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INTERVIEW: Marsha Ambrosius (Audio)

Time To Go It Alone

We were very excited to catch up with multi-Grammy award nominee and one half of incredible Neo Soul duo Floetry Marsha Ambrosius.

With her much anticipated debut album Late Nights and Early Mornings due for release early next month, poor Marsha has been engrossed in such a hectic schedule.

Luckily, Dropout UK were given the exclusive green light to get ger on the phone all the way from the States!

Outspoken, sincere and very hilarious barely defines this gorgeous young woman.

Through Floetry's controversial split, songwriting for Michael Jackson and Dr. Dre, to assuring cheating men everywhere that they will be cheated on with basket players- we take you on an interesting journey with our extremely talented Liverpudlian!

Dropout UK Interview With Marsha Ambrosius (www.dropoutuk.com) by Dropout UK

MO: My name's Maria Okanrende and I'm reporting for Dropout UK. Right now I'm with the supertalented and abolutely gorgeous Marsha Ambrosius. How are you girl? What's up?

MA: Awwww. I'm happy, really happy. There's been em... a couple of days when I haven't had any sleep because I've realised that my album is coming out in a couple of days

MO: Oh wow, you must have been very nervous!

MA: Yep, I just can't sleep.

MO: But I thought you said you're happy though?

MA: No, I mean in a good way. Like Christmas Eve. That kind of thing. Like is it the day yet? Is it the day yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?!!

MO: So all the anticipation's building up basically...

MA: Yes definitely. For me moreso than everyone else that's been like 'Oh my God I can't wait!' It's like, well you think you can't wait! I can't wait!

MO: Of course, of course! We're going to get into the album much later don't worry about that.

Let's start from the beginning. So from Liverpool- to Floetry- to America and then world domination! Coming from the UK all those years ago, did you foresee all of the success?

MA: I don't think no one ever does. I think you kind of go in with... I wouldn't even say a plan. Just an idea to see if it works out. Fortunately, it all worked itself out. I mean even coming out of the Brits performing arts' school, I didn't go there for music- I studied Business and Finance and I continued to do music there only because that was something I was naturally good at. I never wanted to study that. I wanted to do something else. So in then leaving the Brit School and finding myself a publising deal so early on in what I wanted as a writing career, I didn't know that would result in me having a song called 'Fantasize.' And then me calling Natalie who also went to the Brit school, who I also knew through basketball, to do some poetry for one of my songs- which resulted in the first thing that people heard of.

So this was just a song idea I had! I just wanted to sit and fantasize about you everyday. And then Floetry got it. Then people started to coin the term 'Floetry' and a few performances later, we got a free invitation to the United States wich resulted in meeting the right people and then 10/11 years later having built relationships with these people from the beginning. That's what kept me rounded and what kept me working consistently that entire time- having those lines of communication with people I've always respected in the music industry and never thought I'd brush soulders with. So it's kind of one of those things where, if I wrote this down on paper- would it even look realistic? Because I didn't know... who said we're going to go to Philly and hire 6 producers, win Grammy nominations and all this other stuff. You don't think about that part- you kind iof just do and go with it, and I think I've been going with the flow, no pun inteneded!

That's how I kind of got into this industry. And even with Natalie and myself being friends prior to us even thinking that Floetry would ever work, we grew into the women we are today whilst being away from home the whole time. I'd rarely go back to London, it would be for Christmas and then I'd renew the Visa and go back to work.

MO: Oh really?! So didn't you ever miss London?

MA: Of course! I missed my family and I'd fly them out as much as I could or I'd visit them as much a I could, but it was one of those things... What am I supposed to do? I've got to make this work. I got a call from Michael Jackson saying "let me record one of your songs", so something is clearly going right here!

MO: I knooow! So you and Natalie Stewart of course formed Floetry back in 2002. Now we know you both had roots in poetry and Spoken Word...

MA: No I didn't at all! My only line of going through poetry and Spoken Word was because I asked Natalie to do poetry on Fantasize. My only poetry roots whatsoever!

MO: Wow!

MA: I was a songwriter, I had written songs and I got into that whole Spoken Word aspect of it because I invited Natalie to do that song with me and she was like 'I know a couple of stages!' And before you know it, a couple of peroformances later, we were in the States before we knew it and we were recording what was 'our demo' which had the Butterflies record on it and 'If I was A Bird', which I wrote prior to going to the States, and all these other records turned that into an album.... pretty weird!

MO: Yes indeed! Okay, you say that you didn't have roots in poetry, but then a lot of people used to ask 'what does Floetry actually mean?' But Floetry sounds like poetry! So what does Floetry actually mean?

MA: It flows and it's poetry!

MO: Ha haaa! That simple?

MA: Pretty much! I mean the name was given to us. Someone was like it sounds like poetry and it's moving and it's flowing and it's music and it's Floetry!! That's exactly what it is. Yaaaay! We'll go with it.

MO: You're about to launch your debut solo album, 'Late Nights and Early Mornings' For those that don't know, how was it moving from a highly successful duo to being a solo artist. What challenges have you faced? Is it scary?!

