Some exciting public gigs in the pipeline. Love to see you at one of these as we support and grow our wonderful community. Deets on the calenda
It’s been a while since I touched base and thought it was about time I gave you an update. Allow me to pick up where we left off….. The Voice Super Battles!
So I’d just made it through the Battle round. By made it I mean got my butt whooped in the best possible way by Miss Sarah Jane Valentine and saved by Jessie J. I was now team Jessie and feeling pretty great. The battle round was behind me, I survived, no more fighting it out with my fellow contestants for a spot on the show…. WRONG!!!! Forget going head to head with just one, now you have to go back into the ring with two contestants. Urgh! My heart sank when I heard that. I found the battle rounds so challenging. Obviously I knew what I signed up when I auditioned but I didn’t actually expect to make it to a battle round! Going head to head with another member of your own team that you’ve come to respect, love and trust just doesn’t feel right.
So Simi and Ellie were fast tracked straight to the lives (where they now remain) and the rest of Team Jessie were split into 2 teams of 3 and left to battle it out for her last two remaining spots. I wasn’t feeling confident. I was brand new to Team Jessie, she had a relationship with the others, an invested interest. I was just the girl who didn’t pick her in the blinds. Does she hate me? Why would she pick me? I held onto the fact that she saw something in my blind audition. She wasn’t holding my last performance against me and I still had time to win her over.
“Wonder when they are?” I thought. I was due to give birth September 7 but that was ages away. No worries…. I must admit I did start to get a bit nervous when the first thing one of the producers said to me when I got off stage was “Ok when are you due again?” Found out the next day there would be a 3 month production break and we’d be back in August.
Hello there! If you’ve found yourself here it’s probably because you’ve caught an episode of the Voice and seen my crazy head doing some crazy stuff like going into a boxing ring and trying to out sing a mate. Not what I would call my comfort zone but WOW what an experience! I first got the call round Christmas time way back when, saying the producers would like to meet me and to come to Sydney and sing 3 songs for them. I collapsed on the ground after my first song because I forgot to breathe I was so nervous. In a giggly, tension releasing kinda way but still completely awkward. They laughed it off thankfully and that was the beginning of a journey that has completely scared the pants off me but also been one of the most exciting things I’ve done to date. Anybody seen the latest Megan Washington ad for Libra where she talks about anything great she’s achieved in her life has been on the threshold of immense fear? Can totally relate. That’s taken from her Tedx talk by the way, which you should watch. She talks about suffering from a stutter and how when she is singing that is the only time she doesn’t struggle with a speech impediment and she is free. Very inspiring.
So I’ve posted a link below to my first Blind Audition. Pretty amazing experience turning 4 chairs. Still doesn’t really seem real. With the break between filming and air time you could almost convince yourself that it didn’t actually happen. People ask me what’s it like seeing yourself on TV and watching it back. Truly hideous if I’m being honest! You know when you see yourself on film and hear yourself talking on camera and you can’t reconcile what you are seeing and hearing to what it’s like in your head? Well times that by a million. It’s like watching a different person up there and the whole time thinking “What the hell is she doing?” “Why is she wearing that tiny hat?”
I liken the blind audition round to jumping out of a plane (which I did for my hens and it was amazing). That is the only time I have experienced that much adrenalin pumping through my body (sorry except the time that I was followed and nearly robbed in Brixton). So the fact that I had sung that song a million times, new all the licks and everything I wanted to do meant nothing as I hadn’t practiced the song whilst jumping out of a plane. In the moment I told myself you’re just performing for people in the crowd. There are no coaches behind those chairs and there are no TV camera’s. It worked for about 20 seconds until Jessie turned then it hit me and everything I had rehearsed was out the window. But who cares I turned 4 chairs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still cannot believe it.
You go on stage thinking please can just one turn, I don’t want to be humiliated on national TV. You never think 4 will. Well I didn’t. Still find it hard to listen to that performance and hear what they turned around for but I’m working on my confidence and believing in myself and every round I get through is helping with that. As is the comments I’ve been receiving from friends and strangers throughout this process. People always say “your probably sick of hearing this” and I want to scream “no, no I’m not!”. Tell me your thoughts, I read and appreciate every comment, every message. They mean the world to me. Talk to me about this journey. I’m not sick of talking about it, are you kidding? This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me!! Other than giving birth of course and while I’m at it, marrying my husband. But it’s up there and I want to share it with as many people as possible!
