Amber Mark Is Officially In Her Summer of Spritz
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Coachella is always full of buzz-worthy performances (and equally as buzzy celeb sightings — Shawn and Camilla, we’re looking at you). But amidst the hustle and bustle of the fest, you’ll find Grammy-nominated artist Amber Mark away from the chaos, taking a break at the official Aperol Piazza to sip on a cool, bubbly spritz.
But this is just the calm before the touring storm — Mark is getting back on the road and hitting the festival circuit this summer, taking the stage at Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City in June, and then at Life is Beautiful in Las Vegas this September. This is off the heels of an already exciting 2022 for Mark, who released her deeply personal debut studio album Three Dimensions Deep, playing off a mix of funk and R&B sounds with heavy influences from the elemental world — all accompanied by a short film and a three-party documentary series. Mark isn’t new to the music scene, previously receiving a nomination for “Best Engineered Album” for a feature on Chromeo‘s 2018 album Head Over Heels on the track “Just Friends”.
Creativity doesn’t come easy on the road, though. Three Dimensions Deep was primarily written and recorded throughout lockdown in 2020, and adjusting to being back on tour meant switching gears from the heavily introspective process of writing Mark took for the first album. “I think the full lockdown makes you appreciate all these live moments even more,” Mark told Rolling Stone. “And in terms of lyrics, I honestly have such a hard time writing while I’m on tour. But I’m not like, hardcore. I’m not going to force it.”
Taking a break with an Aperol cocktail in hand, under the vibrant orange umbrellas and city tram car-inspired bar, Mark was in her own Italian oasis in the middle of the desert. We stopped to chat with her about drinking Spritzes in Italy, finding creativity on the road, and why “3” has been such a magical number in her life.
Obviously, you’re a big fan of Aperol. I know a few weeks ago you visited the official Terrazza in Italy. So what was that like?
Oh my God, it was amazing. The food was amazing. I was just expecting to go and have some Aperol spritz, but they outdid themselves completely. We had every type of food, including all these little — there’s an Italian word for it, but I don’t remember what the name is — but it was all small plates. Tiny bites [Note: these were Cicchetti, an Italian version of tapas]. They took us on a boat ride through the canal, on a very, very old boat. They really honed in on appreciating Venice’s history and keeping it authentic, not trying to oversaturate it. They just accentuated what is Venice and the beauty of preserving Venice.
The writing process is obviously so different now, because you worked on your last album through the pandemic. What’s it like being out on tour after going through this massive creative process at home?
Yeah, tour has been amazing. I’m so happy that we’re seeing people again, hugging people again, singing together, and all that. And honestly, I think full lockdown just makes you appreciate all those moments even more. Makes you appreciate all these live moments.
And in terms of lyrics, I honestly have such a hard time writing while I’m on tour. I’ll write in my notes, or jot down different lyrics or things I’m going through, but I’m not like, hardcore. I’m not going to force it. I’m not going after a show back to my hotel rooms and being like, ‘I need to be creative’. Which, I strive to be that [laughs]. But I’m not there yet.
You’ve said before that you take a lot of inspiration from nature and from the elemental world. When do you feel most inspired to create?
Honestly, in terms of my surroundings, I definitely love to be in nature, but it can be anywhere. It’s really more about what I’m going through — that drives the motivation. Being creative is just trying to get some feelings out. And it’s harder honestly, for me to write when I’m happy. When I’m excited, I’m just experiencing life. But if I’m going through something, it’s like a form of therapy. I need to get it out of my system, and it doesn’t feel like a release once I’ve like written about it. It’s like journaling, because you turn inward and become so introspective.
How important was it to show the growth of your artistry and your womanhood on Three Dimensions Deep?
When I started making that project — which, it’s been a long time coming — I had no idea what the concept of the album was going to be, where I was going to go. Through the writing process and what I was going through and experiencing, you start to question a lot of things in life. In 2020, I was questioning a lot of things in terms of our purpose in life, and all this suffering that was going on. It was made very aware to us. And so I think this album was just me questioning those things, and writing from a place of those feelings.
It was also about the past few years, and what I’ve been going through. The concepts and the ideas behind it really didn’t come until later — I didn’t even know that it was going to be called Three Dimensions Deep, I just knew I wanted “three” because “3” is a very important number to me. Other than that, once I started realizing I saw a trend here, it was like putting puzzle pieces together for the album’s vision.
So you said you love the number “3” — is that why it was important for you to construct the album in three acts?
So “three” has always been a very prominent number in my life. I was born in 1993, my brother was born 1983, my mom was born in 1953. It was the three of us when I was a kid, and my mom passed away on June 3, 2013, when I turned 23. And after she passed, I would just see it everywhere. I don’t know if I was like looking for it or whatever, but it would just follow me everywhere.
When I first started writing music, after she had passed, I would stay up very late. And I would be up until 3:33. I would be in the zone, not paying attention to the time, until suddenly I would be like, ‘oh, shit, I need to be a person tomorrow, like an adult and shit’. So I looked up at the time, and it would be 3:33. For two weeks straight that happened. I knew my first EP was going to be called 3:33 AM, since ‘AM’ are also my initials.
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But for my first album, I knew I needed to have some sort of three involved, because I was going so cosmological about it, tapping into the numerology and physics of the world. I was really into that whole subject and connecting that with spirituality. I’m just connecting dots in that sense. I kind of thought of “three dimensions deep” as how we comprehend and how we see the world. So philosophically, I’m talking about all this inner turmoil and things you question about the universe, but we can only ever go as deep as three dimensions. I can go on and on, but that’s the short version of the story.
So what else have you been listening to recently? What’s on your playlist for the summer?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Q. He’s up-and-coming, but he’s amazing. Just the sound he’s brought to this day and age — I’m obsessed with him. I’m also going through like a Ne-Yo phase right now. It’s all we’ve been listening to on the road driving here.
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