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Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Valerie"

When I got the call to perform with Mark Ronson this past Monday and Tuesday night at The Music Hall of Williamsburg and Webster Hall, I WAS ECSTATIC!!! First of all, Mark Ronson is a genius and I love him so of course I'd want to share the stage with him. Second thing that came to mind was what song I'd be performing with him. "Valerie." Now I'm all to familiar with that song. For many, it's just another smash hit record that we all sing along to. For me, it was one of my Aunty Beryl's favorite songs.

I remember making the playlist earlier this year of all her favorite songs. "Valerie" was the only song I had on twice because she enjoyed two versions of it. I hadn't listened to the song since then. I'd avoid it. It would come on in random stores/shops and I'd tune it out or just leave. As many times as I'd heard "Valerie" I didn't know it word for word and on that Monday, I had only 2 hours to learn it. I opened iTunes on the laptop, went straight to Aunty Beryl's playlist and sat on the Amtrak train from Philly to NY. I looked up the lyrics, listened to the melodies over and over and over again and it wouldn't sink in. Just as it hadn't then, just as I had wanted to forget it, I did. I asked if they would kindly have the lyrics on the stage for me. And they did.

I was picked up from Penn station and rushed right to the venue, right to the dressing room, right before stage time with barely enough time to get it together. Mark Ronson & The Business Intl, Spank Rock & Pill all in the dressing room, all very welcoming. I was handed a set of the lyrics 5mins before I got on stage and smiled thankfully. Even staring at the lyrics, they wouldn't stay with me. I openly joked with the band and artists how I didn't know the words. They gave me the "OMG" looks. I promised them I'd be okay.

I emailed a copy of the lyrics to my blackberry. I decided that I was going to hold my blackberry during my performance and act like I was twitpic'n. Not because by that point I didn't know the lyrics, but because my screensaver on my blackberry is Brompton House, Croxteth Drive, Sefton Park, Liverpool, England. My Aunty Beryl lived there. She made the best egg nogs EVER. She would make a roast dinner for you if you said you were a bit peckish. She loved that song "Valerie". And the last time I heard it was the day of her funeral. That playlist I made comprised of all the songs that we put together as a family, of all the songs that reminded us of her. The song I remember the most from that day was "Valerie". The picture of Brompton House on my blackberry got me through that performance. Twice. And I know she's with me. Singing her heart out along with crowd.

I miss her.

We all do.

R.I.P Aunty Beryl

"Well sometimes I go out by myself
and I look across the water
and I think of all the things, what you're doing
and in my head a paint a picture..." - Valerie


Friday, October 8, 2010

The Ballad of Hope She Cheats: Sex So Good

Hey everyone :)

I decided to take it back, way back... back when it was just me and my pen and my piano. "Hope She Cheats" is living the life at radio right now :) so happy, billboard charted and all, my little boo boo of a song, the little engine that almost never was :) thanx UStream Fam :) thanx Canei Finch & Clutch :) that was an interesting evening :) Look at how it all turned out now ;)

When I initially wrote the song, I heard it really mellow and jazzed out, similar to how I 1st performed it at SOB's :) and this is exactly what I did :)

After UStreamin last night, sat there at the keys and went in, didn't mean to be up till 7AM but ahh well :) for me, well worth it :)

Un-mixed of course but will be at a later date...

I created this for those who don't know I write and produce :) for those who want a glimpse of who I am :)

The chords, the harmonies, the cow bell LOL even the thunder storm :) I've been making songs like this for a while now :) BRITS Performing Arts School knows that :) Good old 92' :)

Listen & Download :)

Dream Inception

*I wrote this piece after watching the movie "Inception" thoroughly enjoyed the concept. What if you could give someone the idea of love??? :)

"I am everything that you need
the more I tell you so
the more that you believe
your love for me will grow
I'm just to plant the seed
you and I can begin to dream

I am what you've been searching for your whole life
the more I let you know
the more I'm on your mind
your love for me is so ideal
so divine this time
I'm so ready
oh so ready
for your love tonight

So I'll dream..."

