Amber Liu: From K-Pop Rapper to Soulful Songstress

Amber Liu - Photo credit: Uplifted Visuals

Get to know K-Pop rapper-turned-singer, Amber Liu!

Despite being in the midst of a pandemic, Amber Liu has been continuously working towards improving her craft while making many moves within the industry.

In particular, she’s genre-crossing into other realms such as R&B.

California-native Amber Liu was discovered at SM Entertainment’s global auditions in Los Angeles when she was 15-years-old.

She debuted in 2009 as a member of the girl group f(x) after relocating to South Korea. The electro-pop-based K-pop group quickly became one of the most influential and award-winning girl groups in the industry.

She was the group’s rapper and broke out on her own with the her first solo album, Beautiful, debuting at #2 on Billboard’s World Albums chart in 2015.

Recently, Liu collaborated with numerous hip-hop artists leading to the release of her new album, y?

Liu gathered an impressive roster of versatile rappers as featured artists with Korean-American rapper Junoflo, Peniel of boy group BtoB, Chinese-Born Blow Fever and the resilient MaSiWei of Higher Brothers – all who give stellar deliveries on their respective verses.

The highly anticipated album y? is now available on all digital streaming platforms today. The album includes the songs “vegas,” “complicated,” “make it better.” Plus a Mandarin and English version for both songs: “neon” and “blue.”

A range of tracks were penned by Liu herself, y? conveys emotions through sick beats, slick verses, toned-down melodies, and textured roots in R&B.

With y?, Amber is exploring and discovering a new side of herself, as well as trying to find answers to past events in her life. Similar to the y? shape, she felt like her life was at a crossroads.

Liu’s collaborations showcase her unique sound and dynamic ability to work with international artists. The features add to the prominent hip-hop influence and transform Liu from a pop star into a R&B powerhouse.

Liu has previously mentioned that her mother loves when she sings in Mandarin and that she knew the tracks would sound great in English and Mandarin. The different versions of each track carries a different vibe.

Her collaboration with rapper Peniel of BtoB on the English-language version of “neon” is playful and energetic, while her collaboration with Chinese-born rapper Blow Fever on the Mandarin-language version of “neon” demonstrates a sick synergy.

Nonetheless, both rappers killed their verses on each version of this sick track.

In the Mandarin version of the “blue,” Liu is joined midway by MaSiWei. The one-shot production of the music video mimics the emotional spiral one feels after experiencing heartbreak and showcases Liu playing with a lighter while sitting alone in a dark, graffiti covered room.

The gritty atmosphere adds to the meaning behind the lyrics.

Liu’s lead track, “complicated,” features prominent percussion sounds and a melancholic melody. The track conveys a story of both her happiest moments in life as well as the struggles that she faced individually.

Throughout the rest of the video, the scenery alternates between the ocean, city streets, and downtown parking lots which adds to the moody feeling of the song.

On “vegas”, a track filled with steady beats, Liu keeps the focus on her poetic flow. The music video for “vegas” captures a compilation of home video style sequences.

With her other track “make it better” Liu developed a sultry tune about heartbreak. An upbeat rhythm and bass guitar make the listeners want to groove along to this vibey track.

y? is a product of the pandemic that Liu used the time to learn more about herself, channeling her insecurities and habits into creative inspiration for the album.

Aside from working on her latest project, Liu has spent the past year connecting with friends and fans, going on Twitch, and even launching her own show called ‘I’ll Ask the Stupid Questions,’ which is accessible on the streaming platform Ficto.

Inspired by artists like Beyoncè, Liu’s latest work is her first solo entry into the scene. Currently, Liu is in China working as a mentor on the popular TV series CHUANG 2021 where she is helping to form a boy group from different backgrounds.

With y?, Liu makes a triumphant return to the music scene and distinguishes herself as a global star.