Amberlin is a Long Beach-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who artfully composes spacious soundscapes that she builds musically layer by layer. She has a vision of hope and a desire to use music to bring change to the world.
Amberlin’s love of music started early; she took violin lessons in third grade, before quitting and moving on to keyboard before giving that up. When she was twelve, she worked in the strawberry fields outside Seattle, Washington, where she worked for half a season and used the money she made there to buy her first guitar. Amberlin took lessons for a couple of months before giving them up when she moved to Atlanta, where she attended a high school with an arts program and focused on theatre. Amberlin played guitar on and off, but met up with a classmate who did spoken word poetry; they did some gigs where Amberlin played guitar and her classmate did her poetry. She eventually moved back to California where she picked up drums. She formed a band, singing and playing guitar and picking up bass. Amberlin now plays with an Afro-Latin band, Tropi Corillo, and often sings in other people’s bands.
Amberlin started writing in middle school and was a big fan of pop music, especially Michael Jackson and the Backstreet Boys. “Listening to pop music like the Backstreet Boys really helped me learn about the structure of a song: verse, melody, chorus,” she says. She was writing lyrics in middle school, though sometimes she wrote melodies and sometimes not. Amberlin says she first started writing music in high school. “My theater teacher was very encouraging; he thought my song “Homelessness” was an old Negro spiritual. My bandmate and I were talking about social issues back then. ”
She uses her platform to help people and to give a voice to the voiceless. “I fight because I have hope,” Amberlin says. “I think we are evolving as a society. People are starting to wake up to the inequities of society. What I would like to see are people in power held accountable for their actions. Once we come to terms with our role in it, we can improve it.”
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