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.”