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20 Questions with R&B Singer-Songwriter Ambre Ahead of Her The Wild Magnolia Tour: ‘I’m Looking Forward to Having Fun’

todayNovember 4, 2022

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Singer-songwriter Ambré made noise in 2015 with her debut project Wanderlust and has been working nonstop since, following up with 2090’s in 2016. In 2019, Ambré finally signed to Jay-Z’s record label Roc Nation, dropping her EP Pulp, a soulful project that showcased her songwriting, producing, and singing abilities. Additionally, she earned a Grammy for best R&B album for her contribution to H.E.R.’s self-titled project at the 2019 Grammys.

Now, the 26-year-old Ambré is back with her 3000° project, which was released in June. The project is an ode to a pair of New Orleans classics – Juvenile’s 400 Degreez and Lil Wayne’s 500 Degreez.

The album’s Jvck James-featuring single “I’m Baby” has gone on to be the most-added at R&B Radio and Sirius’ Heart and Soul, according to a press release. She’s also dropped visuals for her song “Illusionz ” featuring BEAM and Destin Conrad, which was directed by child, who has worked with the likes of Future and Doja Cat.

To commemorate the release of her latest EP, the Grammy-winning artist is headlining her The Wild Magnolia Tour, which will kick off on Sunday (Nov. 6) in Atlanta and wrap up on Sunday (Nov. 20) in Los Angeles. The tour announcement follows Ambré’s set and appearance at Afropunk and performance at this year’s Made in America Festival.

With now 66 million global streams, Ambré is turning heads with her unique sound, which infuses jazz and trap. As she gears up for the seven-stop tour, Ambré chatted with Billboard about her tour, signing to Roc Nation, LGBTQ+ representation in music, working with H.E.R. and Jay Electronica, and more.

1. Let’s go back to New Orleans. Where did your love of music develop?

I think naturally, I just always loved music. Everybody knows in my family — since I was a kid, I always loved to sing and stuff. But I think what probably helped spark it was I was in choir growing up in church. I was in choir at school, too, so that was one of the things that I think helped me to keep singing. I was also in the marching band and stuff like that. I think just being around music my whole life, too. New Orleans is a musical city, so I think it helped [with my] love of music for sure.

2. How have Juvenile and Lil Wayne been pivotal to the music you make, considering you all are from the same place?

My mom, she always loved Juvenile, and just the whole city in general. There was no way to get around it. But my momma used to love Juvenile, and she would play his albums. I was more of an R&B kid, but I still feel influenced by those eras of music.

Obviously, when I was in high school and stuff, Lil Wayne was super-popping. Every time he dropped a mixtape, I would play that. You know what I mean? Those are definitely some of my top influences when it comes to just how I approach [my music] lyrically, I think.

3. What other artists were you listening to growing up?

I listened to a lot of music. I definitely listened to Nat King Cole, Nina Simone, Brandy, super heavy, and Frank Ocean. And then on the hiphop side, Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar. I like those blended artists that bend the genre a little bit.

4. How does 3000° differ from your earlier projects like Wanderlust and Pulp?

I think the way that it’s different, in my opinion, is it’s just more personal. I think with my other projects, I was trying to create a world, basically. With this one, I was more focused on telling my story and letting people know where I come from and what I’m about.

5. How did your collaborations with Jay Electronica and Jvck James on the EP come about?

I met Jay at a movie premiere for The Harder They Fall. My friend Kehlani actually introduced me to him, and she was like, “You need to know her,” or whatever. She from New Orleans, you’re both from New Orleans.” He was like, “Oh yeah, what part you from?” That whole little thing where you meet somebody from where you from, you got to be specific and stuff like that.

I started talking my s–t and he like, “All right, bet, bet, bet.” We had a little moment there. And then from there, I just kept seeing him. Also, he signed to Roc Nation, so my A&R is super cool with him. Yeah, basically, that’s how that happened. He just was like, “I’m down, let’s do something.” I sent him the song [“Jay’s Reprise”] and he liked it. He sent something back, he was asking me my opinion and stuff. I’m like, “Dude, you’re Jay Electronica.”

Jvck, I had been following him for a while on social media, and when he finally came to the States, we linked up and we did some sessions. Funny enough, none of those songs ever came to be anything. But after one of the sessions, I sent him “Baby,” and he was just like, “I like this,” so he just hopped on it. I feel like all the features I do are usually super easy like that, but it’s organic, and I prefer that rather than the label situation.

6. Tell me about your music deal with Roc Nation. How did that partnership come about?

I got into management in 2019 after being with a few different people that were helping me out. I had already recorded Pulp, which was my last EP. I had the whole idea for everything. I was like, “I just need to put it out.” They were like, “Bet. We going to find a way to get it out.” Roc Nation was one of the first people that we had a meeting with. Honestly, I went for songwriting and then I played them my stuff and Omar [Grant] was just like, “Yeah, we got to put this out.”

Also, I knew Lawrence “Law” Parker, he’s not at Roc Nation no more, but he from New Orleans and he was like, “Yeah, they good people over here.” I trusted him and it felt like the right thing to do. I signed with them in 2019 and that’s how this journey began.

7. You and Jvck James have the most-added song at R&B Radio and Sirius’ Heart and Soul for “I’m Baby.” How does that feel?

