Amber Mark is about to be your new obsession and inspiration. She is an artist in every sense of the word, bringing in the world around her, the experiences she has had and the people she has loved into her music. Growing up, Mark's home moved around the globe, as she lived in Miami, Berlin and India before settling in New York with her godparents. But her trip there wasn't an easy one, losing her biggest inspiration – her mother – along the way. But, as they say, grief can teach us the most about ourselves and what we want, and make for the best art. For Amber Mark that's her debut EP, 3:33am, released this past Friday on PMR Records/Interscope.
Mark knew she wanted to be a musician at a just as transitional time in her life – during high school. Joining in a band called simply The Rock Ensemble, she felt something special when she was performing on stage, solidifying music as her real calling. From there, she started producing her own music, and in January 2016 posted "Space" to her SoundCloud account and describing the release as a mixture between tribal, soul, EDM, alternative and pop. "S P A C E" is now a single on 3:33am, and isn't the only track that has such influences: we can hear a clear nod to India in "Monsoon," her most successful single from the EP so far, and a modern take on 70's soul on "Can You Hear Me?" While each of the seven tracks on the EP has its own clear voice, we get a clear message on who Amber Mark is through her music as a whole. They speak to her biggest influences as a child: "The Best of – Earth Wind & Fire, literally anything Michael Jackson did, and the Stronger Than Pride album from Sade," and her influences as an adult: Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Timbaland, A Tribe Called Quest, Prem Joshua.
Musical influences aside, 3:33am is defined by Amber Mark's emotional journey she experienced while losing her mother. We see her influences in the album art – an image from the video for the catchy "Lose My Cool" is framed by tiger orange paint, an homage to her – her vibrance, creativity and her own artwork. But it's what a hospice nurse taught Amber Mark by her mother's bedside about the stages of grief that inspired the deep emotive moods throughout this EP. "Before an EP was even in the talks, I put "S P A C E" out on Soundcloud and had written "Monsoon" and "Way Back." Eventually when "Monsoon" came out and we began thinking about the project as a whole, I had the idea to write about the stages of grief I had gone through after losing my mother. So I googled what they were and they weren't at all how I had dealt with her loss. I ended up writing my own:
RegretAngerIsolationSadnessQuestioning (Lack of faith/Is there a God?)Overcoming
Regret – RegretAnger – Lose My CoolIsolation – S P A C ESadness – Journey into the Unknown/ MonsoonQuestioning – Can You Hear me?Overcoming – Way Back
We got a clear message on her work ethic as well, e-mailing back and forth with her and her team all hours of the night. 3:33am isn't named that way by accident, as Mark worked through nights to make the beats and write the lyrics heard on it. "The quietest was when I felt the most alone. For two weeks straight I would be sitting at my computer until 8am in the morning. Any time I would get out of the zone, I would check the clock and I always remember it being 3.33am. It freaked me out, but I liked it, so I named the EP after it." And her fortitude paid off immensely, making 3:33am wise beyond its years, all while encapsulating emotion through impressive vocals and production that go straight to the heart. Plainly, "Lose My Cool" is so funky and inviting that it's easily on repeat. It's easy to get lost in the uplifting moments on this EP, but on tracks like "Journey Into The Unknown" – Mark's personal favorite – we are reminded of the undertones throughout.
Whether intentional or not, 3:33am was released on the edge of Mother's Day weekend. And with Amber Mark focusing her energy and inspiration from that around her mother, it's hard not to imagine what she would think if she were still around. "I think there would be pure joy from her. She's always been so supportive of what I do, so I think she would've loved seeing me succeed and I think she would say something along the lines of 'I always knew you'd be successful in music.'"