Give Me Five…Featuring Amber Mark

I’m seriously riding a music-infused high from all the new music I’ve been discovering lately. There’s this mood I’m feeling, more than an emotional mood, more than physical, it’s almost seasonal. No, that’s not quite it either. I am feeling restless, in a happy way. Motivated. Dreamy. Itching to go out and see things, visit places, be around friends, and hopefully live music.

What is your mood like today? What music have you discovered recently? What music makes you feel high?

Give Me Five – June 2, 2021

You can listen and follow along with June’s Give Me Five at Spotify and YouTube

Song 1: “Heart-Shaped Box” by Amber Mark

Amber Mark "Heart-Shaped Box" Give Me F
Amber Mark
“Heart-Shaped Box” by Amber Mark – from the single, “Heart-Shaped Box” (2021)

“Throw down your umbilical noose,
so I can climb right back.”

Wow, this is quite a cover. It takes such a different approach to the song, a little jazz, a little soul, a little alternative-pop, a little cabaret almost. Lightness meets the edge of darkness that makes up the song’s lyrics/sentiments. Amber’s voice is gorgeous, and adds to the overall feeling of this version. I think I’m obsessed with this. No, I know I am.

Amber Mark is a singer, songwriter, and producer whose style has been described as hip hop, R&B, soul, and bossa nova. (source: Wikipedia) Yep. That’s a lot of what I’m picking up in this cover of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box”.

If you’d like to hear more from Amber Mark, and if you’d like to help support her music, follow your heart over here.

Amber Mark "Heart-Shaped Box" Give Me Five - Song 1
Amber Mark

Song 2: “All My Girls Like To Fight” by Hope Tala

Hope Tala "All My Girls Like To Fight" Give Me Five
Hope Tala
“All My Girls Like To Fight” by Hope Tala – from the EP, Girl Eats Sun (2020)

“I lick their hands clean of bark and bite,
so they can sleep deep at night.
Ah, all my girls like to fight.”

Another song recommended/introduced to me by my daughter. There’s so much about this song that I’m falling hard for. The spirit of strong women, of a community of them, a family. There is a feeling of support in this song that I love. Also, there’s this bossa nova feel to it that reminds me of the music my grandfather loved, and shared with me. I love the Spanish guitar in this. And Hope’s voice. Wow. Honey-laced, smooth, beautiful. I want to hear more from her.

Amber’s young. Early-twenties young. She’s from West London, and recently graduated from the University of Bristol with honours in English Literature. She decided to pass on getting her Masters at Cambridge in order to pursue music – which is a big departure from what she told Vogue UK was her career aspirations as a child – to be a barrister, lawyer, or a CEO. (source: Vogue UK) Selfishly, I’m really glad she chose music.

Here is a taste of how Amber describes what music means to her:

“The main reason I ever started making music was to create a sound that I’d never heard before but wanted to listen to – the result is a synthesis between bossa nova and Latin influences, with R&B and soul music too. I’d only ever heard singles like but never a full album. So, I wanted to make music where I consistently use those Latin influenced chord progressions and because it just makes me feel good. I want people to connect to some kind of emotion where my music can be an extension of what they’re feeling or that they can relate to it. I gravitate towards happy music – dancey songs that are fun, like J.Lo, “Get Right”, “Signs” by Snoop Dogg and Justin Timberlake. I want to make music that evokes that same feeling of happiness – just making people dance.” (source: Vogue UK)

I definitely picked up on the bossa nova and Latin influences. I love their layers in this track.

She also said this about how literature influences her music:

“The more I read, the better I write. I would never be writing music if I wasn’t a big reader. It’s rare that I consciously start writing a song based on a storyline I’ve read or tried to emulate a particular author or anything like that, but I think subconsciously, and indirectly, my lyrical style has been cultivated almost completely by what I’ve read.” (source: DORK)

I love this! I love art inspiring art. Music has always been a muse for my writing, as well as film, visual art, and literature. Yes yes yes.

“All My Girls Like To Fight” (live) by Hope Tala

If you want to hear more about Hope Tala (I know I do), and if you want to help support her music, you don’t need to fight, just head on over here.