Honestly, at first, I didn’t know what it even meant. But when I figured out what it meant, I was very excited. But I was also shocked. “Wow, that’s a little crazy.” But it made me feel happy and excited that people just genuinely like the song. That was a cool thing for me, a first for me. I’m trying to get in the habit of celebrating myself more.

8. What does the song mean to you in your own words?

I think it means just allowing yourself to be vulnerable with somebody. Because specifically, I say the word “submissive” in the hook. I don’t know if people think I’m talking sexually, but I mean in the sense of emotionally, just allowing somebody to break down an emotional wall. That’s what it was about for me. Just being comfortable and okay with that and having that balance and a relationship.

9. How would you describe your unique sound?

I think my sound is psychedelic — but I wanted to be a rapper at first, so I always try to be super-melodic, and my cadences, I try to do some different stuff with it. Also, I used to play trombone, so I feel like I have a naturally rhythmic cadence or whatever. But I think I’m a mix of soulful with some, I don’t know, new age.

10. How do you feel about the thought from people like Diddy that R&B is dead?

I don’t think it’s true. I don’t think it ever was true — but for some reason, R&B is one of those genres that people consistently want to talk about. There’s literally so many great R&B artists, and there always have been and there always will be, but it just depends on what you’re paying attention to.

I don’t think it’s dead, though, and I don’t think it will ever die — because it’s real music that it comes from, so I just don’t think people share it as much, because it’s a vulnerable type of music, generally. It’s not something that you’re not going to hear in the club all the time.

11. How are you making your mark in R&B, with so many different artists trying to make their stamp in the genre?

I think about being authentic to myself and [making] things that I want to hear. I just feel like I’m just a different person in general — so if I’m being myself, then my music is going to be different, too. I try not to think about everybody else.

12. I want to know how sexuality plays in your music. Do you put much thought into it and make sure that representation is there for LGBTQ+ audience?

Honestly, I don’t think about it. I’m being myself and just being honest and I’m speaking about my life and my experiences. I think it’s important, but I’m going to be honest — when I’m recording and stuff, it’s not something that I think about.

13. Do you see the masses embracing more from LGBTQ+ artists in the industry?

Slowly but surely. For sure. Hopefully eventually, it won’t be a thing to even discuss or talk about. Yeah, I do feel like the world is slowly accepting of other people’s just sexualities and the way people want to live their own lives.

14. You’ve collaborated with the likes of Thundercat, and D Smoke — who else would you like to work with in the music business and why?

I really want to work with PinkPantheress, because I love her voice — and I don’t know, I think she has a cool, unique sound. Also Hiatus Kaiyote, which is a band that I love. And obviously Andre 3000.

15. What is the writing process like writing for artists, specifically H.E.R.?

With H.E.R., pretty much every time we have a session, we’ll talk for honestly two hours or something like that — and just, “How you doing, what’s going on with your life,” or whatever. Usually, from that conversation, it would spark something creatively, and we might write a song about it.

But the process for pretty much everybody I write with is similar. We all just go based off how it’s feeling. If we pull up a beat, we might lay some melodies or whatever, but it’s really collaborative. I feel like if we are in a studio together, then everybody’s opinion is important. It’s a community effort. We constantly checking, “Oh, you think this is cool or should I do this?” Everybody’s ideas are valued, and we end up coming up with something cool every time.

16. You’re a solo artist, but I want to know — if you could put together a five-man band of any artist past or present, who would it be and why?

Including me. Okay. Five man band. I would say my best friend Destin, Kehlani. I’m going to throw, let’s see a rapper. I don’t know. Let’s say John Doe, and Ravyn Lenae.

17. Your tour, The Wild Magnolia Tour, kicks off on Nov.6. What’s the meaning behind the tour name?

Yeah, it’s some New Orleans stuff. It’s a saying. I don’t know how to explain it, but if somebody does something crazy or says something crazy, it be like, “Oh, you Wild Magnolia.” It’s a saying. But also, magnolia is the state flower and everything. So it’s just another extended homage to New Orleans.

18. What are you looking forward to most from this tour?

I’m looking forward to sounding really good. Hopefully I get to stage dive or crowd surf. That’s a goal of mine. I know people don’t expect that from an R&B show, but hey. I’m just looking forward to having fun, and seeing the people that I love and that support me, and just having a good time.

19. What do people need to know about Ambré inside and outside of music?

I want people to know that I’m a very sensitive person. I’m an artist. I’m sensitive about my s–t. [Laughs.] Nah, I’m just kidding. I feel like just that I care a lot about everything that I’m doing, and that I’m always learning, always growing. I’m just very grateful to be here.

20. What can fans expect next?

Outside of the tour, I’m working on some new music. Hopefully I’ll be able to put something out soon, but I’ve been recording a lot and shooting some more visuals and stuff like that. But I’m ready to drop a whole nother project.

Tickets for The Wild Magnolia Tour are available at

The Wild Magnolia Tour Dates
11/6: Atlanta, GA @ Heaven At The Masquerade
11/7: New Orleans, LA @ The Parish at HOB
11/10: Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
11/15: New York, NY @ SOB’s
11/17: Washington, DC @ Union Stage
11/19: San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord
11/20: Los Angeles, CA @ Peppermint Club

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todayNovember 4, 2022

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