Setting out to explore the layers beneath the surface reflects the artist and songwriter’s life and lifestyle. AMBER has a writing credit on all but two of the album’s 13 songs and she transverses lyrical territory from God, to James Joyce, to her young son. This is a new AMBER, a stronger-than-ever AMBER. Since her last album, AMBER, was released three years ago, the singer bought back her contract from the Berman Brothers, the producers of her first two studio efforts and instead worked with a cadre of talented producers--of her own choice. "With the other producers, I didn’t feel I had the creative freedom I was supposed to have," explains the singer. "I was directed in
terms of how to write my songs. I didn’t feel comfortable in that skin." NAKED then, is 13 new tracks of AMBER feeling completely comfortable--to detail what's new and important in her life, and to spread her musical wings. "I think people will be surprised. My roots are in dance music but with NAKED, I am able to show all the colors I have, from alternative to dance to ballads to classical. Variety is the most exciting thing in life, as in music."
And, her high music standards are deep rooted. Music was always in her life -- growing up with a Mother who is a piano teacher and songwriter and a Father who is an Opera Singer, the Dutch born artist grew up in a home where she says, “Music was just another language we used to talk to each other.” It is easy to see where the musical variety on NAKED derives from, a dance diva with classical training, quoting literature on a hit single!
“Yes!” the first single from NAKED, is probably the first dance song to take classic literature as its sole inspiration. AMBER acquired the permission of the estate of James Joyce to use the text from Ulysses as the hook for the first hit from the album. She sings, “I put my arms around him, yes/and drew him down to me so he could feel my breast/And his heart was going like mad/And yes, I said yes.” AMBER bristles when she recalls that some advised her the lyrics might be censored at radio. "Those are Joyce's words! You have all these songs about smoking weed and sex on the radio and there might be controversy because of the word 'breast?' What am I missing?" The song topped the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and hit #2 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi Single Sales chart.
The second single, the rapidly rising number one hit, “The Need To Be Naked,” at first listen appears to be a high energy “Take off my pants, my shirt, my socks and my shoes, I need to be naked with you,” heavy breather, but after a few listens and in context with the rest of the album, we can see that this is AMBER’s anthem to stripping down to what’s really there, to getting beneath the skin, if you will. "It's not about sex," explains AMBER, "though it has that twist to it. 'I feel the need to be naked with you' means I need to tell you the truth about me and I want to know everything about you."
AMBER is going boldly where few divas have, daring to bring depth and meaning to the dance floor. Expanding into unusual territory for an up tempo number, "He" is gospel--for a nightclub. "I am a person that believes in God and a higher spirit," explains the singer. "This song is a love declaration towards my creator. God is always with me. I pray regularly to make sure my son grows up and when I travel, I pray he guides the plane. He doesn’t judge me, and as the song says, 'He sees me. He feels me. He heals me."
Then appreciate the universal message of AMBER's fast-paced, straightforward "If There Would Be No Tomorrow.” The song showcases an alternative vibe, and includes some guitar riffs. "What would you do if there would be no tomorrow?" asks AMBER. "Do you live your life the way you think you should live it or are you just wasting your life away, pissed off? Do something about it! Have a voice and take control of your situation."
The singer is practicing what she preaches: another standout track on NAKED is "Anyway" (Men are from Mars), a song the singer dedicates to her recent divorce. "It was a very empowering thing," says AMBER. "Sometimes you're surrounded with people that give you bad energy and you don’t see it right away but then you realize people are holding you back, trying to control you." The lyrics speak to AMBER's growth: "I like to talk, you'd rather watch TV. You like to control, I accept what I see."
AMBER says the most important song on the album, to her, is the family affair "The Smile Of My Child," a song about her son. "He is the most empowering and important thing in my life," says the singer. "That's where I always go to put everything in perspective, and what unconditional love is about." AMBER wrote the song with her mother (who has contributed songs to her albums in the past) and the piece, built around piano and a symphonic orchestra, tapes into her musical roots. "This song is different from the rest of my album, but that's what I like, to get people’s, attention and for them to say ‘what is she doing?”’
AMBER is pushing at the boundaries of dance music, daring to redefine her fans' definition of the genre, and laying herself bare in her provocative lyrics. "I am at a point where I want to say to people, 'I have a lot to say and I am a serious vocalist, even though people have buried it under their beats in the past. With NAKED I am finally free. If people like it, that would be great. If not, at least I did take the leap into the deep end."’