Hope Tala "All My Girls Like To Fight" Give Me Five - Song 2
Hope Tala

Song 3: “Seigfried” by Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean "Seigfried" Give Me F
Frank Ocean
“Seigfried” by Frank Ocean – from the album, Blonde (2016)

“Speaking of Nirvana,
it was there.
Rare as the feathers on my dash from a phoenix.
There with my crooked teeth,
and companions sleeping,
yeah.
Dreaming a thought that could dream about a thought,
that could think of the dreamer that thought.
That could think of dreaming,
and getting a glimmer of God.
I be dreaming a dream in a thought.
That could dream about a thought.
That could think about dreaming a dream.”

Sometimes I forget how much I dig Frank Ocean’s music. It’s been too long since I’ve listened, and there is a lot of his music I need to dig into, and discover. I love the lyrics in this song. The songwriting. The musings on dreams. It’s beautiful. Poetic. Philosophical. Dreamy.

I need to hear more of his music, explore it more. I think I’m going to start the discovery/re-discovery with the album this song is from – Blonde. It’s always so exciting to embark on a deep music dive.

Frank is a renaissance kind of artist. A singer, songwriter, producer, rapper, photographer, and visual artist. I’d say poet, too. He’s known for his idiosyncratic music style, his introspective and elliptical songwriting, and his vocal range. His music volleys between jazz, funk, R&B, and experimental styles, and influences. (source: Wikipedia) Yes to all of that. I agree.

If you’d like to explore more Frank Ocean, too, and if you’d like to help support his music, float on over here please.

Frank Ocean "Seigfried"
Frank Ocean

Song 4: “Call Your Name” by Tora-i

Tora-i "Call Your Name" Give Me Five
Tora-i
“Call Your Name” by Tora-i – from the EP Cavalier (2020)

“They don’t write stories bout women like me.
Say that the floor misses our feet.
Don’t pass go, no,
straight to jail please.
Heard bout euphoria.
Something bout release.
Such things don’t stay round here –
we only know about tears.”

“Call Your Name” starts out with a dance-feel, then goes into something more R&B/soul. As the song unfolds, and expands, both feelings come together perfectly. Lyrically, this song hits hard, deep, but takes a few listens to take it all in. It’s easy to just sway and get lost in the vocals, the music, the beauty in it. But there’s more going on here. More that is worth multiple listens, and digging in deeper.

This is another recommendation/introduction from my daughter. I so appreciate the music she shares with me.

Tora is also young. Early twenties young, like Hope Tala. She’s from London, and her EP Cavalier, which includes this song, was released in 2020.

She says this about the track, “Call Your Name”:

The song is about boldly confronting the conflicting and unbalanced power dynamics she sees in the world. The video was shot by coverboys Motherlan, a crew of young Nigerian skaters that have become an integral part of Lagos’ fast growingy Alté community. Apart from designing their own streetwear, they’re known for their skate videos, and are now expanding into making music videos as well. Quite a unique collaboration, which came about when a friend of a friend introduced them and it just instantly clicked. (source: i-D)

If you’d like to hear more of Tora-i, and if you’d like to help support her music, head on over here.

Tora-I "Call Your Name" Give Me Five - Song 4
Tora-i

Song 5: “Oh, To Be a Rainbow” by Soko

Soko "Oh To Be a Rainbow" Give Me F
Soko
“Oh, To Be a Rainbow” by Soko – from the album, Feel Feelings (2020)

“You don’t need to save me, baby,
I can save myself.
I don’t need your company, baby,
but I could really use it now.”

The last song for today’s Give Me Five feels pretty much exactly how I feel this morning. It’s the vibe I’m going with, along with my cup of coffee. I love the breeziness of this one, the dream-pop swirling around in it, the feeling of falling in love/falling for someone without losing yourself that I get from the lyrics, from the way they hit me. At least that’s how I’m hearing the song today.

Soko (Stéphanie Alexandra Mina Sokolinski) is a singer-songwriter, musician, and actor from France that I’ve been digging for some time now. She released “Oh, To Be a Rainbow” around this time last year to celebrate Pride. She said this about the song:

“This is my gay anthem! Let it be known! It’s about turning all of my very straight girlfriends not so straight anymore! And about not wanting to be saved through a relationship but really wanting someone equal.” (source: vmagazine)

If you’d like to hear more about Soko, and help support her music, slide down the rainbow until you land softly here.

Soko "Oh, To Be a Rainbow" Give Me Five - Song 5
Soko

What songs are you digging today? Do they match up with the way you are feeling? I’d love to hear if you’d care to share.

Give Me Five – June 2021

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