Blending R&B with dancehall influences, AMARIA BB has carved out a space in the music industry that’s all her own. Mapping out her next steps after dropping her debut EP this year, she fills us in on her journey so far.
Lacing a multitude of genres together, AMARIA BB’s sound can only be described as a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong – there’s a lot of talent flowing through the British music landscape, but those reigning the charts, let’s face it, are getting a teeny bit repetitive.
Let’s not go on a tangent though; we’re here to discuss the artist whose song took over the summer of 2021. If you aren’t familiar with AMARIA BB, I suggest you pick up your phone and listen to “Slow Motion” – currently sitting at over 40 million streams on Spotify. Or, if you’re a fan of Kylie Jenner, you may have already unknowingly come across her ‘get ready with me’ video to the viral song on TikTok.
Viral success has opened doors, but for the 19-year-old, it’s less about the ‘glamourous’ side of the industry and more about the art of creating a timeless sound that resonates with the masses. “It’s something that I have always wanted to do. I am destined for it,” she says.
Growing up in Hackney with her single parent mother, Amaria Braithwaite was introduced to an extensive musical palette that exposed her to the likes of bashment, 90s R&B, reggae and funky house, all of which are reflected in her style today. More than anything, it was instrumentation and the construction of melodies that drew Amaria into the intricacies of making music, which she tells me she fell in love with at an early age.
The artist first realised she could sing at eight years old when, whilst sitting front row at Hackney Empire, Katt Williams randomly brought her on stage to sing “At Last”. She was a star in the making even then, going on to win the first series of CBBC talent show Got What It Takes? four years later and even performing her own rendition of Musiq Soulchild’s “So Beautiful” live at an Olympic torch relay.
Alongside developing her artistry, football played a significant role in Amaria’s upbringing, and she soon found herself playing tug of war between music and the pitch. “I was always into sports and football. I’ve always been active from a young age,” she explains. Later winning a spot at London’s famous The BRIT School, she made the decision to focus all her attention on music – and while the course didn’t feel right for her in the end, she already had the tools and vision to establish her own path.
Working part time in her local youth club, Amaria soon started uploading covers to social media. Putting her own spin on songs like Burna Boy’s “Ye” and Dexta Daps’ “Call Me If”, her voice swiftly caught the attention of many, particularly within the dancehall community.
With family out in Montego Bay, Portmore and Kingston, Amaria’s roots heavily influence the music she makes today. Fusing dancehall with R&B on “Slow Motion”, the artist’s breakout track was an instant hip mover, with an infections hook, irresistible melodies and buttery vocals in Jamaican Patois.
“It wasn’t a serious song. It was banter! I made ‘Slow Motion’ before I posted it on social media, I didn’t go back to it because I didn’t have a second verse,” Amaria says, taking us back to the middle of the pandemic. “I had nothing to do during Covid, so when I was going through my archives, I found it and wrote a new verse out of boredom. My mum heard it and told me to put it on social media and it blew up the next day.”
Whilst lockdown was a chaotic period for everyone, it provided a valuable moment of silence for her to pause and restrategise. “When Covid happened, it made me go through the archives in my laptop and sort out my music. It essentially kickstarted my career,” she explains. “Slow Motion” was the light at the end of what felt like a never-ending tunnel for many of us, and before long, AMARIA BB was the name on everyone’s lips.
Taking her moment and running with it, the artist gifted us with her debut EP, ‘What’s Done in the Dark’, earlier this year. Eclectic, unapologetic and sex-positive, the six-track project cemented her status as one of the most promising new artists on the scene. It was quick to gain comparisons, but the London native wastes no time dismantling any opportunity for critics to do so. “You can’t compare me to anyone from the UK,” she asserts. Creating her own lane sonically, ‘What’s Done in the Dark’ showcased her true artistry and set her apart from the rest. “A lot of artists sugarcoat stuff in their music. I don’t sugarcoat anything,” she says. “What you see is what you get. I’m raw. When you’re raw and have good lyrics, it’s more relatable and you attract real people. I don’t like sugarcoating stuff; if I have something on my mind then I am going to sing about it.” And that’s exactly what she did.
Having recently joined forces with reggae and dancehall artist Ding Dong for the feel-good track “Live Some Life”, AMARIA BB is currently gearing up for not only her headline London show, but a new year filled with more music, features, and a potential new project. Inspiring men and women all over the world to embrace their power and feel confident in doing so, her voice is one that needs to be heard.