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Amerie backstage at Femme It Forward, 2019
|Birth name||Amerie Mi Marie Rogers|
|Born||January 12, 1980|
Fitchburg, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Origin||Washington, D.C., U.S.|
Amerie gained fame after beginning her music career with American producer Rich Harrison.
Early life and education
Rogers was born to a South Korean mother named Mi Suk and African American father, Charles Rogers A few months after she was born, the Rogers family moved to South Korea, where Amerie lived for three years. Her father was a chief warrant officer in the U.S. military, so the family lived in many different places, including Alaska, Texas, Virginia and Germany. She has a younger sister, Angela, who is now her lawyer.
Amerie has described her parents as conservative, protective, traditional Christians. Growing up, she and her sister were forbidden to leave the house or use the phone on school days. The singer enrolled at Georgetown University to study literature, and was in Navy ROTC: "My dad didn't force me into it or anything. I joined so I could afford an education." She quit ROTC after her sophomore year and graduated with a B.A. in English and a Fine Arts minor in design.
While studying at Georgetown, Amerie befriended a Washington, D.C. club promoter who eventually put her in touch with producer Rich Harrison. During an interview with Maxim, Amerie said she agreed to meet up with Rich at a public location because she did not know Rich. McDonald's parking lot was chosen, where Rich played his tracks and Amerie sang along. Instantly they knew it was something special.
Harrison, who had just worked on Mary J. Blige's albums Mary and No More Drama, began recording and developing demos with Amerie. This led to her first record deal with Columbia Records. According to Amerie, she and Harrison immediately hit it off. In a 2002 interview, she said: "For some reason we had a very special chemistry. When we would work together something great would happen."
2001–2003: All I Have
Amerie recorded the chorus for the 2001 single "Rule", performed by Nas. The single peaked at number 67 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart in the United States. She recorded a song with Detroit rapper Royce da 5'9", titled "Life", the third and final single from his Rock City (Version 2.0) album.
In July 2002, her debut single, "Why Don't We Fall in Love", was released, peaking at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming a top ten hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Dance Club Play charts. The song was an urban top twenty hit in Australia and reached the top forty in the UK.
Amerie's debut album, All I Have (produced and co-written in its entirety by Rich Harrison), was released on July 30, 2002 generally positive reviews. It debuted at number nine on the U.S. Billboard 200 selling 89,000 copies in its first week of release; the album has since been certified Gold by the RIAA and has sold 657,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
To promote the album, Amerie went on tour with Usher and Nas, traveling on Usher's Evolution 8701 Tour in 2002. She promoted the album by touring with rapper Nelly, performing on 12 dates in the tour.
The second and final single from All I Have was "Talkin' to Me", a top 20 entry on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, although it peaked outside the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. Also in 2002, Amerie covered the song "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross for the soundtrack to the film Maid in Manhattan.
In 2003, Amerie won the Soul Train Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist and was also nominated for Best Female R&B/Soul Single, for "Why Don't We Fall In Love", and Best Female R&B/Soul Album, for All I Have. She received a BET Award nomination for Best Female R&B Artist and an Image Award nomination for Outstanding New Artist. Amerie lent her vocals to the LL Cool J song "Paradise", which peaked at number fourteen on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and became the singer's second top forty entry on the Hot 100.
She was featured on DJ Kayslay's "Too Much for Me", on his 2003 album The Streetsweeper Vol. 1, which reached number 53 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Amerie appeared on Bow Wow's third album Unleashed singing the hook on "To My Mama". She featured on the soundtrack to the Jessica Alba dance film Honey, on the Rodney Jerkins-produced track "When I Think of You".
Amerie gained even more recognition from her first acting role, in the 2004 film First Daughter, starring with Katie Holmes and directed by Forest Whitaker. Also in 2004, she began working on her sophomore album, Touch, in early 2004. As with All I Have, the album was co-written and produced by friend Rich Harrison, who contributed seven (new) tracks to the record; additional productions came from Lil Jon, Bryce Wilson, Red Spyda, and Dre & Vidal. Unlike her first album, Amerie co-wrote every track but one, "Come with Me", which Harrison wrote. She assumed more creative control over the visual imagery accompanying the album, such as videos and artwork—"I feel like when you do a record, you have a vision in your mind and you want to carry it across—and it doesn't end with the studio", she has said.
In January 2005, Amerie released the lead single, titled "1 Thing". The dance-pop song, which sampled The Meters's 1970 funk recording "Oh, Calcutta!", became Amerie's biggest hit to date. In the United States, it peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
The RIAA awarded a gold certification to its digital download in October 2005, and another gold certification to its ringtone release in June 2006. The song was a top five hit in the UK, where it became one of the year's best-selling singles, and attained top ten and top twenty positions across continental Europe.
Touch was released on April 26, 2005, and debuted at number five on the Billboard 200, selling 124,000 copies in its first week of release. The album was certified gold by the RIAA in August 2005, having sold 406,000 copies in the United States as of June 2009.
