In a world where the ‘Breaking News’ icon in our feed fills us with dread and the lessons we thought we learned continue to haunt us in the form of politicians and public figures, we’ve never needed more comfort in music. Enter 18-year-old Ama Lou, a classically trained singer whose cool sounds, loaded with meaning, offers alternative perspectives while confirming that we’re not only the ones at a loss with the world.
While she’s been making music since before her teens, last year saw the release of her first single, ‘TBC‘, a silky smooth electronic number, the video of which sees Ama Lou cruising round the streets on a skateboard with her pals, exploring the idea of freedom and surveillance existing alongside each other. The follow-up video for ‘Not Always’ sees her play with expectations of gender, taking on a masculine identity whilst wearing a moustache. Both beautifully filmed, the videos both engage with multiple conversations on gender and politics.
With the release of new single ‘Said It Already’, we sat down with the singer to discuss the role of activism in music and why all contributions are important.
As a classically trained musician, when did you start writing pop songs?
I have always written songs that was always my main musical thing from when I started, classical singing was something that I did in addition to that.
What artists were you listening to as an early teenager?
Pretty much what every other north London kid was listening to at that time: London grime, chart music but with additions of my own like country, Nirvana, 90s RnB and hip hop.
Although delicate, your songs are politically charged, referencing the last words of Eric Garner (in ‘TBC’) through to the representation of gender fluidity in mainstream media (see the video for ‘Not Always’). How active are you when it comes to speaking out?
My music and my songs are my strongest voice at the moment and that how I am expressing my feelings and ideas. People have the right to express their activism in a plethora of different ways without feeling scrutinized or making them feel like there efforts are not enough. We should support and praise each other for current contributions to then give each other the courage to do more.
How involved have you been in creating the treatment for your videos?
I am totally involved with every aspect of my videos. I work with a team of young and supremely talented crew who are able to bring my ideas to life.
How do you pick the people that are going to be featured in your videos?
I wouldn’t say I pick them, it’s not a massively selective process. In the video for ‘TBC’ the main people in it are my best friends, and the others are people that we knew directly or through mutual friends. In the ‘Not Always’ video, again the male main character is my best friend and all the others are friends or friends of friends. I try to work with what I have, especially for those two projects because they were quite intimate so I wanted the people in them to have a natural chemistry.
People’s natural instinct is always to categorise and classify. You’re two singles in now, in a sentence, how would you best some up your music?
Consistently eclectic but always producing da bangerz.
And what do you hope to do through your music?
I don’t think you should put pressure or too much expectation on your music and more importantly on your creativity, you’ve just got to keep continuous and connected even if not. Just making sure that whatever you produce rings true to you at that moment. That way hopefully you can connect to others as well.
We read that you love clothes. Name us your most treasured item and why?
I couldn’t choose! All my clothes are friends, they come as a team, my ultimate collective so I couldn’t pick just one!
Ama Lou will play The Waiting Room on April 4th. You can purchase tickets here.