Since the announcement of her solo deal with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment in 2005, and doing her last final performance in December 2006 as a member of the duo Floetry, Marsha ‘The Songstress’ Ambrosius has been very busy lending her voice to various projects.
From collaborations with big name hip hop acts including Nas, The Game, Busta, Rhymefest, OutKast, and Common, Marsha Ambrosius is showing the world another side of her amazing talent as an artist. Singersroom caught up with this busy Songstress to find out exactly what caused Floetry’s break up and the new adventure that lies ahead of her; a new protÃ©gÃ© of Dr. Dre.
Singersroom: The first question that I have for you and I am sure that you have been asked this a lot is how does it feel to be signed to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath as a solo artist coming from your Soul background?
Marsha Ambrosius: Honorable, I feel extremely privilege to be in that position and to have the offer, period. It feels like not many people will get that opportunity to be in a position like that so I feel very fortunate and bless to be in that division amongst so many talented; not only talented but legendary in music
Singersroom: Why did you choose to sign with Aftermath instead of signing with a more traditional R&B label?
Marsha Ambrosius: I didn’t choose anything cause at the time for myself I already had a deal in place with Geffen/Interscope, which is really the same building as Aftermath; it all kind of came into place, eventually. However I wasn’t looking for a solo deal, I didn’t go out shopping for a particular situation. The situation was presented to me and I’ve always been instrumental in Hip Hop. [I] already had relationships with Busta and The Game and everybody that was doing things over there. I didn’t think [that] it was so far fetch for me to be on a label like that. I am just all about music period. It wasn’t about a label that had a particular ear for R&B or just Hip Hop or just Pop. I just wanted somewhere that someone understood what I do and Dre had that ear. That’s kind of how it happened. It wasn’t intentional I didn’t go and seek signing to Dr. Dre, he kind of approach me with it.
Singersroom: Recently you released a mixtape entitled ‘Neo-Soul Is Dead’ where you sang over Dr. Dre’s Chronic instrumentals. Was there any significance behind you choosing the Chronic instrumentals?
Marsha Ambrosius: Oh yeah, the significance was me listening to Dre’s album that week, of course being affiliated with that label and him being my boss.
I am pretty sure that people who view Dr. Dre or anyone from that side of the business wouldn’t see them as listening to Neo-Soul per se. Everyone’s like “why did you sign with Dre? He is gonna have you on some Hip Hop gangster sh*t” and I was like well is that what you expect.
Everyone was like you supposed to speak the true about life and love and I am like “that’s nice” but I am grown a woman and I will speak on everything that I’ve experienced so far. The mockery of it, was like “yo Marsha is on Dre’s label, yo this is not gonna work.” I was like ok Neo-Soul is dead then. I was getting a bunch of hits on MySpace about it, so I was like you know what let me do this mixtape real quick. Let me do something unexpected and out of the box and not have to follow and conform to what people expect of me. I will do another one again in a heartbeat and it was just to show people that you don’t have to do the norm or be the norm, you can do anything that you want.
Singersroom: But aren’t you afraid that this mixtape might turn away some of your fans?
Marsha Ambrosius: Not at all, the fans that I do have [Is] cause I’m honest in everything that I do. I come forward as someone who does not have to be on her p’s and cues all the time. I am human; I get pissed off just like the next person. I wasn’t afraid, not by no means of losing anyoneâ¦this is not my album, it’s a mixtape, its fun. What I do in my spare time is just laugh and joke and have fun. I am rapping on it and that’s hilarious to me. My mother hates it. She heard it and she’s like “this is nothing like you; you’re supposed to be a nice soulful lady. This is so unlady-like.” I was looking at her like what’s the big deal? You know some people take it seriously; I don’t take myself that seriously, this is all a funny game.
Singersroom: Does it mean that your next album is going to have a different type of vibe, meaning what’s the new direction of your album?
