NewTracks New Artist: Amber Carly Williams

NewTracks New Artist: Amber Carly Williams

Amber Carly Williams started down her music path at only eight years old, when she picked up an acoustic guitar. Over the decade since she has added voice, electric guitar and keyboards, and with the help of teacher Marley Sola, has now progressed to the release of her energetic first single, the beautifully sung Lights Down Low, which was picked up by NZ On Air Music for their NewTracks compilation in February. 

What’s your full name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?

My full name is Amber Carly Williams – which is also my stage name!

I am an 18-year old from Christchurch, NZ and I sing, play acoustic and electric guitar, and the keyboard. As part of my performances, I also use a loop pedal which enables me to record multiple layers of vocals and guitar as well as rhythmic sounds.

Was any high school or other music training important to you?

I commenced guitar lessons at the age of eight and started singing when 11. My teacher at St Marks encouraged me to sing and play so I thought I’d give performing a try and loved it! I gained my confidence transitioning to Cashmere High School at 13 and started to take music more seriously.

Throughout high school, I took music classes and had amazing support from all of the teachers involved in the music program. It’s very humbling to still have them all following and supporting me, having left school. Music at school taught me how to work and perform with others and improved my theory knowledge.

During that time I also followed a program of musical learning out of school, which involved singing, guitar, presentation and production, as well as performance and artist development. This has had a huge influence on my development as a musician and artist.

What other projects might we know you from?

I came runner up in the solo/duo section of the Canterbury Regional finals of Smokefree Rockquest 2019 and have performed at many venues around Christchurch over the last two years.

How has your music evolved from your beginnings in songwriting?

I began writing when I was 15, being a mixture of learning through the school program and my own ideas. I also was lucky to be able to have lessons with Marley Sola, a well known local musician who I’ve become great friends with.

As I developed my own method for writing I started working with production both at school and in my own time. Throughout school I achieved excellence in both Composition and Songwriting, which gave me the confidence to write more and get involved with production as well as helping classmates. My music has developed from acoustic pop to a more pop / R&B / indie sound.

What makes Lights Down Low stand out for you as a single?

The catchy melodies and chord progression are what stand out to me. The guitar is a major part of the song and I love the plucking pattern which holds the song together. I also like the way the dynamics build on top of that to create the climax!

What is the story behind Lights Down Low?

The song developed from the line, ‘He only likes you with the lights down low’ in the pre-chorus. I expanded from that one idea that I had and it ended up turning into a song about an experience I had nothing to do with. The song can be interpreted from different perspectives depending on your own experiences. I decided to create it this way to make the audience feel more involved when listening by using ‘you’ throughout, as though aimed at everyone listening.

What’s your favourite moment of the single?

My favourite part of Lights Down Low is the pre-chorus as it is catchy and builds up to the chorus. I love the high, soft melody which really compliments the lyrics. I’m also in love with the production and the beat drop to the chorus.

Who did you record / produce the single with and where? 

I wrote the lyrics and melody of the song then worked together with Marley Sola developing the final version and completing the recording, production and mixing and mastering. It wouldn’t be where it is without him! The number of times I changed melodies and lyrics during the process was a bit crazy, but I eventually was fully satisfied with what I had come up with.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

I would like the song to be iconic more for its rhythm and melodies than the lyrics, as well as its dancey feel. With distinct melodies that fit with the lyrics, it would be a goal to get even a little bit of the song stuck in people’s heads!

In general, how do you work out what song would make a good single?

This is the first song I have released! The dynamic and instrumental build of a song is important and a distinct chorus or hook is a key element. It’s important that there’s a catchy line everyone will remember. In Lights Down Low I personally think that happens in the pre-chorus: “He only likes you with the lights down low”. This is the memorable line from the song. The easier it is for people to find themselves picking up parts of the song, the better.

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?

I have three more singles to release over the next few months which are included in an upcoming EP that I’ll be releasing. I’m also working on new songs.

Can you please tell us three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside yours.

NavvyNo Hard Feelings

PaigeToo Much to H8

Benee – Find An Island

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

I love watching Tiny Desk concerts and Triple J ‘Like A Version’ on YouTube, and I follow many other musicians on social media.

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