Friday, September 10, 2010

10 years ago today... 9/11

I was just waking up around noonish. The night before, I'd been in the studio in Conshohocken with Dre & Vi and Glenn Lewis listening to new joints of "World Outside my Window". It was an eerily calm starry night. The conversations went from the smallest things to extreme conspiracy theories. I remember me pointing out what appeared to be a UFO to Glenn as we stared at the sky around 5AM September 11th. Still open off the possibilities of convos and what we thought our eyes had seen, we all headed back to the city in 2 separate vehicles. It's so dark on 76 but it was extra dark that night especially leaving from Conshohocken. Something lit up the sky, I'm not sure if it was a single firework or a meteor or a UFO. I had no idea what it was! But we all saw it! It was so blatantly unexplained we all just nodded in agreement that we saw something. Getting closer to center city it got a little lighter outside.

I'd just moved into my new apartment on Front & Arch. I didn't have a house phone or a TV yet. Just a futon and a bed. I was also buying a cell phone that day. Around 1pm, figured I'd go by the studio and see what was going on. For 1pm on a Tuesday, Philly was awfully quite. Not a single car on the road that I recall. No people. Huh??? The studio was on 3rd & Callowhill, across the street was my managers office and there's a federal building on the other block. No cars. No people. Did I die in a car crash the night before and is this all some kind of weird ghost town??? I didn't know what the heck is going on, I just knew that it was weird.

No one is in the studio. I head over to my manager's office and just by chance, J Erving III (my manager) is coming down the elevator. I'm like what the heck is going on. He's looking at me all crazy like "You don't know? Someone crashed into the twin towers this morning!" Now my first reaction, I'm perplexed. I can't even put together in my mind what he just said. What the heck does that mean??? He tries to explain. "Two planes flew INTO the towers this morning, intentionally, and they came crumbling down!" My 2nd reaction, it's World War 3!!! OMG!!! I've got to call home, no one knows where I am, I was supposed to be in NY this morning but studio ran late and I didn't go. The one way my fam had been communicating with me was on the studio phone till I got my cell phone!!! OMG!!! My family is PANICKING right now!!! OMG!!! I know the other producers from A Touch of Jazz were flying this morning!!! OMG!!!

I run over to the studio, turn on the TV!!! OH SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The phones lines were busy, couldn't get ANYONE on the phone! Finally get through to my mother to let her know I'm in Philly and I'm okay asking to please tell the rest of the family I'm okay. Finally got a hold of my aunt who worked at Merrill Lynch at the time right next to the towers. She just got back to Brooklyn on foot, she was crying, had no idea whether everyone she knew had made it out of the area alive. I felt sick. I got through to the producers who said their planes took emergency nose dives to the nearest airports that morning. They had no idea what was going on till grounded, said the pilot said buckle your seat-belts, we're making an emergency landing. They also said they had no idea planes could fly like that, it was terrifying.

I took the TV out of the studio, put it in the back of the truck and back to my apartment. Watched. Waited.

The Day The Earth Stood Still.

I'll never forget that day...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BASKETBALL PLAYERS!!! Look at how it all turned out now...

I once was a basketball player!!! That's all I knew. I may have been born with a basketball in my big old hands. My love for the sport runs deep. Stemming from the deeply instilled programming of a basketball coach of a father, Coach "Ambo" for those who had the honor of being schooled by my biased opinionated fave. Not playing was NEVER an option for me. I remember shooting 3's at a Tooting Bec outdoor court in the rain, about 15yrs old, dropping them like it was nothing, my dad rebounding the ball and giving me half way decent passes intentionally. My brother side-lined and inspired, his big sister had game :) My brother having the best looking shot I've ever seen, I had to practice twice as hard. Playing for both the junior girl's and the women's team, I'd still practice with the boys.

