R&B songstress Marsha Ambrosius once again returned to London this past week for what is slowly becoming a Christmas traditon – a homecoming concert for the holiday season. Marsha captivated the audience with a consistently stunning and awe inspiring vocal performance. Audience members were treated to the debut showings of material from her latest critically-acclaimed album ‘Friends and Lovers’, in addition to past offerings from her catalogue. But the major surprise was when her former Floetry bandmate Natalie Stewart shockingly appeared on stage and proceeded to join Marsha in a rendition of their debut single ‘Floetic’.
Naturally when we went backstage to conduct our interview we had to ask about the prospects of a full-scale reunion, and you can now read what she had to say on the matter amongst other topics below:
Sope: Last time we met, the album wasn’t out so how has it been touring and promoting this new album?
Marsha: It’s amazing to see the smiles on people’s faces when the intro of each song from the album comes on. The setlist tonight was constructed fanwise and it was really just a seamless journey of all the music I’ve created, starting with ‘Friends and Lovers’, then going to ‘Late Nights and Early Mornings’ and then back to Floetry where it all started. It’s just crazy, it’s new music all over again and I get to hear people sing it back to me now that they know the new songs.
Sope: A lot of great R&B albums came out this year and Friends and Lovers could arguably be seen as one of the best if not the best to drop this year so what did it take to create such a complete and cohesive body of work and how was the overall creative process?
Marsha: It’s what I take pride in saying I do for real. I can concentrate on making a body of work and songs that makes sense to each other. They don’t have to necessarily have to be the same key, same tempo; it’s the emotion that I will emote because of what I’m going through in my life. That’s what makes it make sense to the listener; from beginning to end you can hear where that relationship went to. So I just tell you from the ‘Friends and Lovers Intro’ then by the time you get to the end its ‘OMG I Miss You’. So it’s a whole journey full of music that I went through at the time so it just makes sense as an album.
Sope: One of the standouts on the album was the amazing duet with Charlie Wilson ‘Spend All My Time’ so how did that collaboration come about?
Marsha: ‘Spend All My Time’ with Charlie Wilson was a dream duet, it was on the wish list, and it was something where I guess you had to play all your cards. Like I worked with Michael Jackson, Prince loves me, get Charlie Wilson on the phone and see if he does this song with me *laughs*. And all he could do was say no and fortunately he said yes so I didn’t have to use all my “I did this and I did that”. I’ve always loved Charlie and he’s always been supportive of me and my career so it made sense that we did this song together.
Sope: Any other dream duets you have in mind? I would personally love to hear an Anita Baker duet.
Marsha: No not at the moment but we’ll see what’s good; I want to go into movie scores and stuff. Funny story about Anita Baker – I don’t know if she might not tell people but she definitely shut me down though. We were at the BET Awards and I was like “Oh my God I would love to do a duet with you” and she was like “Girl I ain’t singing with you and all that *imitates Marsha’s singing voice*”. And I was like she just shit on me! *laughs*. No but it was said in jest and she is the songstress but when Nat – The Floacist actually named me The Songstress, my uncle to this day curses me out because Anita Baker is the songstress and that’s it for him, he doesn’t care what I’ve ever done in my career. He kind of liked me after he saw me live *laughs* this is my uncle we’re talking about! I don’t know we’ll see but the Songstress and the Songstress should collide at some point.
Sope: Have you started thinking about the next album? Or are you still planning to release more singles from this one?
Marsha: Hmm I’ll possibly shoot a bunch of videos for a bunch of things. I hate the fact that you have to service what would be singles for radio to pick it up, and then they possibly spin it a couple times. Then you wait for the next week where they’ve spun it 20 more times and then there’s this slow build of what is R&B music if we’re not doing the Shurmda dance or Drake isn’t on it. It’s not getting played in that rotation where I’m supposed to give listeners what they want and you have to wait for that. Like John Legend ‘All of Me’ didn’t happen overnight, it took a year for that record to be where it was at. But it was a piano ballad so it can live, it’s just when and that’s just one artist, one of our urban division got to live with a piano ballad. And a couple years prior to that, I got to do it with ‘Far Away’ so it’s about waiting your turn in this hamster wheel where people want to do the same thing. For me I’m about putting out more and more content, so you’re forced to pick one of a million rather than just waiting on that one for a whole solid year, so I just keep on creating the music.
Sope: You’ve been releasing music over a decade with much success in a variety of facets for one being with Floetry, your solo success and accomplishments as a writer and producer for other artists. Do you find it challenging to stay relevant in this industry especially in a climate where it’s especially difficult for R&B artists to prosper? Unless you’re Sam Smith or Adele…
Marsha: I absolutely understand what you’re saying, fortunately for me I’ve become one of these unicorns that paved the way for said Sam Smith’s and Adele’s to create a UK import of Soul. Let Jessie J tell it or all these other artists that were admirers of what Floetry did from the UK to overseas. Natasha Bedingfield and these other people will still make reference to what was done, that can’t be taken away, so with me making myself relevant – I don’t need to. People reference my songwriting and my style, if you ever hear a certain song and someone says “that sounds like some Marsha shit” that means I’ve done my job, someone is trying to imitate and mimic what I did 10, 15 years ago. I’m going to continue to do different things and become the Quincy Jones I set out to be a long time ago.
Sope: Now this was an unplanned question but I have to ask about this Floetry reunion tonight! What happened, how did this happen and what does this mean for the future?
Marsha: Being on that stage tonight again with Natalie, reintroducing Floetry possibly to people who only knew as me as Marsha Ambrosius the solo artist just made sense. It’s just time, Nat and myself today was the first time we had seen each other in 8 years. 9 years since a Floetry show but as you see on stage, we don’t miss a beat and you don’t forget. Even rehearsing it today, we were laughing at eachother because we were kids when we did this shit the first time. So why wouldn’t we do this shit again, why wouldn’t we give this back to our fans – it’s cheating them.
Sope: So this is you basically indicating a potential reunion tour or reunion album?
Marsha: There’s a basic potential for a bunch of things. I’m all about sustaining legends and we have Floetry at our disposal, we just have to continue to prove points on being the underdog, being the people that pioneered and paved the way for the UK. I think its perfect time for us to do it now, we’re both grown, we’ve done things outside of eachother and it’s just that much easier to come back and give back. But I will need a teleprompter for all these lyrics that I don’t know anymore *laughs*. So who knows we’ll see.
Sope: Anything you want to tell your fans?
Marsha: As always, I do this for you. Sometimes selfishly I’ll sing ‘OMG I Miss You’ in shows to myself but that’s because it’s my favourite song and I do let you know when I’m having a moment. But I do this for you and you’re voices never go unheard, I know what it is you want and I’m at your service.
Watch to see the exciting Floetry reunion below…
Interview by Sope Soetan (@SopeSoetan)