The album's title track "Touch" was released as the second single from the album and peaked at number 95 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in the United States, although it was a top 20 entry in the UK. A third single, titled "Talkin' About", was released in America only; an official music video was planned but eventually scrapped. In September 2005, Amerie was featured alongside Fat Joe on "I Don't Care", the lead single of Ricky Martin's album Life. The single entered the top 20 in several European countries and Australia.
The success of "1 Thing" and Touch led to Amerie being nominated for several more awards. The album itself was nominated for two Grammy Award nominations in 2006: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "1 Thing", and Best Contemporary R&B Album. "1 Thing" also earned several awards and nominations: two nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards—Best Female Video and Best Choreography—and four nominations for the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards—Best R&B/Soul Single, Solo, R&B/Soul or Rap Song of the Year, Best R&B/Soul or Rap Music Video, and Best R&B/Soul or Rap Dance Cut.
At the 2005 VIBE Awards, Amerie took home Club Banger of the Year for her hit. "1 Thing" also spawned into a variety of remixes by rappers such as Eve, Fabolous, and Jay-Z. In 2009, "1 Thing" was sixth on The Root's list of Top 10 Hip-Hop/R&B Songs of the 2000s.
2006–2007: Because I Love It
In 2006, Amerie returned to the studio to work on her third album, Because I Love It, enlisting producers such as The Buchanans, One Up, Mike Caren. The album was her first not to feature writing and production from her long-time collaborator, friend, and producer Rich Harrison. She cited music of the 1980s as a major influence on the album, saying "I love 80's music period! That's why I did Because I Love It, since it had mostly R&B, soul, and 80's new wave. When I said I wanted to do that in 2006, people were like, 'what?!' [...] but I love it."
"Take Control", which was co-produced by Mike Caren, Amerie and Nicholson and co-written by Amerie along with Cee-Lo Green, became a top 10 hit in the UK in mid 2007. Because I Love It was released on May 14, 2007, in Europe, Asia and Australasia, reaching the top 20 in the UK, where the album's second single, "Gotta Work", reached number 21. The album has been certified silver by the BPI.
During 2007, the impending U.S. release of Because I Love It made the Blender magazine list of "25 Reasons to Love '07", ranking nineteenth. The official release date was delayed several times, and the singles "Take Control" (released in October 2006) and "Gotta Work" were given little promotion, with neither song reaching the Billboard Hot 100 (the latter peaked at number 66 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart).
Amerie spoke of her difficulties with Columbia Records in a late 2007 interview, complaining that the label was not promoting Because I Love It adequately and that there had been major delays and shake-ups within the label executive teams, the politics effected many of the releases during that time.
2008–2010: In Love & War
In June 2008, Amerie announced she had signed a label/production deal through the Island Def Jam Music Group, which allowed her to release her music under her own label, Feenix Rising.
In October 2008, Columbia Records released the compilation album Playlist: The Very Best of Amerie; in March 2009, the label released a second compilation album, Best 15 Things, in Japan only.
The album's lead single, "Why R U", charted at number 55 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in the U.S. "Heard 'Em All", which featured rapper Lil Wayne, peaked at number 81 on the same chart; it did, however, enter the top 10 on the Korean pop charts. With little radio support, and hindered by distribution problems, In Love & War debuted at number 46 on the Billboard 200 and number three on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
In July 2010, Amerie announced that she had changed the spelling of her stage name to Ameriie, explaining: "I operate on vibes and intuition, and I believe everything is energy; the vibration of the double I is right for me. Slightly different spelling, completely same pronunciation!" Later this year, she premiered a new song titled "Outside Your Body."
2011–2016: BILI, Cymatika trilogy, and Drive
In July 2011, it was reported that Amerie was in the studio working on her fifth studio album, titled Cymatika Vol. 1. The album's title is based on the word cymatics, the study of visible sound and vibration. The production lineup consists of Riley Urick, The Buchanans, and Andre Harris (of Dre & Vidal), among others; Amerie said that she may reunite with Rich Harrison for the project but that it would be "a matter of when and in what way." Cymatika Vol. 1 will also include special guest appearances from Drunken Tiger's Tiger JK and Tasha Reid.
According to Amerie, Cymatika will explore freedom, androgyny, and the new world order, and is influenced by trance, electronica, house, and new wave. Second and third volumes of Cymatika are planned.
In 2012, Amerie announced a forthcoming 'mini-LP' titled The Prelude. In 2013, she stated that she had been working on a new project, Because I Love It Vol. II, a follow-up to her 2007 album. She said this album, BILI, stemmed from songs that did not fit sonically or thematically onto Cymatika—"songs that are heavy in percussion, but have a very aggressive, soulful element to them. They don't exist in any one time, or sound of the moment". BILI and Cymatika were both slated for release in 2015.
A single, "What I Want" (which samples "Apache" by Incredible Bongo Band), was released from BILI in 2014. Later in 2014, she premiered the track "Mustang" and announced a UK tour for March 2015.
