Although Amba Shepherd hasn't released many solo projects, chances are high that you've heard her voice before. Shepherd is featured on wildly popular tracks from "Vandalism" on Porter Robinson's Spitfire project, to singles with Laidback Luke, Nervo, Tiesto, and Hardwell. As an artist, Shepherd has achieved success with multiple #1 tracks on Beatport and Itunes, and as a businesswoman through pioneering her own label Superlativv and her appointment as an ambassador of APRA, an organization that ensures Australian artists receive fair compensation for the use of their work.
"Wide Awake & Dreaming" was released last week on Superlativv as Amba's second solo release. Her voice has a bright and impressive range that isn't overpowered by the hard-hitting deep house beat, a balance a lot of songs in electronic music have trouble maintaining. With her years of experience in the genre of EDM, I thought it would be interesting to pick Amba's brain to get an idea of who she is as a solo artist and to accompany the exclusive premiere of her video for "Wide Awake & Dreaming."
As a singer, do you have a songwriting process? I would love to know what you do to get yourself into a creative headspace.
Yes definitely! I am kind of permanently in a creative head space I am always singing melodies if I hear any music my brain just starts to write songs, but typically in a more formal way I usually get given tracks and pull them up in my studio. I work in a DAW called Cubase (Steinberg) and I start playing the track and recording all my ideas for melodies. I hone the melodies for the chorus first then the verses pre-choruses and bridge, in that order usually followed by any other tags hooks backing vocals. Then I write the lyrics to fit around the melodies this part usually takes me a while. Lastly I record the final lyric and add harmonies, mix the vocal, tweak the arrangement here and there.
“Wide Awake & Dreaming” as well as the majority of the songs you’ve been featured in so far have roots in edm, have you always been interested in singing on dance tracks? Being a woman in the field since 2011 (please let me know if this year is correct so that I publish w/the accurate year), is there any advice you wish someone would have given you when you first started?
Yeah I have always l-o-v-e-d electronic music. I love the bass and I love beats and the energy of all of the incredible festivals. Advice is SUCH a hard one! I wish someone had told me not to listen to anyone’s advice. As I was starting to come up people were all trying to give me their 2c on what I should be doing, especially not to work on too many DJ collabs. To artists coming up I say “do whatever you want: only you know what is right for your career, trust yourself. Being a great artist is knowing yourself "
Is there a story behind the name of your record label “Superrlativ”?
Not going to lie it took me forever to settle on this name! I have a list of lyrics ideas that I am permanently adding to for song inspiration, it’s mainly words or phrases I like, that spark something for me. Superrlativ was on that list and when I saw it looking for label name ideas on the off chance I was like "oooh yes that’s it!!” Superrlativ, originally spelled superlative, is the form of an adjective that describes the highest quality; which perfectly describes my constant aim with my music to always strive to create the best possible music I can.
Do you have a favorite song at the moment?
I love "LOVER" by Tommy Trash & Atrak! So many others too ofc.
Last question! If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what animal would you pick and what would you name it?
I ADORE animals. All animals are incredibly beautiful & fascinating to me, especially the way that they communicate. Given the opportunity one day I would rescue every remaining circus animal left on the planet & start a sanctuary <3