Amber Mark is a Star in the Making

Amber Mark is a Star in the Making

The New York-based musician discusses last year's emotional debut, her new EP, and the next chapter.

The New York-based musician discusses last year's emotional debut, her new EP, and the next chapter.

Photography: Marcus Mam

Styling: Marcell Rocha

Text: Sarah Gooding

This interview appears in the pages of V113, The Music Issue, on newsstands now. Order your copy of the issue today at shop.vmagazine.com

It’s 11 AM and Amber Mark is rushing out the door of her West Village apartment to go to a spa. The 23-year-old singer, songwriter, and producer has just returned from Los Angeles, and the change in climate is making her skin act up. “It must be the heat!” she sighs. Luckily, it’s the perfect time for some well-earned pampering.

Since uploading her first song to SoundCloud less than two years ago, Mark has signed with PMR Records (a subsidiary of Universal), released her first EP 3:33am to critical acclaim, and toured the US. “It’s everything I’ve dreamed of, and more,” Mark says. “But I never thought I would get this far, this fast.”

Mark’s fairytale is bittersweet. Her widely acclaimed debut is about coming to terms with the death of her mom. The seven songs each correspond to a different stage of grief: single “Lose My Cool” details the searing anger, while slow-burning R&B jam “Monsoon” shares the crushing sadness.

The sounds Mark absorbed while growing up around the world with her nomadic artist mom can be heard in her work—house from Berlin, R&B from New York, bossa nova from Brazil.

Creating 3:33am proved cathartic, and now that Mark has gone through the grieving process, her life—and music—have changed. Her new EP, Conexão (the Portuguese word for “connection”), marries the rhythms and romantic energy of bossa nova with the sultry vibes of R&B. Mark says it represents her next chapter. “I’ve gone through this whole thing and now I’ve found love. I really wanted to talk about that, but I didn’t want to do it in a cheesy way,” she laughs.

She usually self-produces, but is now starting to work with outside producers. “It’s a challenge for me, honestly. I’m so intimidated by everyone because they know so much,” she says of her collaborators’ technical prowess. But what she may lack in theoretical knowledge, Mark makes up for with instinct and natural ability.

After all, not everyone can get a glowing compliment from Sade. Mark recorded a cover of the iconic singer’s “Love Is Stronger Than Pride,” and because she rearranged the song, her cover had to be approved by the artist. “My A&R is good friends with Sade and went over to her house and played the song for her,” Mark gushes. “Then, she sent back a note being like, ‘Amber, I wish you all the success. That was absolutely amazing what you did with the song; you’re going to be a star’—which was the most amazing thing I could ever receive from the queen!"

AMBER WEARS JACKET JEREMY SCOTT, TOP 7 FOR ALL MANKIND, JEANS FRAME, EARRINGS GUESS, NECKLACES HER OWN

Credits: Makeup Chris Colbeck (Art Department) for Dior Beauty, Hair David Von Cannon (The Wall Group), Photo assistant Vincenzo Dimino, Stylist assistant Kate Longarzo, Location ROOT BKN

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