In Conversation with Amalia
Without a doubt, singer Amalia Townsend is best known for her collaborations with Opolopo and her band Sekoya. I spoke with her shortly after she moved to Stockholm, leaving behind her old life in Vancouver and opening a new chapter with her partner in crime. When asked for the reasons, she adds that it's more than work that brought her together with Opolopo. Having met on MySpace years ago, the two quickly connected, worked together and finally ended up in love. But it's not her love life we wanted to talk about.
Amalia has been involved in Vancouver's music scene for over ten years, most notably with nujazz band Sekoya. “We were playing the most amazing venues, opening for international artists, working with great people”, Amalia remembers. But inside she knew it was time for “a change of views, a different perspective on tings”. Having left behind a city she has grown to love, the London-born singer now resides in Hammarby Sjostad. Or the Miami Beach of Stockholm as she calls it, with a smile on her face. It's here where her solo debut album is taking shape, produced of course by Opolopo. Before I can ask her, she tells me it will be different from anything the two have produced before. It will pay tribute to all the artists and producers that had an impact on Amalia's life.
I mention Bembe Segue and we talk a little about her recent struggle, something Amalia can relate to. Of course she calls Bembe one of her big inspirations and I've always seen similiarities between the two. “She is way more advanced than me when it comes to experience and freedom!”. Then she adds, she understands Bembe's struggle as a vocalist to “step into the light” and doing her own thing. It's something that happens to a lot of singers, whose development comes from “being in bands and being the featured singer only”.
When I ask for her plans to do live shows again, she ensures me, there are “tons of ammunition” to bring to the stage. Apart from her own album, Opolopo is also working on his second album, while his debut on JVC is going to be re-released for the market outside of Japan. And all that cries for an extended live-tour.
But there is even more in the pipeline! Exchange Bureau is about to release her collaboration with BlackTop, from Rotterdam's 4lux label comes the debut album from iisiJii (already available). Amalia is also working with Russian house producer Koyla, whose music will be out through Bombay Records.