Like something out of the James Bond series, "Gabriella"—the newest single from Amber Prothero—takes on a luxurious silhouette with a swooning nonchalant swagger.
Here, the breezy and gleeful melodies reflect the James Bond epoch with subtle keys and a hook embellished with the orchestration of crooning horns. This framework is well-suited to Amber Prothero's unique distinctions in sound. Her voice communicates with a soulful-playfulness without ever waiving its attraction, making her catalog play like a candle-lit Friday night, completely enveloping you into the present and now.
"Gabriella" channels the croons and sways of times before her as Prothero taps into influences from legends like Norah Jones and Ella Fitzgerald, whom she refers to as her "Muses."
The lyrics here reflect the implied notion that —"Gabriella"— is the most sophisticated player in town, and the tenacious quality of this grooving construct only extends to verify that. "They ask her name, it's Gabriella," she remarks with a cheek, leaning into the pause a bit. She hovers just above the minimalistic drum pattern and piano twinklings, while the bass guitar streams like a cloud billowing until the song swells into a flurry of trumpet incantations for the hook in the chorus.
As it opens up here, her intoning chants crescendo ever so lightly. She succeeds in highlighting the tenuous character she is known for with an endearing charm and brutal accuracy—while never failing to sink into her distinctive earthy tone.
What was this song about for you, and did it have any imparting emotions or lessons for the audience? I actually wrote this song after school one day when I was about 15 years old… so about 8 years ago now. I would best describe Gabriella (poetic license used for the name for obvious reasons haha) as the girl that everyone wants to be and who everyone else wants to be with! I suppose the moral of the song is that despite the fact that Gabriella appears to be this huge character who is extremely sure of herself, deep down she is actually just like everyone else and has her own insecurities. Most likely, I wasn’t aware of these connotations when I originally wrote it but that’s one of the main reasons why I love this single so much. It stands the test of time and is still pertinent all these years later with so many people, including myself, who go through life with a very confident exterior and yet are insecure on the inside. I also have to thank my ridiculously talented friend and producer Tyler Myroon who helped breathe new life into this song and transformed it into the groovy, sexy tune that it is now! What have been the most distinctive and vital milestones for you at this point in your career? I honestly think that there have been numerous different challenges and goals which have all led up to where I am now in my career. For example, my first collaborative writing experience happened when I was about 17 with some friends of mine from Leeds. Prior to that, I had only ever written by myself in my room with a little help from my sister or my mum! Those friends taught me so much about the different ways of songwriting and how incredibly fun co-writing can be. Three years later we ended up supporting Busted at Festival Too in King's Lynn to a crowd of 15,000 people… It was an amazing journey for us and so surreal. In 2018 I moved to Paris to work for Universal Music France. From 10-7 pm I would work there but then nearly every night after work I would go to one of the many open mic nights to perform and try out new original material. I did that for about 4 months. This experience gave me the confidence to know that I could play anywhere, knowing the power that music could have on people from all over the world. I met so many amazing people and I feel that this experience is another huge part of the musician and person that I have become today. More recently, however, the last couple of months have been crucial in terms of my career milestones. I co-wrote a song called ‘Won’t Let This Love Go’ with a very talented musician and songwriter called Jack Hawitt and it was with that song that I had my very first BBC introducing play on the radio! That has always been a long term goal of mine and made even better by the fact that it was the first piece of material that I had released in about 2 years. At the end of July, I then went on to film my very first music video with the help of Dan Sloan, a local director, and writer who, along with his team, did the most unbelievable job. The video will be coming out over the next few weeks or so, and I’m so excited for everyone to see it! Can you express some of the impacts that the influencer's you've listed before have had in terms of your ability to convey emotions through your lyrics? Growing up, I have always listened to a variety of strong female artists; Corinne Bailey Rae, Norah Jones, Gabrielle, and Carole King to name a few. I think that what all of these artists have in common is their ability to paint a picture through their lyrics whilst also being capable of delivering them with just the right amount of emotion and passion. Over the years, I have learned a lot from these artists when it comes to my songwriting. For example, never settling on a lyric just because it fits the melody or because it comes to me easily. I like to think of lyric writing as a bit of a jigsaw, you have to find the best piece to fit the story that you’re trying to tell. Even if it takes all day or even a few months, I like to wait until the lyrics feel right. In terms of recording my songs and thus the performance of them, I have learned so much not only from these artists but also from my friends and colleagues. My producer who I mentioned earlier is always encouraging and pushing me to almost exaggerate the emotion when recording the song. It may sound silly when you’re recording it but actually, when you listen back it doesn’t feel too much, it sounds ten times better than if you were just trying to sing whilst solely focusing on hitting every note perfectly. I love to use Christina Aguilera as an example for this, who mentions that she did a one-take vocal for her song ‘Beautiful’. There are quivers and imperfections in her vocal that have been kept in because those are the things that convey the emotion. Can we expect more new singles coming from you this year, or can we anticipate a full record sometime soon? 100%! I'm planning a couple more exciting projects before Christmas, before releasing the full EP in 2021. This time around I've been really inspired by jazz and Latin influences, I've even been lucky enough to work with a really talented saxophonist on the later tracks! I'd say Gabriella is definitely one of the more upbeat songs on the EP but I've also got a couple of other groovy, fun ones as well as a ballad or two. Then the plan will be to start playing the songs at gigs. COVID permitting, I'll be playing an acoustic night at Moustache Bar in London where I will showcase many of the songs from the EP. If anyone wants to buy tickets they can do so by using the following link: https://bit.ly/3f8SA8e What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020? 2020 has been a weird one as I’m sure many people will agree… At the start of lockdown, everything came to a halt. My gigs had stopped, writing sessions were canceled, and being in a physical studio was no longer an option. However, slowly but surely, virtual live shows and zoom writing sessions became the new norm and I felt like lyrics and songs were pouring out of me at a rate that I’d never experienced before! I have a little home studio set up in my bedroom which I am so grateful for and this allowed me to carry on recording my EP. Inspiration never tends to come to me when I force myself to sit down and write but throughout lockdown it did. I suppose that seeing people come together and unite to fight the virus was inspirational in itself, then throw in the fact that I couldn’t see my loved ones because of travel restrictions and self-isolation rules, it all gave me tons to write about. And as much as the pandemic has been the most devastating thing that I have ever experienced in my lifetime, it has also been - from a musical perspective - the most incredible period in which I have been able to dedicate all my time and energy into doing what I love, creating.