SFU alumna and singer Naomi Ambrose talks about following your dreams while remaining realistic

Ambrose touches on perseverance, passion, and understanding the complex realities of the music industry

(Photo courtesy of Naomi Ambrose)

Naomi L. Ambrose is an SFU alumna who, after taking a break from her musical endeavours, has gotten back into the industry. As described on her website she is, “an educator, motivator, singer, songwriter, blogger, and life fulfillment enthusiast.” She has always loved all music and is releasing a single of her own called “JOYTOWN.”

The Peak: What motivated you to get into music in the first place?

Naomi: Well, I’ve always had an interest in music. I’m from a musical family: my grandmother used to sing in a church choir, I sang in a church choir when I was a teenager, [and] I’ve been part of other choirs, too . . . My mother used to sing in concerts . . . [Music] is a part of me.

. . . After graduating from school, I thought that my musical journey had ended, and then a door opened for me to get back into [it] so I immediately dug back into it, got some vocal coaching, and [began] understanding the whole process of music a lot better . . . I don’t want to have any regrets in my life.

P: What is the main message that you are hoping to convey with your music?

NA: . . . To use my music, [and my] voice as a tool to let others know that no matter the challenges or the setbacks that you have in your life, you can continue if you are determined . . .

P: What are your main musical inspirations?

NA: Prince [and] George Michael; I’m an old school girl [and] I like a lot of the old musicians because that’s kinda what I grew up listening to, but I like the new kids on the block, too . . . Older [musicians] I like [include] . . . Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Freddie Mercury, the Bee Gees. I like artists that . . . mix styles together. I like listening to all different kinds of music genre-wise.

P: How would you say that your time at has SFU affected your music?

NA: I really took a lot of time first to research the music industry . . . So the research skills that I learned at school, you can apply these skills.  

P: What advice would you give to an SFU student who wants to get into music?

NA: First of all, take a lot of time to understand the music landscape. I’m sure students know about the issues surrounding digital music, and there [are] a lot of arguments that the tech companies like Spotify, they are the ones that are benefiting from the artists . . . and songwriters aren’t getting a lot of royalties. You can have a million views on YouTube, but you just get hundreds of dollars . . . So take time to understand the music industry. Take time to understand the importance of master recordings, licensing, and copyrights.

     [If] you are going to get somebody to do . . . artwork for you, or you are going to hire a musician to play the guitar for you, make sure you have a contract [with them] . . . Join professional organizations, too. I joined the Canadian Songwriter’s Association so I could understand a lot more about songwriting style and . . . the rights that you have as a songwriter.

P: Going off of that, how are you going to be releasing your new single?

NA: I’m gonna have it available on iTunes, and Google Play as well. I will also release it on my website. In preparation for the launch, I just finished filming a documentary that I’m planning to release in either four or five parts. Part one would be the birth of the song (how the song actually came to my head), and I’ll also be talking about the musical style, and what I’ve learned in the process.

I’m also going to do a live video on my Instagram and Facebook talking about the journey . . . and also releasing a lyric video via my Facebook page. I want to share with people what the process was like, what it’s like for somebody who was in music before and took a break, or an involuntary break, and [is] coming back. So I really hope [people] can learn something. I’m doing this to share my dream and hopefully people really get inspired and learn so that they can apply it in their own endeavors, too.

Ambrose’s single was released on her website on October 7 and is available to download from there. It will soon be available on iTunes and Google Play as well.