Monday - Bishop Thomas Grant School/Wandsworth
Tuesday - Norwood Girls School
Wednesday - Brixton Recreation Centre
Thursday - Henry Thorton/Bishop Thomas Grant/Norwood Girls
Friday - Dick Shepard/Brixton Rec/Crystal Palace
Saturday - Away Game
Sunday - Home Game

That was my life. Add playing for the England squad to that schedule and it was more. Never worried about not being able to run, never worried about not being able to keep up with everybody. I was built for this! I'd even show up at other peoples runs. Show up at the court and get "That's Marvin's sister." I'd just smile. I loved it! I remember a tournament I played in at Crystal Palace and for some reason, one of the other teams thought I was injured. A few opposing bench players saw me suiting up in the locker room and looked as if they'd seen a ghost. I jog on the court and the other team looked like they were having an argument. Subject: "You told me she was injured!!!" LMAO

I also broke ankles. Literally!!! Well maybe she sprained it but it was bad. Another Crystal Palace incident. We were up by a fair amount so Coach Andrea Norton let me bring up the ball. Left to right, right, right, left. This chick was on the floor squirming, grabbing her ankle. The crowd explodes into "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH's" Ref blows the whistle, she's carried off court, I AM SO EMBARRASSED!!! I didn't mean it! I just crushed that girls dreams, or what I thought they were because of my passion for the game. I felt like Bobby in Karate Kid when he was asked to sweep the leg :(

I'd know a few weeks later how I assumed she felt. Scrimmage at Elephant & Castle court. Won most of the games except that last one and I do not want to leave the gym on a loss. One more game. That one more game changed EVERYTHING! Glendora was guarding me, I had the ball at the top of the key, waited on the pick, wasn't coming quick enough so I went to put the ball on the floor and all I hear is "CRRRUNCH" My foot felt like it shattered into a million pieces. I'm actually cringing and tearing up a bit as I write this because as my ankle shattered, so did the world around me. Everything I expected of me and my future disappeared into blackness. I remember everyone standing around me on the court, trying to help me get up. I don't remember my dad even getting there. I just remember crying in the car on the way to Kings College Hospital. Sitting in a wheelchair in A&E. Crying. My foot bruised and swollen. Crying. My dad holding my hand. Crying. My mother hugging me. Crying. The doctor "Torn ligaments." Crying. Wrapped up in bandages and iced out. Crying. I'd taken over my brother's room because it was on the 1st floor and the couch wasn't that comfortable, the thought of hopping to that 2nd floor bedroom. Crying.

A pen and pad lay next to the bed. I write down my thoughts and feelings. Some of which turned into poems or songs. One in particular. "Fly away"

"I'd fly away
Spread my wings so I'd escape,
If I was the sky
I'd let it rain to wash away the pain."

"If I was a Bird" was born out of true heartache. Getting injured in the pre-season. I'd been trying out for the England squad. I wouldn't be able to walk for a few weeks, let alone run. The coaches have probably forgotten about me. My world is over. I was determined to get back. I'd show up to the gym on crutches. Half time, get on the court and shoot 3's. Injured, I couldn't put that ball down. I'd annoy my mum dribbling the ball in the house. Torn ligaments! Whatever, I got back to where I wanted to be and did one better. Made the England squad anyway :) Had one of the best London Youth Games tournaments at Crystal Palace ever. One game in particular, want to say it was the semi-finals. I couldn't miss. I think at one point, I tried LOL I knew at that point, I could do ANYTHING!!!

My down time due to injury is where I found my pen. I'd always written songs, my 1st one being when I was 8 called "Gonna Getcha"! I still have the Casio I played the chords on *well, I know where it is :) My dad was a bass player in the 70's to early 80's in the band "Supercharge" on Virgin Records. Of course influence starts in the home. I had musical instruments and a ball. I had a choice. Both. It wasn't until I sacrificed the other to be as successful as I wanted to be. Saying goodbye to basketball wasn't easy. I think my dad was more heartbroken than I was. Growing up as a tomboy didn't deter me from being a girl. First serious boyfriend was a basketball player. First major crush was on a basketball player. My first solo single is about basketball players! There is a deep rooted addiction to the game and all the discipline it taught me, all the experiences it allowed me to grow from.

Basketball.

THANK YOU! I love you, always.