So then we had the battle rounds. People always ask. “What’s the vibe around the contestants, is everyone super competitive?” Actually no. Being plucked out of your daily lives and put into a community of people that wanna sing all day, have the same passion and working towards the same thing as you is a dream! There’s a lot of time spent waiting around on The Voice, waiting for sound check, waiting for makeup, waiting for to go on stage so to be able to chill with these people, kill time singing with them is what heaven looks like for me. A bunch of singers, singing. As much as my husband loves my singing he’ll sometimes have to ask me “do you think we could just have a small break from your singing?” I do it constantly, when I’m cooking, when I’m getting ready. And it’s not pretty, I’m trying runs, going for notes I can’t hit. So I get it, he needs some quiet. So being surround by all these other like minded humans who just want to sing ALL DAY and never get tired of it. Heaven
So I was paired up with Sarah Valentine the wedding singer for the Battle Rounds. And just so you know, she is funny, like really laugh out loud funny. She’s a great girl and despite the situation we couldn’t help but become good friends. I have so much respect for her and her talent. I also want to point out that when we got the song we were both crapping ourselves. We are TEAM slightly alternative, left of pop BALLAD, that’s why they put us together. That’s why they gave us this song. To push us. And whilst I know a lot of the comments along the lines of “that song totally favored Sarah” came from a place of wanting to support me, this doesn’t give her the credit she deserves. The reality is that the song was scary for both of us. Totally outside of our comfort zones and on the night she showed up. She wasn’t intimidated and she went for it and was the better singer, the better performer. Seriously, some of those looks she was giving me made me pee a little!
Exhibit A – Talk about showing up!
She was intense and that’s what they asked for. I’m a better singer for having gone through the process and having sung with her. But please if I’m ever at your local pub and you try to battle me, don’t. I still might cry. It’s not something I’m in a hurry to repeat. Oh wait, that’s right next week we go into the SuperBattles!!! Ahhh crap.
I do think I’m learning more about my voice as this journey continues and I do think that I have it in me to take on a song like that but I needed more time, more confidence and I needed to (pardon the pun) shake off those fears. Sarah did that, that’s why she won. And I’m proud of her. And now I’m with Jessie!! Couldn’t have asked for a better outcome! Check out our Battle below.
So Super Battles are next. Stick with me. Watch this space and I’ll update you after the next round and let you in on all the goss moving over to Team Jessie. Sorry ladies I don’t have any goss on the boys or in particular their wives. Was very tempted to ask how Cameron was doing but I held back. One thing I will say is the boys smell amazing. That’s my strongest memory from the Blinds. Their scent when they congratulated me. Weird…. Ok signing off. Ready for Jessie to kick my butt into gear vocally and do the best I can for you.
New song alert!!!!
It’s been a while since I released any new music and thought it was about time.
The new single is called Fear and Wonder and it’s all about my journey into Motherhood. I started writing this song when I was 6 months pregnant with Charlie. I think my Facebook post at the time summed everything I was feeling quite well. Certainly the beginnings of this song helped me express those emotions and make some sense of what I was feeling.
9 Months is a long time to wait for anything, let alone something filled with equal measures of fear and excitement. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t approaching my due date with a mix of emotions. Of course there is the expected joy and anticipation of meeting this little human that we have created but with it also comes a sense of mourning, of saying goodbye to the girl that was, the life that was… perhaps some fear of the unknown…. So here’s a (very rough) song I wrote about my journey into motherhood. Only 9 weeks to go!!! Eeeek!
And here I am again, 4 months pregnant with our daughter and it seems the perfect time to finally finish this song, give it wings and see if it flies.
Release Date 1st May 2015
I hope you enjoy.
It’s been a while but I can’t help but share some of my good news with you.
I write this still buzzing from taking out Music ACT’s best POP artist for 2013! I think I may be secretly waiting for someone to politely tap me on the shoulder and apologise for the whole misunderstanding. But until that happens I am going to savour every moment!
The MAMA’s are MusicACT’s Annual Music Awards and Canberra’s night of night for anyone involved in the Music Industry. It’s a celebration of all things musical and the amazing diversity of talent that we have here in our Nation’s Capital.
The application required to be considered as a finalist was in itself a wonderful journey of self reflection. So often as artists we have a picture of what our dreams looks like, of what we hope our music will become that we can often forget the successes along the way. Reflecting on the highlights of the last 12 months was a glorious boost to the esteem and reminded me that I am moving forward, I am growing as an artist and to enjoy the journey regardless of whether I reach my desired destination.
I thought I would take the time to share some of those highlights with you over the last 12-18 months.
