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Friday, August 3, 2018

Spotlight on Amberle Janniah--Sean Lerner Reporting


The other night I popped into a club to check out an artist I never saw. She describes herself as an "acoustic pop musician & artist." She supported this statement with her refreshing voice and catchy guitar. Throughout the hour she constantly delivered through her original works and creative arrangements of cover tunes. Amberle is on her way to becoming a first class Second Life entertainer.


I should start by saying that Amberle's voice is flawless. She constantly demonstrates impeccable pitch and vocal control. Every vocal run was a succession of deliberate perfectly chosen notes. Never did they feel forced or like she was searching for the correct pitch. Most importantly, every run was timely and appropriate to the music. Amberle has the talent to throw these runs in every verse of every song, but the savvy to hold them for the perfect moments.

Amberle also has an impressive vocal range. Although her low end is not always as strong, her phenomenal breath-control allows her to push through and hit her low notes. The only area where she could use some improvement is in her diction and enunciation of consonants in some of the songs. To be completely fair, the only reason I found it distracting was because I was looking for a flaw.

There was also great range in Amberle's guitar playing. Her style ranged from soothing and subtle to upbeat and poppy from one song to the next. She performed "Counting Stars" with such inflection and rhythm that it brought all of the power of the original without missing the full band accompaniment. Her arrangement of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Curiosity" was the song that really showcased her talent on the guitar and her gift for vocal control.

Amberle played Yellow by Cold Play when I requested it. She said it is one of her favorite songs. She proved it with her handling of her interpretation. Amberle gave the song such a soothing touch that added a delicacy the original could never reach. Her crescendo at the bridge was moving with an emotional weight that made me feel as though she could have written the song herself.

She performed two original songs during her set. Both were well composed and heartfelt songs of unrequited love. Her lyrics spoke to common emotions using direct and earnest language. "Never Let You Know" starts with her soothing finger-picking that embraces the listener as it transitions into heartfelt strumming. My original note was that the lyrics felt juvenile yet relatable; this was quickly explained when she announced the song was written at 14. The second original, "Unmine," carried the heartbreak of losing love with an upbeat rhythm that left me feeling hopeful in spite of the pain.

Amberly closed with "Killing Me Softly." She plays a beautiful inviting intro before kicking into a more jazzy rhythmic strumming. She sings this song like she has lived it. Again, her control is astonishing. She sneaks the perfect notes in from underneath the melody.

My only major complaint during Amberle's set was the sound quality. When I mentioned this she said she was in the process of buying new equipment. I also suggested not to run her fan during her set because it created a distorted warble. However, her talent and energy broke through the distraction to deliver 60 minutes of pure entertainment.

I suggest that the next time you're looking for a live show you check out Amberle Janniah. You won’t be disappointed!

Check out her schedule at https://tinyurl.com/yc9nyve5
Also be sure to visit her Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/amberle-janniah

Interview with Amberle Janniah

I sat down with Amberle in her home to get to learn a little more about her. The first thing I noticed was her full band studio set up. "Wouldn't be my place without some sort of place for music," she said with a smile when I commented on it.

Sean: So let's start with, what was your introduction to the SL music scene?

Amberle: I started performing on SL last year because of a few friends, from Paltalk, that convinced me to come back here.My account is around 5 years and 7 months but I've probably played on SL for only about 2 years, even less.
Performance-wise I've barely reached the 6 month timeframe.

Sean: I'm glad they convinced you to sing for us. How did you come to SL in the first place?

Amberle: The way I got my first gig was a bit special too, but we can talk about that later. Regarding your question, I discovered SL through a good friend of mine, Jane, who knew I loved playing games. Not that SL is much of game, since i consider it much more.

Amberle: At first I was hesitant, but when I read about Second Life I got curious and that curiosity still keeps me here up to now. Lots of things to learn.

Sean: That is very true. We tend to put a lot more of ourselves into it than we would Fallout 4 or World of Warcraft.

Amberle: I agree with that. SL provides a creative output that has no limit or clear objective. It's awesome.

Sean: I want you to tell me about that first show, but first I want to ask, were you playing shows in RL before you took up the SL Stream?

