Erica Ambrin classifies her music as post-modern R&B/soul.
“It’s coming from the heart, it’s real, it’s authentic,” says Ambrin. She says growing up with a mentally-ill father and abusive step-mother helped her develop her voice as an artist.
“I always felt I wasn’t good enough,” says Ambrin. “Until I realized I was just enough.”
The moment she realized she was “just enough” came when she was 12 years old. Her parents made her go door-to-door selling newspaper subscriptions after school.
“We were their children; they made us work for them. I bought my parents house doing that.”
It was one day on her route when she decided she was worth more than the life she’d been given.
"I stopped – I sat down and took out my pen and my pad and I just wrote," says Ambrin. "It showed me I was better than the life that I was living."
Since then she’s been writing music and working to change her life. She attended Hollywood Academy of the Arts and became a street performer. She worked the beach scene but says she didn’t like the vibe of the city and started looking to move. Her brother lived in Sacramento and suggested she give the city a chance. She moved to Sacramento in 2008 to go to culinary school.
“I realized the art scene was on the rise here and now I call Sacramento home,” says Ambrin.
Since then she’s built connections and continues to perform and write music.
Last year she was on American Idol and while she didn’t get very far in the national singing competition she said the experience was a valuable motivator for her.
“I’m very very grateful for that show. It gave me a lot of fire,” she says.
After getting back from American Idol Ambrin immediately started working on her debut EP Suga, which is being released on Sunday at LowBrau in Midtown. She says she took the feedback she got from the judges and applied it to her work; using her voice as her main instrument and really owning who she is.
The EP is the first part of a larger project. This release chronicles Ambrin’s relationship with a friend who she loved, but didn’t love her back.
“This whole project is about my journey through love and at the end learning that loving me and my true self is love,” says Ambrin. “I didn’t really have that growing up… Once you love yourself that’s all you need.”
The release show is a fundraiser for the full length album titled The Art Of Falling.
Local violinist and songwriter Joe Kye is opening for Ambrin at Sunday's show.
He says this about her music:
"Her voice has that unique combination of power, soul, and passion. Whether she's rapping or singing, her ability to transport listeners can be attributed to her authentic stage persona--she delivers her heart every time, uncut and unfiltered. I'm honored to share the stage with her."