Marsha Ambrosius

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Hope She Cheats" - Late Nights & Early Mornings

The official "my 1st single goes to radio" day :) haven't had this happen to me since well, 1996. Yes, 1996! I had a song called "Is This Real" that was played on the radio in the UK before I had a deal :) Thanks Choice FM :)

"Hope She Cheats (on you with a basketball player)"

Contrary to popular belief, I signed MY deal in December of 2009 with J Records :) so really, it has taken me no time at all to get this album together :) My situation over at Aftermath became a production/writer deal hence all the features. People talk, speculate and what not. I kept my pen to myself, giving away gems here and there for Alicia, Jamie Foxx, Busta, The Game etc. Mixtapes for fun :) Some of which were taken WAY TOO SERIOUSLY!
My sense of humor is a little dark LOL get to know me :)
Having written so many songs and given so many different perspectives on love, lust, you name it, there are always things left unsaid. That's the beauty of the freedom of speech. I get to say it my way. Well, SANG IT!!! :) "Hope She Cheats" was the one song that hadn't been sung before. I've written songs and felt like they already existed, like someone else could've come up with that (maybe) but this one! This was something that I would've thought about someone at some point in my life. This song was an real experience and a real situation I watched someone close to me go through. Damn ______. <---- insert name LOL

"Look at how it all turned out now!"

I'm ready!

One small step for Marsha Angelique Ambrosius, one giant leap for Late Nights & Early Mornings release date :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wishing you all the best... (hope she cheats) LOL

Ok so... I first came up with the idea on UStream. The online reaction was priceless. Then performed a snippet of it LIVE at SOB's! CLASSIC! I thought about the many songs I'd written, pouring my heart out, getting all emotional and what not. Then thought to myself, what if I snapped out??? What if I didn't feel as emotionally attached to the heartache as I was to the bruised ego??? When relationships turn sour, you want to be the bigger person and wish them well, let them continue on in life without you successfully.

HOWEVER...

You also have that split second (sometimes longer depending on who you are) thought of wanting that person to be as miserable as your ego is without them. All insecurities surface to the forefront and YOU SNAP OUT!!! The lyrical content in the song, as comedic as one would find it, ring true for many situautions I've been involved in directly or indirectly.

"I hope she cheats on you with a basketball player" ... meaning he is asthetically more appealing than you ever were. In most cases, he has more money. If she cheated on you with Joe Shmoe from up the way, you might could whoop his a$$ and get over it. I want it to be public knowledge that your broad is smashin' some eligible starting 5 dude! :)

"Hope that she Kim Kardashian'd her way up" ... meaning (other than me loving the rhyming pattern of her name) it fit the theme. I hope his new chick has a sex tape with some R&B dude everyone knows about. Now, don't get it twisted, this is no direct shot at Kim. It seriously was about her name and the theme matching. If someone else comes up with a better line, do the remix please :)

I could go line for line about the song. The bottom line is this...

I DO NOT WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY WITHOUT ME! lol

Whoever the next person is in your life will have a past. But don't we all?!? Bunch of iChat snapshots, some convos, sexting, pic of my titties I may have sent him that one time. There are a whole list of things that make nobody any better than anyone else.

"Look at how it all turned out now!" ... I'm enjoying life here in the USA (Philly mostly) I have great fam and friends that keep it one hun-ed with me always! I don't take that for granted.

I will always pour out my heart. It is freeing to be free. My consideration for outside opinion never plays a part in my creativity. I'll keep creating :)

All luv :)

Marsha Ambrosius

*so wanted to post an EXTREMELY inappropriate pic LOL not yet! (Mutley laugh)*

Friday, May 7, 2010

Diary of a Black Girl...

So... many have asked as to why I didn't appear in the Wale video for "Diary". A song which my voice is featured on and so you'd expect to see me in the video. If they shot the video a day before or a day after, I may have been able to have made it to the set. Simply scheduling issues.
I made mention of this on my UStream broadcast last night and it sparked off an enlightening convo regarding the battles many have with complexions. I know the song may just be a song to many, but for others who can identify with its content, it would be easy for the message to be lost due to the harsh realities of color complex. A lot of people made comments regarding another video Wale released entitled "Pretty Girls" which didn't depict beauty in the way they perceived it to be. I'm sure a majority of you have experienced the on-going, deep rooted battle with complexion in one way or another.

