Extra-Sensory Perceptions: Ama Lou Interviewed

"I thrive best when there is lots to do!"

Ama Lou’s multi-faceted creativity makes her one of the most emphatic new voices in the UK soul world. Yet her new project with Loewe offers something she never expected, adding fresh dimensions to her sensual imagination.

Ama Lou throws herself head-first into projects. A true Taurus, she’s bold, and single-minded – when she wants to achieve a goal, little can get in her path. The past 12 months are a case in point – writing, recording, releasing, and touring, this R&B aesthete has put her pedal to the metal. Sitting down with Clash during a hard-earned break in her helter-skelter journey, she carries a refreshing air of positivity. “Yes, I have been busy,” she smiles, “but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I thrive best when there is lots to do!”

Her fantastic EP ‘At Least We Have This’ is out now, four excellent tracks that match soulful flavours to club styles. The extraordinary success of ‘Northside’ hinges on bending 00s R&B with something vital and new, infusing Neptunes-esque production with her own personality. Elsewhere on the project, you’ll locate low-slung UKG, grime, and UK funky lingering in the shadows of her soulful vision. “I wanted to lean into what I could do writing-wise,” she affirms.

In a curious about-turn, the EP was born out of sessions for her new album, before becoming a statement in its own right. Whipped together in a month, the brevity of those studio takes amplified the creativity of the music. “I was making my album at the time and it had been a gruelling couple of months,” she reflects. “I really needed some new vibes to build on again so I set out on a mission to create this last EP in a month and did just that. It was super fun and high energy.”

Extra-Sensory Perceptions: Ama Lou Interviewed

Each new song takes Ama Lou closer to her goal. From those early shout outs from Drake and Jorja Smith right up to her current status as one of the most tipped voices in the UK, every release has sought to paint a broader picture – building to that fateful album. “It’s funny because I wouldn’t see it as an evolution but everyone else most definitely will,” she laughs. “This album is actually the type of music I have been making since I was little. I’ve always had it in my back pocket but until now I’ve never felt like it was the right time to dive into it.”

A quadrangle of different styles, the EP’s striking breadth speaks volumes as to what awaits fans on the final LP. Said to be at the mixing stage, Ama Lou remains toyingly taciturn and tight-lipped on its contents, but she admits to being intrigued as to the impact it could have. With an enigmatic pause, she says: “I’m very interested to see how people receive this new music.”

Extra-Sensory Perceptions: Ama Lou Interviewed
Extra-Sensory Perceptions: Ama Lou Interviewed

A true multi-hyphenate, Ama Lou takes care of every aspect of her creative output. From the finely sculpted visuals to the finessed photography, everything serves a purpose. Just take the stylish monochrome of her ‘Trust Nobody’ video, or the bittersweet school days narrative behind the clip for ‘Same Old Ways’ – Ama Lou takes a starring role in both. Nodding to Clash, she notes: “The creative process goes far beyond the music”.

She doesn’t work alone, however – one of Ama Lou’s most trusted confidantes and collaborators is her sister, Mahalia John. “We have a very special relationship,” she says, “the perfect two puzzle pieces for collaboration. Everything she doesn’t have I do and everything I don’t have she does.”

Ama Lou’s latest project takes her far out of her comfort zone, while also allowing her to tap into one of her core passions. A brand ambassador for Loewe Perfumes, she’s become the face of their new fragrance campaign, Earth. Citing the influence and support of Jonathan Anderson – the brand’s Creative Director – Ama Lou has poured her passion into this intriguing new endeavour.

“I’ve always appreciated Jonathan’s work and attention to detail,” she smiles. “JW was one of the first shows I was ever invited to and so it kind of felt like a natural progression. I love how Loewe’s aesthetic is always a subtle statement and so I was excited to be a part of this.”

Extra-Sensory Perceptions: Ama Lou Interviewed

For Ama Lou, it’s also a chance to indulge her heightened sense of smell. She spent much of her childhood on the road, moving from place to place. Scent became a means of exploration, but also signifying home. “I travelled a lot as a child and have always been extremely sensitive to smell,” she says, “so this is really important to me.”

This sensory blend seems key to understanding Ama Lou’s creative practise. Someone who wants to embrace life at its fullest, she transformed these heightened experiences into glorious music. Continually challenging herself, and her fans, Ama Lou’s vivid evolution is sparking into one of British music’s most glorious journeys.

Words: Robin Murray
Talent Photography: Esther Cleo Theaker
Ambient Photography: Yago Castromil

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