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Music Journeys: Amber Knicole

Aug 7, 2020

Credit Amber Knicole

Music Journeys continues to highlight some of the Columbus musicians taking part in CAPA's latest round of online performances with the talented Amber Knicole.

Her CAPA session takes place Saturday night at 7, and she plans a musical theater-themed set. Here on Music Journeys, Amber shares what she's been up to during the pandemic and her thoughts on the uprising for racial justice and equality. She talks about her love of music and even shares a preview of a song from MojoFlo's upcoming release. Thanks for listening.   

Perpetual Conduit of Positivity or PCP as Amber Knicole and her band MojoFlo call it, came out earlier this year before the coronavirus pandemic struck the United States and prior to the many protests against racism and police brutality. As Knicole and Mojoflo continue work on their first release since 2014, the song represents the band’s mantra. 

“We really have always been energetic and positive,” Knicole said. “We want to be uplifting. It's really nuts how this all did end up happening. In that song, we say be a light. If all of us keep our light shining, then we can help each other.” 

Perpetual Conduit of Positivity plays…

“We're always in some sort of time especially as black people in America,” Knicole continued. “We've always been adapting to the times. Part of that is trying to make sure you're not too emotionally exhausted. I found a way to participate that suited me. I call it an uprising. I don't agree with the label of protest necessarily. I think it's an uprising. It's not just black people. I've been inspired. I've been to a few marches. Just to see the diversity. There's a lot of people just trying to do the right thing and trying to be supportive. We have time to ingest this movement at this time in a way we've never had the time to do. It's exciting. It's exhausting. It's encouraging. It's sad because there’s been a constant state of inequality in this country. It's complicated and complex. I appreciate being able to make art during this time and to be able to support as best I can.”  

Watcha Think About That plays…

Music has always been a coping mechanism, a source of comfort, a guiding light, and a connector for Knicole. Born in Japan, she moved frequently as her parents served in the Air Force and developed a love of music at an early age. 

“I started singing at about 4 years old,” Knicole recalled. “My first memory is actually children's choir rehearsing. I remember the brown metal chairs and all of us learning kids songs. I've always loved to sing. I know it's on my family’s side. I think it's in my spirit, in my blood. I've loved it ever since I can remember.” 

Dance plays…

“I was at Capital and planned to go to law school,” Knicole reflected. “I just couldn't do it. I couldn't take three more years of school at that time. I couldn't imagine not trying to pursue this career. I just decided to go for it. It's the first adult decision I made. I was then accepted to American Musical Dramatic Academy in New York City. Instead of leaving for AMDA, I joined MojoFlo, and the rest is history.” 

As she reflects on those 12 years with MojoFlo, Waiting - the band's first single with her - comes to mind. 

Waiting plays...  

“I wrote the lyrics and melody to it,” Knicole said of Waiting. “But I found out years later what I had written as the chorus, the guys had meant to be the verse. Over their verse music, I wrote a chorus and over their chorus music I wrote a verse. We made it work. I can't hear it any other way. It was very autobiographical. It’s the quintessential young woman coming out into the world for the first time. A lot of development happened. We worked so hard in those early days. We work hard now, but we're more strategic about it because we can be. At one point, we had three weekly gigs, still rehearsed and had two more gigs that week. That song is MojoFlo 1.0, an original. That song will have a soft spot for me, because it was the beginning of life as I know it now.” 

Someone To Love plays…

As the band puts the finishing touches on its first long form release, Knicole gave Music Journeys a little preview of the next single coming out soon.

Just Keep Holding On over the phone…

“We hadn’t intended to release it as we’re releasing it,” Knicole explained of the soon-to-be-released song. “It was just supposed to be part of the album coming out later this year. We decided to put it out and do something different with it. I think I'm most proud of that. We've been remotely working with different musicians to put this together. I’m proud of myself for continuing to make music, even though it’s hard right now and the future is uncertain. This album as it’s been developing has really become autobiographical for the group, for myself.” 

M.M.I.A. plays…

“I think I can't explain what music means, because music is how I explain,” Knicole said. “Music is how I process. I use music for everything. Right now I can hear a little bit of music. If there's a hum of a machine outside, I find myself harmonizing with that hum. For me, music is really everything. I wake up to music, I listen to it constantly. I've had a growing and evolving relationship with music. As I made music my profession, you end up having to make time to enjoy yourself and just be a listener. Music is a constant teacher for me. Whatever phase of life I'm in. I listen. Just pausing and experiencing the whole experience at one time. Giving yourself time to just listen and not be doing something else.”   

Home to You plays…

“The thing about the arts and music, they've always survived everything,” Kincole said. “I think the landscape will be different. How we access things will be different. We'll never probably go back to life as we knew it. Even if it’s not never, we’re a long ways out. I have faith. We will adapt as we always have as artists, as people. This is not the first time going through a pandemic. Music has survived through the ages and through all sorts of disasters. We just have to adapt to the way that we access it and the way that we deliver it.”