Global pop superstar and multi-hyphenate artist Amber Liu offers a reminder to herself and anyone tuning into her rich and wide ranging music that there is light at the end of every dark tunnel.
On her latest production, the soothing and calm Can’t Go Yet, Liu teams up with PENTATONIX singer Scott Hoying for a subdued sonic experience that captures the relatable internal conflict of wanting to stay with someone, but also knowing that you must go.
With a vast artistic presence that has seen her conquer beyond music, branching into fashion, hosting her own show called I’ll Ask The Stupid Questions, as well as joining the fourth season of the immensely popular Chinese TV survival reality series, CHUANG 2021, Liu soars high while still striking a chord with her relatable touch.
Speaking to 1883, Liu chats about her latest single, her sonic evolution, endeavours she’d love to experiment with going forward, the most challenging part of making music and much more.
What is the message/inspiration behind Can’t Go Yet?
I struggle a lot with my depression and anxiety and a lot of the time, nothing feels worth it. Through every (what I now call) “dark tunnel” I know there’s light at the end. I think I’ve always repeated to myself I Can’t Go Yet so naturally it became the phrase I wrote when I was writing this song.
How did the collaboration with Scott Hoying come about and what was the creative process of working with him?
Scott and I became friends when we collaborated back in 2017. We always talked about working on more music so when Can’t Go Yet came around I reached out to him. He said he loved it and jumped on it immediately. We actually finished the record really fast. Hearing Scott sing in the studio is just heavenly, I could listen to him sing all day.
This track is more subdued, with an overall soothing feel – showcasing your sonic versatility- how did you arrive at this particular soundscape and mood for this track?
It was just all by feeling. I was on a moody slow song vibe while I was driving to the studio and my producer Mighty Mike and I started pumping out the track. I actually didn’t think too much while writing. Words just flowed that day and we finished a solid demo in a couple of hours. It was one of those chill writing days.
How would you say your sound has evolved over time? How would you describe your current artistry in three words?
Unpredictable, happy/sad, chaotic.
Looking towards the future, what would you say is your ideal sonic path – where do you see your artistry going from here?
I think because I don’t know what I’ll write, and I like every genre it’s really hard to put my finger on where I’ll go. In the past I used to be really uptight in the studio. I ‘d always come in prepared and be really anxious, but I realized that really only hindered my creativity. I approach most sessions now with a blank page and my producers and I spend a lot of time talking. Who knows what goes through the mind of Amber Liu.
Besides music you’re involved in various other endeavours including hosting. When it comes to these projects outside of music, what do you usually take away from each experience? Any lessons learnt?
There are so many different jobs in this field, and I think I like to do a little of everything so I can better understand how everything works. We all work together to push out a project. It helps me empathize and communicate better with the people I work with and also gives me a different perspective on how to approach different situations.
Along the same lines, are there any projects or endeavours you’ve not explored yet that you’d love to experiment with in the future?
I feel like producing and mentoring younger artists is something I have interest in, I just haven’t really done it officially. But other than that, maybe work on a fashion brand? I have so many ideas in my head. I’ll get to them all eventually.
This new track has a relatable message rooted in internal conflict. Do you usually draw from personal experience or from the stories surrounding you when making music?
I do both. I try to draw inspiration from everything. Sometimes even if the story is a personal experience, I try to write from the other person’s perspective as well or just imagine a scenario.
Given the relatability of your themes, what are some fan messages about your music that has stuck with you?
I think when I see messages like “I was having a sh*tty day but this song made it better”, “this song got me through some tough times” or “this song give me hope and a sense of comfort” I’m really touched. I think that’s the beauty and power of music. Music was my safe place growing up and in my darkest times and times when I’m really stressed out, music has always been with me.
Finally, what’s the most rewarding part of the music making process and what’s the most challenging part of it?
The most rewarding is definitely being on stage and hearing my fans singing back to me. I was a weird kid growing up (and I guess I’m still weird now) and I thought I was a loser, but seeing the fans come together and be themselves is a surreal thing. I think the most challenging thing is me trying to one-up myself constantly. I want to keep evolving and growing not only as an artist but as a person. I know I can be hard on myself, so I think that internal battle with myself is hardest.
Can’t Go Yet is out now, Follow Amber via @amberliu
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