, there’s Chrisette Michelle, there’s Karina, there’s

Mariah who’s actually technically on Island, but still under the umbrella-those

are some of the female artists off hand singing wise, but everybody’s

different. Everyone has their own flavor. To me that’s awesome and what I

love is that nobody is trying to make you be like the other artist, which is

great. I always had creative control over my own sound, so that hasn’t change

and that’s awesome, so I’m glad it’s still continuing here. I love that

everyone is excited about your own thing, which is to me incredible.

AHHA: How proactive have you been with your project

at Def Jam?

Amerie: As far as what stage are we in, or…

AHHA: Well, in moving from Columbia there were some

things you weren’t comfortable with, so moving to Def Jam…

Amerie: You know what? The thing about it, even

on my other label…the people, I love them. I have some of them who are actually

my real friends. We’ll go out to dinner and everything, so we’re really cool

like that. What I love about people over [at Def Jam] is that people are very

passionate, but I love that they are getting it. When someone is in a

zone, I think that Def Jam is really good at…the company in general is really

big, but they can move and operate like a smaller company. Why Dont We Fall In Love – Amerie

With music, you have to know when to switch

gears, what people are feeling, what the temperature is on the street and I

think Def Jam is really great at that. It’s like the best of both worlds. We

had meetings about packaging and meetings about video and it’s good because I’m

used to doing everything myself. The “1 Thing” [single] I co-directed the video

and even with my first single writing the treatments I still like to be very

active, but I also love that everyone is so passionate and everybody has great

ideas that it can be this brainstorming party. Everybody is kind of fresh and

young thinking out the box. I love that.

AHHA: In Love & War is the title of your

new album. Is it a concept album?

Amerie: It’s kind of like a concept album in

that it’s all about the tumultuous times of relationships. There’s no

easy-breezy love songs on there. If there is a “Wow! This love is great!” in a

song, I’m still talking about how we did go through that other stuff, so now it’s great. It’s about

the hard times. It’s about the growing pains. “Why R U” is a record about being

so in love, but hating how that person got this hold on you and knowing that

this relationship isn’t really good and knowing you can’t do anything about it,

because you’re just so into it, unfortunately.

AHHA: “Why R U” is your first single, but it’s not

what we’re used to hearing from you.

Amerie: You know what? That’s what I was saying.

Touch

was an extension of the first album, but it’s going into this other area as

well. This album is a direct extension from the first album combined with the

extension of “1 Thing.” A lot of people are saying this single is very

reminiscent of my first album.

AHHA: The world is going crazy for this new record as

they were going for with “1 Thing,” what do you have to say about lighting not

being able to strike twice?

Amerie: Lightening does not usually strike twice.

If you have a whole bunch of lightening hitting your backyard in a different

bunch of places then that’s good! [laughs]1 Thing – Amerie

AHHA: Your Twitter game is pretty heavy.

Amerie: I was doing a little Twitter and then I

wasn’t doing that much, because people are always like, “Why don’t you Twitter

more?” I’m like, “No. I’m good, I’m good. Maybe like once a week is good

enough!” I have my own website now, but we’re revamping it and it’s going to be

kind of like a weblog and it’s going to have interesting things and it’s not

just all about me. I don’t want it to be about me all the time. I also want to

share with people what I’m interested in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be

related to me, but it could be great book that I love that was written by this

author.

AHHA: Are you going to be more interactive on your

site than how you are on your Twitter?

Amerie: I don’t know how interactive it will be.

I think it will be more of a sharing…just open my suitcase up or my purse or my

bag or just let people inside of my head. That’s probably the best way to

describe it. Just letting people in my head.

 

 Why R U – Amerie

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