by Matt Bauer ( photo by Johnny Nunez )
If you went to solo to Marsha Ambrosius’s upcoming shows at The Tralf, thisSaturday, she has some good news for you: “If you didn’t come with a date, you might leave with one!”
And whether you encountered Ambrosius’s soulful rapture as one half of the groundbreaking neo-soul duo Floetry, a seemingly endless stream of collaborations, guest appearances and writing credits (with the likes of Michael Jackson, Dr. Dre, A Tribe Called Quest, among many, many others) or her own celestial solo work—-you know that her soulful, sensual voice is gloriously contagious.“I’ll bring some warmth and the play list is something that will get your joints moving,” she says with a sly laugh over the phone as she preps for her sound check, when asked to tease what her fans are anxiously awaiting this weekend.
She’s also proud and eager to talk about her recently released third offering “Nyla” (also the name of her two year old daughter) and the role that marriage and motherhood as well as her vigorous touring schedule over the last two-decades played in its conception.
“From New York to Los Angeles and back again,” she explains of the title. “ Both my husband and my daughter were born in LA so it’s really the journey to be able to do this again as a wife and mother and it’s really a beautiful thing to share with a crowd who has been listening to me create music for a while.”
“All of these stories kind of connected and I was able to script it. This is now becoming a life story; this is how I met my husband and the things we both had to let go of to find each other. And then here’s our baby so it’s a wonderful love story from beginning to end. “With tracks like “Old Times” (the accompanying video featuring Ambrosius, her real-life husband Dez Billups and her daughter is certainly one of the year’s most poignant ), “Bottle Fulla Liquor” and Luh Ya,” “Nyla” is an empowering, stylistically eclectic showcase of Marsha’s ever-evolving and oft remarkable artistry.
“It’s gotten easier with time, she says of her creative process. “I’ve been able to navigate where I’ve been able to assess my strengths, whether it was a collaboration, or my own stuff even. I’ve been given license to just be Marsha. Now I can just have fun and can continue to do so.”
Prompted about what she’s learned from her countless collaborations she shares that “the most important lessons I’ve learned, whether they were from the King of Pop or Dre, is that you have to do the work and be great at doing you and whatever that takes. They’ve given me the freedom to stretch myself to the point of tears to execute what they saw in me that I was willing to put in the work. That’s allowed me to sustain and be consistent over long periods. “
With movie and television scores, branding, more music and more life as a wife and mother on the horizon, Marsha Ambrosius is no doubt content in both her personal and professional life. Asked about advice for future artists, she shares a mantra that she has no doubt lived by throughout her career:
“Do you. Once you acknowledge that you’re an individual. It’s all about individuality, it’s what separates you from everybody and everything. It’s enlightening and empowering in a selfless way. Everyone and everybody else is taken.”Opening for Marsha Ambrosius will be Leah Jenea, an alumni of the Fox TV Series “The Four.”