AMERY is an extraordinary young Belgian artist who has just released…
a stunning song in So Good. It is an apt title from someone making his first steps into music. Born to Rwandan parents; the promising songwriter fell for music after hearing Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean on MTV – that extraordinary video has inspired so many other before and after. His grandmother purchased him an African drum which was an exciting gift for a five-year-old. Piano followed, and before long, a bona fide musician was created: someone mixing a love of American music with those African roots. Now based in Belgium, we get a multifaceted, multicultural singer who has sat at the feet (figuratively) of John Legend, Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder. Under the tutelage of W!G Music, where he surrounded by an impassioned team, some very exciting sounds are coming together. I talk to him about the new single and that extraordinary background; how his Rwandan heritage has influenced him and those special albums that have remained with him the longest.
Hi, Amery. How are you? How has your week been?
My week has been amazing: I’ve just hit over 10, 000 streams on Spotify! I’m trying to come up with new writing ideas and to stay focused on music.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a young music-lover born in Rwanda and raised in Belgium. I’m the only one in my family who actually understands music. But most importantly, I want to introduce myself as Amery the artist.
So Good is your new single. Can you tell us about it and the inspiration behind it?
Back in the days, I was really nervous to be in love: I didn’t know how it felt to love someone or to be in love until I gave it a chance and it wasn’t all that bad! That’s where the inspiration came from.
Is this single the start of more original material? Is there any more work on the way?
Yes, I can definitely say that I’m working on new material.
I’m always working and staying creative as long as I can to keep you guys entertained.
My debut album will be coming out by the end of this year – get ready to hear more singles by then!
You have Rwandan parentage and were bought and African drum by your grandmother. As a five-year-old, was that the moment, would you say, that sparked your love of music?
I actually knew that I had something musical in me before getting that drum – but that drum-set me on a whole other level.
How important is that Rwandan heritage to your music and the themes you discuss through your songs?
As much I love Rwanda, I’m not so familiar with the culture. I don’t think you’re going to hear any influences of Rwanda in my music.
After leaving high school, you decided to consecrate yourself to music. Do you remember the artists who you were inspired by back then?
Rihanna and Michael Jackson inspire me a lot: they gave me the courage to make that decision.
Both believed in themselves and they started from nothing. That gave me the power to believe in myself, to convince myself that I could do the same.
W!G is the label you’re signed to in Belgium. What is the best part of being with the label? Do they offer you freedom and space to create what you want to perform?
It’s cool because we are all young. We have a lot of fun and they are very understanding when I don’t feel something or want to have space to create magic.
I can totally be myself: they don’t push me to be someone that I’m not to fit the mould.
They let me experiment: that’s why I love being signed to the label!
James Lowland is the in-house producer. What is it like working with him?
It’s a match made in Heaven! The energy I feel when I’m working with him is out of this world. To be honest, I never thought it would be so easy to work with him – but it really became a beautiful collaboration!
How does the music scene in Belgium rank alongside the rest of the world? Is it quite a diverse scene there?
I feel like music is the same as everywhere else in the world right now: we have some great emerging talents. But, I think Belgium should appreciate their local artists more instead of being all about the international stars – it seems to me that France and U.K., for instance, are way more supportive of their local acts.
What do you have planned for the remainder of this year in terms of touring and music in general?
I would like to finish my music first and maybe do some concerts or festivals.
Any plans to come to the U.K. as we’d love to see you here.
I would love to come to the U.K. – it’s so unique! So I would definitely have to come there.
If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?
Thriller by Michael Jackson – that album made me the artist I am today.
I also love ANTI by Rihanna – every time I listen to that album it feels like the first time. I have never felt that way about an album before!
The third one would be Beyoncé with her self-titled album.
Who are the new artists you recommend we investigate?
I love Chance the Rapper – he is incredibly talented.
Also, Anderson.Paak – I love his soulful voice.
Have you any advice for songwriters coming through at the moment?
All I can say is, don’t think too much. Write about something that means a lot to you.
Feel the moment you’re in – if you’re happy, write about it. Most importantly, I would tell them to not be afraid to say what they want to say.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song you like and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
It would be Work by Rihanna, of course!