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Offering original and distinctive takes on the pop landscape, Marét and LIV LI (the new stage name of Amber Nichols) are both releasing new creative projects this week.
Former Sydney songstress Marét has moved to Canberra to give herself some creative space and will be releasing her self-titled debut EP on Friday.
She chose Canberra to find inspiration in nature, and the people and distinctive culture of the city.
“Actually, I thought up a song when I was walking up Mt Ainslie,” she laughs. “Being in Canberra really allowed some space for the songs to come because there’s a lovely openness to being here.”
“The cultural society of Canberra is really supportive of music and creation in general… I find it really inspiring.”
Her album is an infectious blend of electronic and pop with RnB, blues, and jazz influences with themes ranging from release and empowerment in “Perfectly Imperfect” to quiet tenacity in the more introspective “We Are Ready”.
Marét had no idea the EP was going to be so diverse musically when she started it.
“But I’m really happy that it is,” she adds. “There’s songs for everybody.”
She hopes for the music to go into peoples’ hearts—to be laughed to, cried to, danced to, for people to go running to, and to put on at the end of a long day.
Meanwhile a face and voice very familiar to Canberrans is premiering her new music video.
The only difference is Amber Nichols is now going by the name LIV LI.
Known to many from reality TV series, The Voice, Amber has sought to “break free from preconceived notions of who I was” by literally creating a new name for herself.
“I wanted a new sound…I wanted to be something totally fresh, with no boxes. There’s no rules or limitations on who I can be as LIV LI.”
Her new single “Bloom” has been released with a video premier this week.
Interestingly, the first release is a remix—a very different take on the original which will come out in a couple of weeks.
On the development between the two, LIV LI says, “I never expected that ‘Bloom’ in its original form could turn into this dance anthem or something that anybody would groove to. The original is quite a haunting, weeping, arresting ballad.”
The song elevates the concept of always having the chance to go for something, regardless of how old, broken or dysfunctional we become.
“When you’re little, everyone tells you that you can be anything… Then we lose that childlike, innocent way of looking at the world (and our) dreams just kind of get kicked away and censored. ‘Bloom’ tells us we can still dream.”
The single very much reflects the singer’s personal experiences with self-doubt and stage fright.
“I didn’t have that confidence [to pursue a career in music early on]. Finding my way on my own was tough but every time you step out of your comfort zone it gets easier. You have to keep exposing yourself to things that scare you.”
Addressing the distinctions between records released under “Amber Nichols” and “LIV LI”, Amber says, “I’m still very much the same writer…It’s still storytelling. It’s the production that’s different.”
She assigns the colour blue to her current music—a departure from her previous orange.
“When I write songs I see them in colour, so when I was doing the folk-y organic stuff, I saw the songs and the production in oranges and pinks and reds and yellows. Now that I’ve moved into electronic things, it’s more purples and blues. That’s how I know when I’m writing a song, how it should be produced.”