Amberle: I have played RL gigs but never just me. It was always with my former acoustic band. In RL, I focus on vocals.That's one of the reasons why it's a preference to pursue acoustic sets. I get to practice and make up for lost time, if you could call it that. XD

Sean: Do you play any other instruments?

Amberle: Yes, I also play the piano but I've always been partial to the guitar. XD

Sean: I get that. If I could play the drums for an SL set I would.

Amberle: Would be an interesting set. XD

Sean: So let's her about that first SL gig. What made it so special?

Amberle: Well, an acquaintance I met at O Lounge convinced me to play at Lyrics... nothing out of the ordinary, just a couple of songs to see how people would respond. It turned out pretty well and Mace Paul, who was listening, asked me to play another song because she wanted someone to hear me. I didn't know that the person was a venue owner. Mind you, I had to do it on local because my net was acting up and it wouldn't let me stream properly. Anyway, Mace TP-ed Brindimere into the venue and the rest was history. That was the start of many shows.

Sean: That's awesome! Can you describe how it felt that first time you played for an SL audience?

Amberle: I may seem more comfortable on stage now but I'm actually glad that I still feel some things that resemble the first time I played for an SL audience. It was nerve-wracking and scary, at first, then you feel a warmth that just encapsulates you and urges to just open your mouth and sing.
Time flies by so fast that you don't even realize how many songs you've done until you are prompted to check the time.

Sean: I know what you mean. It's those nerves that keep you focused and awake. There's an old theater adage, "I never want to go on stage with an actor who isn't nervous."
 So how do you pick the songs you want to learn?

Amberle: I listen to the radio.
That's just it.
I wish it were a more fancy picking process but straight up, I listen to songs on the radio or anything on the net.

Sean: You have such creative arrangements. of your cover songs. How do you come up with them?

Amberle: Now that's a bit more complicated to explain for me.
When I listen to a song, I tend to break down the things that I like and not like much about it. And when I play it on the guitar, I focus on what I want to bring out of the song and emphasize on it. It doesn't come easy all the time. Sometimes, if I really wanted to cover a song and nothing really sounds nice to me... I usually listen to different takes on the song. Every cover of the same song is a different highlight of the beauty of the melody and the meaning of the lyrics.

Sean: Yes! Well said!

Amberle:That eventually points me to something that I can use and brings a lot of elements together.


Sean: What are you favorite songs to play?

Amberle: Wahhhhhhh! That's the hardest question you've asked so far.

Sean: (laughs)

Amberle: I don't know how to answer that question without taking a million years.

Sean: I mean, I've already told our readers about your treatment of Yellow.

Amberle: My originals are definitely a part of the list. They're an extension of me, even if the songs weren't about my firsthand experience at all.

Sean: I know exactly what you mean!

Amberle: Killing Me Softly, I feel is my most ambitious take that I'm very much in love with, so that's part of the list too.
Adele songs too, hard as they are. They just get me going. XD

Sean: I feel that way when I do Bowie.

Amberle: At this point, I am very much tempted to say that everything on my song list is... but there are a few that take precedence over some others.

Sean: So you mentioned your originals. What is your writing process?

Amberle: I would describe it as organized chaos. There are times when I can finish a song within minutes but there are some that are reflections of bits and pieces of different days.Maybe even years. Back then I'd always have a small notebook handy. Not it's either I write on said notebook or doodle on my phone. Perk of technology. :D

Sean: So what else would you like the readers of SLE to know about you?
Amberle: Hmmm, second hardest question of the day. Apart from which are my favorite songs.

Sean: I am a hard hitting journalist.

Amberle: Honestly, there's not anything about that they wouldn't hear in my music.

Sean: That's a great answer!

Amberle: If anything, I'd like people to listen, even for a couple of songs. And hopefully after, they'd get a firsthand experience of what I want to achieve through my music: for my audience to feel.


Sean: And they can do that by clicking on the link to your schedule I've included in the article.


Check out her schedule at https://tinyurl.com/yc9nyve5
Also be sure to visit her Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/amberle-janniah
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