ESSENCE.com's "New and Next" column spotlights the brightest talents we think you should know. This week we meet soulful singer-songwriter Amber Mimz, a funk/jazz/soul singer who describes her sound as "a hint of Mama [Erykah] Badu, maybe Janelle Monae and Jack Dave, with remnants of Minnie Ripperton."
Mimz's debut EP, THREE, is out today.
Tell us about your debut EP/ album.
For some reason things kept happening in threes for me—Right down to the number of times I've attempted a project like this over the last three years. But I’ve learned that THREE, numerically, symbolizes the principles of growth.
What story are you telling with your music?
Lyrically I'm sharing some things that I had a hard time coming to terms with and wanted to share through my music. Love—from its curiosities to its resolution… feelings from what I thought was a missed opportunity and even the beginnings of “falling” all over again. To say "If you wanted her, you never wanted me" (in the song “Never Be”) was a real thought and a real response to a real situation. After talking through that tough time with friends and even performing some of these songs in shows there was so much of a connection to people sharing the same experiences and feelings that I knew I had to share this.
Why should we get to know you, and your music?
Because it’s authentic—because I’m authentic. I’m not trying to be anyone or anything other than myself. It’s always been about quality for me, quality of life, quality of sound and quality stories. Plain and simple.
Who would you say are your greatest influences?
I’m heavily influenced by art and concepts. The way ideas manifest from thought to fruition in film, photography and all mediums of art definitely amazes me. I find myself applying those approaches to my own way of creating and expressing myself. I may have gotten this bug early on from my parents. They are huge influences to me as well. I got the pleasure of growing up in a very artistic environment and learned there’s always a new day to try things a new way. Musically, I'm a huge fan of soul, rock and jazz. I love classics like Minnie Riperton, Led Zepplin and John Coltrane.
What do you want a listener to walk away with?
No one experience or isolated feeling in particular, because for me to choose that would be selfish. Hopefully they walk away with a connection of shared feelings they may have felt. Or maybe it allows them to understand someone else more. But I want them to feel something. Lifeless music doesn’t do anything for anyone. And being able to identify a feeling from something magical like music is irreplaceable.
Who or what would be on your all-time music playlist?
This is a funny question because my friends and I always share playlist and It never gets old! My all-time music playlist would consist of Roy Ayers, Kendrick Lamar, Curtis Mayfeild, UGK, Minnie Riperton, Freddie Hubbard, Dr.Buzzards Original Savanah Band, 2Pac, Led Zepplin, Sango and Betty Carter.
Finish the sentence: My music is… Ever evolving and a reflection of life.