Amerie: Perfect Fit, Pt 2

AHHA: A lot of female singers tend to get more revealing with their image after their first album. Is that something you think you’ve done or do you think you’ve kept a pretty clean image? Amerie: Well, I think definitely [my image] has gotten a little sexier. As far as with short shorts, that hasn’t […]

AHHA: A lot of female singers tend to get more revealing with their image after their first album. Is that something you think you’ve done or do you think you’ve kept a pretty clean image?

Amerie: Well, I think definitely [my image] has gotten a little sexier. As far as with short shorts, that hasn’t changed because that was something I was doing already, but I think it’s a natural progression. I think as artists become more comfortable, they’re more free with their bodies and stuff to be more revealing. I think that just happens because women, we just kind of like to be sexy. I don’t really know many women who say [they] don’t want to be sexy, but being sexy is not only defined by what you’re wearing, it’s a whole state of being.

But, for me, I definitely wanted to talk about more things that I didn’t talk about last time, like the sexual aspects of myself as it relates to relationships on this album, so that changed. Image wise, as far as with clothes in particular, I can’t really say it’s gotten flashier. I think just what I’m doing is a little different, like the dancing and stuff like that. I think it’s a little more assertive, but that’s just because I feel more confident now. It was like four and a half years ago when I started doing the last album, so from 22 to 25 is a big difference.

AHHA: Right, ladies can be sexy without being trashy, though.

Amerie: Oh definitely. But then I always think, hey, there always has to be variety, so somebody’s gotta be out there wearing no clothes. It keeps it interesting. And then there should be some people who like to cover it up. It just keeps the variety. They say variety is the spice of life.

AHHA: Your album title Touch implies a more intimate side of yourself. Can you talk about what personal subjects you touch upon on this record?

Amerie: Well, the title track “Touch” is very personal. The hook to that song is actually, “Don’t be afraid to touch/I know you think I’m a good girl.” And I wrote that in response to the perception that people had of me….They say, “I always thought your vibe was very round-the-way, cute, nice, goodie-goodie.” And I’m like, really, that’s so funny because I am a good girl, I think, but that’s so just the surface. It’s very like, the tip of the iceberg. But I also realized that that’s what I had given, so that’s why people saw that.

And I was like, okay that’s cool that they’re getting to know me a little bit. So this time I want people to get to know me even more. I want to reveal even more, so lyrically, I’m talking about a guy [on “Touch”] who needs to get his act together. I didn’t have any kind of “I-got-an-attitude” songs on the last album, but this time I wanted people to know, don’t be afraid to go there with me because you think I have this goodie-goodie thing going on. I am a good girl, but if you get to know me and you’re allowed to get to know me more and we get in that area, you get to see different layers. Didn’t Shrek say people have layers? [Laughs] I think that’s true.

AHHA: So you think you’ve been misunderstood?

Amerie: Not misunderstood completely. I think it’s that people saw one facet of me, but there’s just more to it than that.

AHHA: Do you ever find time to relax, like what do you do on a Sunday morning?

Amerie: I love cleaning up around the house. I love that because you’re always in, out, in, out, and you don’t really get a chance to clean up, do laundry. And I’m a Capricorn. I’m a very a### personality. I mean, aside from my business stuff, which I’m really a### about too, I’m a### about my home as well, so I don’t let anyone do my laundry. That’s something that I have to do on my own. I don’t like to let the hotel people do my laundry. I know how I like to separate my loads [laughs] and all that stuff. I really enjoy those times. I’m also addicted to the game “The Sims” right now.

AHHA: Wow, really?

Amerie: I’m so addicted to it right now [Laughs] It’s like a sickness for real.

AHHA: I’ve heard you describe your new song “1 Thing” as go-go. For people who are not familiar with the term, can you describe the song’s style?

Amerie: Well, go-go is pretty much a lot of drums, almost kind of like, Congo and mamba drums, cowbells. Some people liken it to pots and pans, but it has a very distinctive sound. It’s very live drum and it’s very beat-oriented. And it’s really pretty much just D.C., Virginia, Maryland. People hear it in other places too sometimes, but it’ll usually be some tape or somebody they know from the area that brought it there. I thought it [would be] really cool for people to hear it because most people don’t get a chance to hear that and they’re very unfamiliar with it. But the people in the D.C. area have already heard it for years and years and years.

AHHA: There’s a lot of remixes for the song, too.

Amerie: Oh yeah. Eve and I just did the video, which was really great because she’s a fearless female. She’s really independent, so strong. I thought it was hot to have both of us together. And I think it’s been a minute since anyone’s seen anybody with a female rapper, as far as R&B. I know [Eve] and Gwen [Stefani] did their thing. Another remix I really like is the Fabolous remix.

AHHA: Is that one official?

Amerie: No, it’s not. There are a lot of them out there. [Laughs] But Fabolous did his thing.

AHHA: How do you feel about all these unofficial remixes floating around?

Amerie: I think it’s cool [that] people do their remixes. Sometimes you really don’t want that because you want people to be able to get the song and to really understand the song. I usually don’t mind that remix stuff as long as people hear the song first. That’s what I always say, but they don’t necessarily get a chance to hear the song first every time before they hear a remix. But as long as no one’s saying anything disrespectful on the record, then I’m cool.

AHHA: I hear from a lot of people who liked your first album [All I Have] and still play it, but do you think you’ve been underrated in the industry?

Amerie: I wouldn’t say underrated, so much as people have only really gotten a chance to see a little bit, and they’ll really get a chance to see a lot more ‘cause I think I have a lot to offer as far as artistically. And I think [pauses] I like to be the underdog…Even when we recorded our album, no one knew we were in the studio, no one knew that I was in the studio doing anything…They knew nothing really.

I don’t think people realized that I didn’t fall off the face of the earth until this single came out. [Laughs] But I like it like that, because I don’t really care for all that pressure. I’ve been able to be pressure-free pretty much, other than the pressure I put on myself up until this point. So it was kind of cool for me not to have people like, “well, she’s in the studio right now. I wonder what she’s doing. She’s supposed to be working with such-and-such.” They didn’t know who I was working with. They didn’t know what I was doing. They didn’t know I was working on an album at all up until it came out. I like it like that.

AHHA: I would imagine so, whereas artists like Beyoncé or Alicia Keys are constantly under pressure because people are always wondering when their next album is coming out.

Amerie: Yeah, it can be a lot of pressure, and I always like that feeling of like, you’re cooking something up and nobody knows anything about it yet. I love that feeling. That’s a feeling that I try to maintain. That’s why I don’t record in really big studios and why I don’t like to have all those trappings. I like to feel like I’m starting out. I like to feel like I’m still trying to make it, because I feel like I am still trying to make it.…I’m scared of the day when I feel like I’ve already made it and I don’t have any challenges.