R&B is a tough business, and anyone with even a passing interest in the genre has a favorite artist who had one hit single but hasn’t been able to catch a break since. (A popular choice in this category is Cassie.) But no artist has hit bigger, and then followed up with such high quality material only that was met with lackluster commercial response as Ameriie (formerly Amerie). “1 Thing” topped the R&B/Hip-Hop charts in 2005 and placed second in the year-end Pazz & Jop critics’ poll, behind only “Gold Digger” (and ahead of even “Since U Been Gone”), but her fantastic follow-up record Because I Love It failed to chart a single in the United States, as a result of which Columbia held back the album’s release for nearly a year and a half. Ameriie and her boyfriend/manager/executive producer Lenny Nicholson cut their losses and parted with the label, but her 2009 album In Love and War hardly performed better (so from a business perspective, Columbia may have been right all along).
Fans who are hoping Ameriie’s forthcoming album will be a commercial success will likely be discouraged by the interview Billboard published today. Ameriie has continued following her muse into interesting artistic territory, but she’s likely off the map commercially. The first clue is the album title, Cymatika Vol. 1. The title refers to cymatics, the study of visible sound and vibration. Or as Ameriie explained on Twitter, “It’s some spiritual, metaphysical, literally outer space s?t.”
The album, she told Billboard, is “80% done,” and though she and Nicholson took a break from recording to get married last month, she has already returned to the studio. She was eager to discuss technical aspects of the recording process, like recording in 528 Hz (we don’t know what that means, either), and indicated that she tried at times using an androgynous vocal approach, and that the album was influenced by trance and electronic music. If that wasn’t enough to confuse you, there’s apparently a song called “Sodom and G” that’s about “ancient astronaut theory.” But the thing that makes us most excited to hear the album is the attitude Ameriie has always brought to recording, which she summarizes simply for Billboard: “You can figure out how to include anything in music, you just [have] to make sure it sounds good.”
[Photo: Getty Images]