Marsha Ambrosius: The direction for me is really what I was doing on the first album between the “Say Yes” and the “Butterflies,” the “Hellos” and “If I was a Bird.” It’s extremely sensual, very conceptually based. I am talking a lot about relationships, heartaches and new found love and everything that I’ve experienced; just being out there by myself now. It’s just a whole other ball game being a solo artist cause I get to speak my own mind and find out who I am without having to compromise for another opinion. Being in a group is an opinion thing…Nat and [I] worked together, our chemistry worked so well together because we allowed each other to say whatever we wanted to say. We didn’t necessarily have to agree; it just made sense that she had her opinion and I had my opinion. On this album I get to say everything that I want to say.
Singersroom: Is there anything in particular that you wanted to say that you were not allowed to?
Marsha Ambrosius: Oh no. Anyone who really knows me knows that I don’t hold my tongue. My therapy is through the album, [it’s] everything that I have to say.
Singersroom: What does it mean to you to be a part of the Knight Writers team?
Marsha Ambrosius: That has been by far a blessing in disguise. I am very much a team player, I like collaboration. I like team effort and I think that derived from me prior to music, being a basketball player. I am used to running point or playing forward or doing whatever I have to do to make sure that my team wins. I think by far this is the best situation that I have ever been a part of. Everyone affiliated with the Knight Writers are amazing Jah, Cassidy, Marioâ¦we managed to do some phenomenal things together and many more phenomenal things to come which I am pretty sure that you will hear in the near future.
Singersroom: What exactly happened between you and Nathalie Stewart?
Marsha Ambrosius: It was definitely a personal decision, nothing outside the business. It was a personal reason why Nat and I were unable to work together anymore. I tried to be there for her as a friend and she kind of push me away so you can’t help anybody that doesn’t want to be help. I felt kind of lopsided and I needed to allow her to be whoever she wanted to be and let her go. She wanted to roll, I allowed her to go ahead and do whatever she thought she needed to do. That’s really what happened, grown women sometimes have to face up to know that maybe we don’t get along. We weren’t getting along, we weren’t clicking anymore. You can’t force a situation [just] because people are affected [by] you. I couldn’t live with myself to try to help her in a situation that she couldn’t help herself through and she clearly chose another avenue and I had to allow her to do that. She had to allow me to do me. It was a mutual decision so we separated.
Singersroom: You had such a nice chemistry, are you still friends?
Marsha Ambrosius: Ah mean, that came from being friends for fifteen years and just having the same background and a couple of the same friends coming from the same place. That’s where that chemistry came from. I haven’t spoken to her since July of last year and our last show together was December 2006. That doesn’t mean to say that we are not friends, it’s just that we don’t talk right now. I couldn’t tell you where in the world she is, I hope she’s well and safe and my prayers are with her.
Singersroom: Are you the type of friend that holds grudges?
Marsha Ambrosius: Not at all. Everything happen for a reason, no grudges, no love lost at all.
Singersroom: But can we still expect a new Floetry album in the future?
Marsha Ambrosius: I couldn’t even tell you. I have no idea. I mean prior to me doing this solo project; Nat had released a song of her own on the radio when we were doing Floetry. She was already concentrating on her, doing her solo stuff. I was never really looking for my situation, my situation just came about because we did a show in L.A. and Dre approached me. Then when all that went down it kind of started to go downhill from there.
Singersroom: I am sure that people would like to know more about Floetry but let’s change the subject, who are you currently writing for?
Marsha Ambrosius: I am writing for everybodyâ¦.hopefully Alicia Keys and I get to do this collaboration quick, Ciara, The Pussycats Dolls, anyone at Interscope.
Singersroom: Any plans of settling down?
Marsha Ambrosius: It’s a processâ¦fortunately I have people that understand that and if it works out well, I will be ok. I will have the dog with the nice big house somewhere, settled.
Singersroom: In London or Philly?
Marsha Ambrosius: I don’t know yet, could be anywhere. My travels take me [to] so many places, hopefully me and my husband to be will be where we suppose to be. —— By: Interview By Valerie Varasse