Number 1 is of course having the great privilege of launching my Debut EP Oh My Lullaby to a beautiful full house at the gorgeous venue The Abbey. Having funded my EP successfully through crowd funding I never felt so supported and encouraged to finally share my music and step out as a solo artist. Seeing my crowdfunding campaign featured in an article alongside idol Amanda Palmer in the Sydney Morning Herald only added to my delight. I was also privileged to share the stage that night with now friends and talented local boys Lavers and Matt Amery from Tin sparrow.
Number 2 is the enormous privilege I had of joining Rob Farnham and comedian Doug Chappel to be part of the Forces Entertainment Tour of Timor.
With the International Stabilisation Force operations ceasing on November 21st we participated in final concerts to celebrate the work of the troops and the part they have played in helping the people of Timor-Leste gain their feet as a young nation.
One of the most memorable moments of the tour for me was the time spent singing carols at Camp Phoenix where the troops hosted a Christmas party with 40 children from local orphanages. To see the impact the troops had on these children’s lives and the community as a whole was truly inspiring. Their continuous love, compassion and support touched my heart.
I was so moved by the experience that I invited one of the young locals (pictured below) from the orphanage to join us on stage that night for our final performance. This young boys moving rendition of “Let it Be” backed by our band had the troops on their feet in a standing ovation. There were many tears. An experience I won’t forget for many years to come.
Number 3 would have to be signing a publishing deal with Native Tongue, Australia and New Zealand’s leading independent publishing agency. This signing allowed me the opportunity to write and record with people I could only previously have imagined. That included a trip to LA and sessions with producer Jamie Hartman (Christina Aguilera, Joss Stone, Anastasia, Natalie Imbruglia, Adam Lambert, Jason Mraz). I also had the great fortune of working with producer and keyboardist Sven Martin and songwriter Todd Wright (placements in Bones, One Tree Hill, Vampire Diaries, 90210) Both workshops resulting in two fabulous songs that I look forward to sharing with you in early 2014.
I also had the fabulous experience of writing and working with some of Native Tongues local Australian artists and songwriters, spending the weekend at the Corona House in Bryron Bay. I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to be able to sit outside and watch the waves roll in, Corona in hand then duck downstairs to the studio to lay down a track.
I have high hopes for the partnership with Native Tongue and look forward to sharing some success stories with you in the near future.
Number 4 was the awesome opportunity to provide vocals on Steve Balbi’s (Noiseworks) Album Black Rainbow. Steve Balbi, a seasoned performer and formidable songwriter has been a steady mentor and encouragement to me especially in the early years of finding my voice as a solo artist. His long awaited Solo Debut Album Black Rainbow was released Friday 13th September to critical acclaim. Click here to buy.
Number 5 Would have to be the enormous support I have received from Community radio with over 30 stations picking up my EP. It has been a pleasure and delight to chat to many of these stations personally as well as play live to air on numerous occasions. A significant highlight would have to be joining 666’s Melanie Tait on air to share some of my songs.
Number 6 was the encouragement I received from being a finalist in 2 categories in the Music Oz awards, Australian’s Independent Music Awards. Having 2 songs selected as finalists (singles to be launched next year) in the Unsigned Only Song writing competition was also a great achievement. Being selected as an Artist to showcase at Canberra’s first ever RAW event and sharing the stage with visual artists, performing artists, photographers, film makers, makeup artists, designers and so much more was also a fabulous opportunity for not only myself but for our city. Check out an interview I did here with RAW prior to the showcase.
Number 7 is the continuing and amazing opportunity I get to give back to my community and share my gift of music. Fundraising and charity events are an important and humbling part of my musical career and it was a pleasure to participate in Relay for Life, Lifeline Out of the Shadows Walk, Camp Quality esCarpade Final Dinner and Who Will? Fundraiser for orphans of Cambodia.
Number 8 is the chance I had this year to collaborate with some great talents including Canberra DJ – producers Ashley Feraude and D’Opus.
Number 9 last but by no means least is the chance I get to gig and take my tunes from the bedroom to the stage and share with you. Thanks to everyone who came out to a show and to the venues who support original music. We don’t exist without you.
And that concludes my highlights reel. What a year it has been! Thanks for the continuous support and encouragement I receive from you. Looking forward to 2014 and sharing some more thoughts and tunes with you then.
Hey Guys, check out these fabulous photos taken by James Van Der Moezel at last years EP Launch. Such a great night with a wonderful band and a very special audience.
What a fabulous year it has been! Had so many wonderful experiences. Got to finally launch my very own CD. Played many memorable shows including a tour to East Timor entertaining the troops! I can’t thank you all enough for the support you have shown me. I hope the songs continue to speak to you and stay with you this Christmas.
