Author: Joycelynn Okezie
Amber Mark is an artist in every sense of the word.
The experiences she has had shaped her sound as an artist. Growing up, 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 with the way. But, as they say, grief can teach us the most about ourselves and what we want, and make the best art. For Amber Mark that’s her debut EP, 3:33am, released this past Friday on her own Jasmine Records, now under PMR Records.
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 vibrancy, 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.