In March 2015, Amerie collaborated with long-time friend and producer Rich Harrison on a single, "Out Loud". She promoted the song through live performances and made it available on SoundCloud and YouTube. In May 2016, she appeared on The Breakfast Club, 105.1 and announced an EP titled Drive, released on May 20, a second untitled EP due later on in the year, and that she's still at work on her Cymatika album which will be a trilogy.
Drive, initially being released on SoundCloud, accumulated more than 100,000 streams within its first 3 days of release, and was named one of the best R&B albums of 2016 by Rolling Stone. Additionally, she published an anthology book via Bloomsbury Publishing titled Because You Love to Hate Me in 2017 as well as a sci-fi trilogy novel series. She has released a single called "REDRUM", which is part of an upcoming album titled MA3.
2018-present: 4AM Mulholland and After 4AM
On October 17, 2018, Amerie posted on her Instagram a picture with the date "October 19" indicating new music coming. The next day October 18, she posted pictures of her new double album, released as two separate albums, 4AM Mulholland and After 4AM. The two albums make up her first album release in nine years, since In Love & War was released in 2009. This is also her second independent release since her EP Drive. She started her album tour in 2019.
Since the start of her career, Amerie has been heavily involved within the creative process of her music, receiving not only writing credits but production and instrumentation credits as well. Amerie is a soprano.
In an interview with Myplay.com, she described her early process of recording music: "I used to record songs that I wrote by using two different tape recorders and two separate tapes. I would start by recording myself on the first tape, singing the song down from top to finish. Then, I would play it back, while singing the harmonies and recording them on the second tape. I'd just keep repeating the process, going back and forth between tapes until I had a final version of the full song on one tape, with stacked harmonies, backgrounds and everything!".
Amerie listed diverse musical influences in a 2014 interview, including the musical Grease, Motown era soul music, late 1960s rock and roll, heavy metal, 1980s pop and new wave, German pop music, Korean traditional music, R&B, and hip hop. She cited film scores as an inspiration, describing them as "that very surround-sound, immersive experience".
While she almost exclusively releases English-language songs, Amerie has recorded with Korean artists such as 4minute on "Heard 'em All", which a performance aired in Korean Broadcasting System and Mnet. She did a performance with 4minute for Kia Motors.
In 2003, Amerie was the presenter of the BET teen/youth lifestyle series The Center, which she also helped to develop. In 2004, Amerie earned her first acting role, portraying the role of Mia Thompson, a college student who rooms with the president's daughter, in the film First Daughter, alongside Katie Holmes.
In 2004, Amerie began dating her manager, Sony music executive LG Nicholson, On February 27, 2010, it was officially announced that Amerie and Nicholson were engaged. The couple married on June 25, 2011, in an oceanfront ceremony in Anguilla. On May 15, 2018, she and Nicholson welcomed their first child, a son.
- Studio albums
- All I Have (2002)
- Touch (2005)
- Because I Love It (2007)
- In Love & War (2009)
- 4AM Mulholland (2018)
- After 4AM (2018)
|2003||The Center||Herself / Hostess|
|2004||First Daughter||Mia Thompson|
Awards and nominations
|2003||NAACP Image Awards||Herself||NAACP Image Award for Outstanding New Artist||Nominated|
|BET Awards||Best Female R&B Artist||Nominated|
|Billboard Music Awards||Best New R&B/Hip Hop Artist||Nominated|
|Best Female R&B Hip Hop Artist||Nominated|
|Soul Train Music Awards||Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist||Won|
|All I Have||Best R&B/Soul Album - Female||Nominated|
|"Why Don't We Fall in Love"||Best R&B Soul Single - Female||Nominated|
|2004||Black Reel Awards||"Paradise" (LL Cool J feat. Amerie)||Black Reel Award for Best Original or Adapted Song||Nominated|
|2005||MTV Video Music Awards||"1 Thing"||Best Female Video||Nominated|
|Billboard Music Awards||Top Soundtrack Single||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Herself||Choice Female Breakout Artist||Nominated|
|"1 Thing"||Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Track||Nominated|
|BET Awards||Video of the Year||Nominated|
|Herself||Best Female R&B Artist||Nominated|
|Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards||Aretha Franklin Award for Entertainer of the Year||Won|
|Music Television Awards||Best New Act||Nominated|
|MOBO Awards||" 1 Thing"||Best Single||Nominated|
|Vibe Awards||Club Banger of the Year||Won|
|2006||Grammy Awards||Touch||Best Contemporary R&B Album||Nominated|
|"1 Thing"||Best R&B Female Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Song From a Movie||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Video from a Film||Nominated|
|2007||MOBO Awards||"Take Control"||Best Song||Nominated|
|Virgin Media Music Awards||Herself||Most Fanciable Female||Nominated|
|2009||Rober Awards Music Poll||Best R&B/Soul||Nominated|
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