Growing up in Liverpool, I had the luxury of not having to be "light-skinned". I was black. My parents, black. Back then, I didn't know there were versions of the color. The innocence of childhood let me know no better. I didn't know what complexion meant. I recall myself around 8 or 9 years old at school in my music class and all the kids would stand in a circle holding hands singing a song called "Brown girl in the ring". Each class member would take turns standing in the middle while the rest of the class sang the song. A white girl in the class was ahead of me and the class sang the song as is. It gets to my turn and all of a sudden, there's a remix... "There's a light skinned girl with green eyes in the ring, TRA LA LA LA LA..." Sung by all of the "black" students. I still feel that embarrassment sometimes. I felt so secluded.

Some other experiences that definitely stayed with me...

Hmmmmm... I was around 9 years old on holiday with my family in Spain and none of the white children would play with me. I told one of them that I was white, I was just dark because I'd been in the sun a lot. I had a lot of "friends" after that.

Around the age of 13, I came home from basketball practice to my mother waiting by the door extremely angry. She had been getting phone calls all night from "unknown" calling her a "white whore, nigga lover, bitch, Marsha is a half-cast bitch, we're gonna get you nigga lover white bitch" etc. I could go on but you get it. My mother went to my school the next day to complain. I tried to tell her it couldn't have been anyone that I know because all my "friends" knew my mother was black. The discomfort of having to go back to school knowing that someone had disrespected my mother in such a way sickened me. I would experience many situations growing up that forced me to understand that being light-skinned to some was considered not black enough. And I realized later on in life that it could have been anybody calling my mother's house, saying those horrible things to her, to hurt us. "Friend" enemy, "black" or white.

Everyone has a story to tell and many will empathize or sympathize according to how relative it is to them. We tend to place judgement based on our experiences, emotions, insecurities, etc. The story of a girl who wonders if the tears will stop falling, if her heart will ever mend, if she'll ever get over is every one's story. No race, creed, color or gender. The song rings true to all.

Diary of this black girl.

Marsha Ambrosius

Friday, March 19, 2010

If the shoe fits...

I buy them!!! I have an issue!!! A severe case of the "Shoes"! Not uncommon and symptoms that often occur are extraordinary bliss followed by broke! I knew it was ridiculous when I opened my front door to boxes full of shoes I ordered online the day before, completely forgetting that I had done so. It's easily done. My obsession began very early. I remember the 1st pair of sneakers I cried over when they became too small. Nike Cortez Turquoise w/yellow swoosh!!! I was around 7yrs old STUNTIN'!!! Sneakers, Trainers in the UK if you will :) They were the gateway drug to much bigger, more lethal problems I've had over the years...

1985, Michael Jordan came to London and played at my gym, Brixton Recreation Centre, home of the Brixton Topcats. MY TEAM. My brother was pictured with him in The Evening Standard shooting a lay up. My brother was 5 at the time and also wore Spiderman sneakers that day LOL Thankfully, we were treated that day to what was one of many issues...

JORDAN'S!!!

Soon as a new one was available, had to have those. My personal faves... 4's hands down. Only because I distinctly remember the Christmas that I got them and I brought them with me 1st day of school after Christmas break. I didn't wear them. Just wanted to show everyone that I had them. Looking back, I only recall ever wearing them a couple of times, they remained fresh for a while. I was too scared to get them dirty. One scrape shut the whole thing down. I had the white shoe polish and everything back then lol

The craziest thing I ever did when it came to my sneakers was at a Brixton Topcats basketball game. I was about 18, basketball was my life, I was heavily into breaking ankles and wanted to do so, fashionably of course. I held down a decent paying job as a Librarian :) and with that pay check came "THE SHOES"!!! Both pairs!!! I wore the Nike Air Total Max Uptempo's to that game! One of each. The black and neon yellow on one foot, the white/silver/black and blue one on the other. They cost roughly around 120 GBP back then!!! That's like $240 per pair!!! According to Brixton, I was BALLIN' :) Had a decent game that day too. The shoes! The shoes??? __ ____ __ ___ ____!!!