Wishing you a safe and wonderful Christmas with your family and friends and lets see what 2013 has in store for us
So launch is now just around the corner! Very excited! Rehearsals start this weekend for what i’m sure will be a beautiful evening of music.
I have two very special artists joining me on the night.
Melbourne based Indie-pop artist Emmy Bryce will be sharing her summery tunes with us. Emmy’s got “melodies and bouncy beats by the bucket loads!” Emmy’s song “Hit The Ground” was recently featured on Channel 10′s Hit TV show Offspring which is the first single from her debut EP Seven Days. Seven days has a “poppy 90′s vibe with a quirky, endearing style that will leave you smiling”
Matt Amery is a Sydney based singer-songwriter. His honest vocals, lyrical content and warm melodies take all who listen on an intimate and authentic journey into his life. His style is a gentle blend of soft rock, folk and country making this artist hard to pigeon hole but easy to remember. He is the lead singer from indie band Tin Sparrow.
I have booked a gorgeous venue for you. The Abbey is a spectacular function centre in Gold Creek Canberra that now specialises in Live Music. Tickets for the Launch are $20 and are available at The Abbey Website
Doors will open at 6.30 with the show kicking off at 7.30pm. Food and drinks will be avail from The Abbey’s gormet menu. Tables of ten are available and can be reserved if you want to get a group of friends together for the night.
So get out your diaries and book in 22nd September! xxx
Thanks to your support and LOVE i’ve received this super review!! Thanks all. Read & Enjoy
Artist: Amber Nichols
Album Title: Oh My Lullaby
Amber Nichols provides a much needed escape or vacation from life’s troubles for the few short minutes spent together on her debut EP Oh My Lullaby. Her soft voice, tender orchestrations and creative lyrics are all equally beautiful.
Setting the serene mood is “Apple Tree” with its peaceful piano and cello opener. The full production and bonnie references to daisy chains and blossom queens is lovely. Nichols makes excellent use of the background vocals and the gentle flute lilt at the end of each phrase is adorable.
In keeping with the nature references, “Hello Winter” is the companion song to the former. While “Apple Tree” was bursting with the gaiety of springtime, this second song is a definite change in both mood and season. Like the leave-ridden trees, the song is starker. Nichols does a fantastic job of portraying both a feeling of despair and hope as she sings, “Hello winter / hello grey skies… / but I’ll keep on till the thaw.”
A similar tone is heard in the ballad, “May You Find Love.” Nichols’ voice is so benevolent that even when melancholy it is devoid of utter despair. She seamlessly swells with the instrumentation and the purity of her performance in the bridge is one of the highlights of the EP. “This Time” follows a similar formula. Nichols’ honest singing beautifully blends with the background vocals and she cleanly lets her voice break and then breathlessly continue over the rises and falls, caressing each verse with exceptional quality.
The title track is more dramatic and could easily be found on the soundtrack to a romantic comedy. After the first chorus ending with, “You’re a work of art, born to dance among the stars,” there is a cute jumpy melody played by bells that gives the impression of a happy dancer. However, later on in the song and through the coda, this same melody and instrumentation is cleverly modified to play the familiar theme from Brahms’ lullaby.
Nichols continues to take creative liberty with proverbial adages. In “Thief” as in the simile “like a thief in the night,” one of the memorable phrases she uses is, “the clocks forget to tick tock.” Then she delightfully plays on that theme and vocalizes the tick tocks adding depth to the strings and bells. The cool, playful vibe of this piece gives it the greatest potential as a radio single.
Adding to the integrity of Oh My Lullaby is that Nichols penned all of the songs herself. Her style can be compared to the likes of Dido and Sarah McLachlan who sound both angelic and completely human at the same time. This collection is an excellent start to hopefully many more original works from the charming and talented Australian.
Review by Kelly O’Neil
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Hi friends the countdown to the launch of my debut ep begins! It has been a longtime in the making and I’m very proud of the final product and cant wait to share it with you.
Going solo whilst terrifying at first has been a wonderful journey of self discovery. Finding my own musical identity and my feet as a songwriter with the help of some fabulous industry greats has given me wings.
I have fond memories of wintery days spent warming ourselves by the oven and pots of tea with James Roche while we wrote hello winter and may you find love.
I smile when I recall Barb crying when we got a lyric right and Adi playing air drums when he got excited about a track.
Steve Balbi telling me my voice was special.
Such precious memories and the reason I am excited to tell you that the ep will be avail for you all to hear, see and touch on 20/07/2012
Watch this space