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Catching Up With A*M*E


The London-based singer on war, rubber duckies, and the Golden Age of Pop

You could describe A*M*E (pronounced Amy) as effortlessly cool; she doesn't try, she just is and the result leaves you whip-lashed, thinking, "Why hasn't anyone else thought of that?" And her look is wild to match; her style unapologetically slaps you in the face,

When you hear A*M*E's music you're immediately overwhelmed with both freshness and nostalgia. Her sound is as if Nicki Minaj crashlanded into early 90s club. And while you could easily overlook the 17 year old as another kid trying to make it big, you'd be missing the mark. Born in Sierra Leone, A*M*E's life has been anything but ordinary: it has been a life of drive, drama, and music. Below, we find out the dirt about the singer, whose debut album is set to drop May 7.

It had to be hard living through a war.
It wasn't until my mum's salon was burned down that I really realized, Oh my god, I'm in a war. I love my country. I wouldn't say anything bad about it, [and] even with the war it's still my home. There was six months to a year that was the longest period in my life when my mum and dad [moved to London]. I don't think I had a system of coping. I just did whatever came that day and got on with it.

After everything you've been through do you still feel like a kid?
I am still a kid. I totally am. I still have a bathtub full of rubber duckies.

Do you miss Sierra Leone?
I think here in London everything looks the same. In Sierra Leone you have villages, cities, and places that are neither; the weather is beautiful and sunny all the time.

What got you started in music?
My dad was in a band and I'd always go to his shows. I started a girl band at the age of 10, we had our own songs and our own routines. Then I did choir in secondary school and as soon as I got the chance to be the lead singer I jumped straight at it. I did everything I could, dipped my hand in every pot.

Do you ever feel ostracized for being so different?
To a certain extent, yeah. You reach a point where you're like, 'Whoa! I'm really too different.' And you got to reign it back in a little bit. But I'd rather be like, off my head, than stickin' to what everyone else does. I don't feel that I'm completely out there, but I feel that I'm out there enough that people can see that I'm a different artist but not enough for them to be like, 'Ugh, who is she? What is she doin?'

You've listed your influences as being everything from Madonna to John Lennon.
I think music is just a universal language. It doesn't matter if it's Korean music where I can't understand anything that they're saying. You can tell when music is good.

Why are the '90s is the golden age of pop for you?
Everyone was doing something different but it all glued together to make one heavenly music. Everyone was trying to do something a bit more edgy. I think that era of music is one people did a lot of experimenting in and it all worked and all kinda makes sense to me. I just feel like that's where I belong.

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Brett Edward Stout