Vancouver Island-born, Ambre Rippon, is a powerfully versatile singer/songwriter rooted in traditional jazz, but she’s not afraid to mix it up with a little R&B and Hip Hop. She’s powerfully driven, keeps a cool head, and is winning over listeners from all over the world.
Ambre’s pitch and resonance beg comparisons to industry greats like Dee Daniels, while her sharp, on-pace lyrics keep the ears tuned to refreshingly revealing personal stories like those of Alicia Keys or Lauren Hill. The self-released full-length CD Ambre: Path of Soul, is a must-have for jazz aficionados of all ages and persuasions. The 12-song disc features 3 distinct styles: bare-bones piano jazz (instrumentation by Ambre); a top-notch jazz trio; and the hypnotic Hip Hop beats found on tracks like “Apprehension”.
“My main musical influences are so hard to narrow down. I’m influenced by many jazz artists including Nina Simone, Betty Carter, and Bill Evans. In terms of Hip Hop, I love Jurassic Five and Blackalcious, both of whom I’ve seen live. I listen to a lot of Urban R&B and rap, including Jill Scott and Angie Stone,” says Ambre.
Beneath the songs, beneath the production and great lyrics, there’s a developing story with Ambre. It’s rare to find someone so comfortable with her experiences that she’s willing to tell them to anyone who will listen.
In March, 2003 Ambre performed at the United for Peace festival rally at Maffeo-Sutton Park in Nanaimo. The event was held to protest the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and a tearful Ambre finished her set by reminding everyone what was really at stake when a country goes to war.
“Well I’m hardly on any platform, I admire people who use their position to help others, in whatever form it takes. And as far as messages through the music itself, I think this is one of the most beautiful and powerful things about music, even in music without words for that matter.”
“My next record will be more acoustic with live musicians on every track. It’ll have a strong “jazzy” component, and be more soulful, with better production and new life experiences. I love what I did with my first album, and I know that the next one will be so much better because of the experience that I’ve had in studios and with the whole process.
“I don’t have a manager and have worked very hard, but now that I’ve finished my first album, I just want to perform and work on other aspects of my career. I started interviewing managers before I left for Thailand, and am keeping my eyes up and ears open. Booking gigs is a lot of work.”
Ambre’s recent musical journey led her to South-East Asia in early 2008, but since her recent return, she’s all business and very focused on working the domestic market. “I performed at hotels and jazz clubs in Bangkok, which was an amazing experience. I was also working with kids and traveling a bit. Now that I’m back, I’m excited to start working on a new album and performing here again.“
As a live performer, you can’t ask for anything more from Ambre. When she plays, the atmosphere is intimate and peaceful. She’s very much at home in front of a microphone and can melt the crowd with a simple smile. A very honest feeling comes at you when she’s sitting there at her piano. It’s as if for a moment, every person in the club sheds their skin, forgets the troubles of workaday life and indulges in the irresistible, subtle beauty of this artist.
Keep an eye out for Ambre Rippon in your local concert listings. You can get your hands on her debut CD Ambre: Path of Soul through cdbaby.com or offstage at one of Ambre’s performances. For a taste of Ambre’s next album, click on the words “Haven’t Met You Yet” at www.ambresong.com/music