Now, it's changed somewhat!!! I'm not into sneakers as much. Now it's these... and many others just as fierce that I must have. Even if I don't wear them... I just want to look at them and know they're mine... Obsessed much?!?! LOL The 1st step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. My name is Marsha Ambrosius... Thank you ;)

Yours Sincerely,

ME :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I am not my hair...

If I knew then what I know now :) I was chillin', letting it air dry... With the vicious side part... I think I have roughly the same outfit on right now as I do in this pic lol what I don't have is innocent hair! That untouched, pure, loved hair! And I'm ok with that! I don't regret one single thing I did or didn't do to my hair, except maybe that bleach! No good can come from bleaching!!! But I learned :)


Yes, the ever so touchy subject "Is that all yours???" aka HAIR!!! My response... "Most of it!" LOL I have done my hair every which way possible, relaxed, natural, every color possible, colors you're not supposed to have, I DID IT ALL!!! 1st relaxer when I was 11. Chopped it all off to go natural when I was 22. 10 years later, hmmmmmmmm what didn't I do to my hair??? What I didn't do is grow my natural hair all the way out till it was out of control long. Yes I had a very large afro but it was also bright orange. I'd used so many chemicals to color it, it still didn't feel like I owned it. Let's have a look :) WOW!!! I loved my afro but it was so chemically treated, I may as well have had a relaxer which I ended up getting right before I went on vacation in '07. Thought that would be easier but NO!!! I was right back to where I didn't wanna be! Had to maintain it!!! My natural hair is somewhat manageable lol I can't leave it to air dry OH NO!!! I'd have issues tryna brush that out without doing some kinda damage. What I do have is A LOT of hair. It's crazy thick and when it is long its frikkin HUGE!!!

My hairstylist of the past 2-3 years knows that of me. Ava-Gaye who works at The Beauty Studio W400 Chelten Ave in Philly KNOWS I LOATHE the dryer, I'll be asleep under that thing even if I'm not tired. I DO NOT wrap my hair even when I'm supposed to. I tried. That thing is off in the morning, not even in the bed. Like, do I get irritated in the middle of the night and throw it off??? There was a commercial back in the day when a "Hair Monster" came into someones room and started messing up their hair while they were sleeping. Could be the "Hair Monster" *shrugs*

Well, after endless sew-ins, glue-ins, curls, presses, afros, twists, braids, colors colors colors (in Ice-T voice) I'm ready to let my hair down :) I'm off the relaxer aka creamy crack, my hair is growing at a rapid speed, with the fine touches of 'that hair' added to my hair, I now just have BIG HAIR!!! Thanks to a blow-dryer and some kind Brazilian's :) leave-in conditioners, a brush and twisting it up at night :) I'm good :)

I look forward to where this hair takes me :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I'm just getting started...

So... I thought I would do this a lot sooner. Reluctantly, I've steered clear of jotting down my true feelings out for the world to see but I see how this can be therapeutic. Welp, for the past couple of hours, I've been doing a combination of watching the San Antonio Spurs come up with a W courtesy of a missed dunk by a Phoenix Sun Dunk Contest winner, Kobe and Carmelo going back and forth eventually leading the Lakers to a 4th quarter run and Lakers fans (who've been quiet all game mind you) now flooding comments ala "Told y'all! WE DA BESSSSS" Pshhhhh aiight. I came across my homie Canei's blog resulting in me signing up. Thanks Canei.

Ok, last night, I ended up in Atlantic City on stage with The Roots w/special guest Common. I sang the hook to the infamous "You Got Me" which Ahmir "Questlove" ever so cleverly blended with "Say Yes" :) welcomed to an overly hyped crowd (The Roots shows do that to you) I went in :) Partayed after at Mixx, Yameen All World MC'in, Questlove on the 1's and 2's. Boogied on down I did :) I won't ramble on too much as this is just a test. There's a lot going on in the world. I'm going to go out in it and experience things worth writing about. Till the next time :)

Stay Classy San Diego!!!

* I wanna say that's Frank Knuckles dancing in the middle of the crowd prior to the 'altercation' SMH FUN TIMES!!! :)