MA: Well Nat left the group at the end of 06 to pursue her solo and acting careers and I was left with Interscope, the labl who asked me 'what is that I actually want to do now?' I've always been confortable behind the scenes writing and producing and that's how the affiliation with Jimmy Iovine came about over there and Dr. Dre had seen me perform at a Floetry show, and so asked me to come to the studio. The same day, I went to the studio and recorded 2 songs with him and he was like "I'd like to take you under my wing, I'd love you to write and produce." At that time he was doing Detox, Busta's album, The Game's album and that's kind of what I got comfortable doing.

I wasn't really concentrating on me or on doing a solo project for myself. I think things with Floetry had blown up to the point where people were crying about what happened to Floetry- because it wasn't a good situation. It was a bad break up and me and Natalie don't talk anymore, there was no love lost. Time moves on, you want different things. So when J Records approached me to do a record for myself, I had already had relationships with the label because I'd worked with Alicia Keys over there and Jamie Foxx over there. So I was like, if it's on my terms and I get to produce and executive produce my own stuff- I already have the idea of how I wanna do it. They were aware of this... I wanna do what I wanna do! It may seem selfish, but if I do something, I wanna do it my way and they were completely down with that. So I signed with J Record at the end of 2009 and here we are!

MO: You mentioned that it was a bad break up betwen you and Natalie. When was the last time you actually saw her or spoke to her?

MA: Maybe for 5 minutes in 2007

MO: Would it be bad if we pried? If we asked... how exactly did you guys break up? How did Floetry split?

MA: Well the last show we did was in Manchester in 2006 and after the show I had to fly to Heathrow for about 4 in the morning. I can't remember what she said but that was the end of it. That was the last time we ever spoke as a group. No tears, no nothing, but it was heartbraking to see what she had to go through personally and that our friendship was jeapordised by business. It was a culmination of all things... we weren't just a group that was made up on X Factor or American Idol. So when things start to personally challenge you and your business, it doesn't work- It's not working.

MO: Would you want to go back to being in a group in the future? Or are you happy being solo?

MA: I've always been solo, it's just that I found creative ways to make it work. I love collaborating and when I find the right team and the right people, I'm able to find a comfort zone. It's just that in finding those comfort zones, I found that in producers for instance, in one of my co-writers and artists... I have a team around me that allows me to be me.

MO: Now talking about YOU, in the last year, we've seen you re-brand yourself. You've lost weight, you're styling has changed- let's just say you're lookingvery sexy Marsha. Was it a conscious decision to kind of re-brand yourself?

MA: Oh thank you! If people identified me because of my weight- I've always had big hair, I still have a big hair. So if people wanted to brand Marsha Ambrosius, it was a conscious decision to be healthy. I was a basketball player before this music stuff. I guess people have seen me from 2002 onwards as Marsha from Floetry and anything prior to that and anyone in London knows me from the Brixton Topcats. It's never been an image driven challenge for me. I just wanted to be comfortable and a stylist says okay, 'here's a rack of clothes... and tuck yourself in here.' I wanted to be comfrotable and I wasn't comfortable not being able to pick up a basketball. I enoyed showing off with the boys and proving that I could play better than them- and that was my thing! So it was like no, no, no get rid of these chease steaks, chicken wings, pizza and anything else I could order at the end of a long studio night. I wasn't playing basketball as often as I did before.

MO: New music. It's new music time! The first single from your debut album: 'I Hope She Cheats on You with A Basketball Player'- it's a lovely song, but em, its very, very bitter Marsha. Why are you being so mean on the song?!

MA: Well a friend of mine went through a horrible break up and sometimes people are foul and they do foul things and I think as a songwriter, I always want to tag the emotions that no one speaks about. I think as women, especially as a female songwriter, it's easy for me to cry over some dude and be heartbroken over some man, and I think those songs have been sung before. I think it was a very sassy approach to all the things that a woman has ever wanted to say to bruise a man's ego. Which means he's going to be a basketball player, he's going to be 6"10, make a hundred million dollars and he's going to be on the front cover of every magazine with the girl you cheated on ME with. You mean nothing now. You'll feel as small as I did when you cheated on me with that little heffer! The whole song is self-explanatory. For that one split-second, I wanted to make you feel awful- and you did! Ha ha!

MO: Ha haaa! I love that! I love it! I love the fact that you're so honest and real, and as you said, it's very refreshing. Instead of us women sitting down writing a heartbreak song, you were out there and you said, 'this is what I want...'

MA: I've written a million songs and I don't think I've ever shyed away from what my pen wanted to say. Whether I've been completely blunt, upfront and honest about wanting a man to say 'yes' and I want to undress him and make love to him. I don't think a woman has ever spoken out of her mouth that forwardly prior to that record.

MO: So on 'Late Nights and Early Mornings', what else are you trying to say to your listeners? What else does this album express for you Marsha?

MA: I'm just being honest and I've always tried to be that. The whole album takes that stance.

MO: And lastly, you are very, very stunning Marsha! Are you courting at the moment? Is there a Mr. Ambrosius?

MA: Well... There's no time! I have an album coming out. I really don't want to rely on anyone and be caught up in a relationship before I get my life together. I've got work to do.

MO: So you're focused. We love that! We love that!

MA: I'm focused!

MO: Okay, thank you very much for joining us Marsha. That was a wonderful chat. We wish you all the best and we'll see you again very, very soon!

MA: Thank you love.

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