Amber Burgoyne is a singer-songwriter that couples elements of jazz with melancholic and emotive compositions. It’s an interesting mix to say the least. So, we decided to sit down with her in her current place of residence in Brighton, where she studies at BIMM (British and Irish Modern Music Institute), to speak about how she writes a song, the city’s gigging opportunities and being famous.
How long have you been singing and playing guitar and did both those skills arrive together?
Amber: I have only been playing guitar since the age of 16, so for about three or four years. I have been singing ever since I was little, but I never had the confidence to do anything with it and I never really thought it was an option, not until I was a teenager.
What inspires you when writing your lyrics?
Amber: I think I really have to feel something, like in the pit of my stomach, that hits me and then I want to write about it.
You seem to write more sad sounding numbers – do you find it easier than writing more upbeat songs?
Amber: Yeah I do, because I always feel like when you’re hurt it really hits you and to me it’s much more expressive. When I feel happy it just makes me want to sit about with my mates and have a laugh. I don’t know, hopefully one day I can write a really happy song that makes people want to dance, but that’s not really me.
How does the song writing process usually go for you – do you keep a notepad full of lyrical ideas and fit them to the music? Or do you write a melody along with some music first, and work backwards from that?
Amber: I have been writing poems since school, but obviously you don’t feel what you felt back then, so I find it hard to use old lyrics even if I have a book full of them. When I write, it is kind of a mess, I will just feel like I need to write and get my guitar out. I’ll mess about with chords and write some stuff down. I like writing like it’s a conversation that I have had, so sometimes I look at old texts. But it always has to be personal, otherwise nothing comes out.
Do you think there are enough gig opportunities for your sort of music in Brighton where you are based or do you find yourself on bills where you are not playing with similar artists?
Amber: Yeah, Brighton is a great place to be doing gigs, because there is all sorts going on. Not like my hometown – it’s all pub kind of bands down there, no one is interested in someone like me.
How far would you like to take your music? Would you want to be a huge pop star or would you prefer being an underground, cult act?
Amber: I just want to be able to play music everyday, I want to make it what I do for a living. Being famous would be cool, but who knows, right?
INTERVIEW BY STEVE DAWSON
FEATURED PHOTO BY LORA CORNES