By Mawuse Ziegbe, with reporting by Rebecca Thomas
Marsha Ambrosius’ debut collection of silky solo tracks, Late Nights & Early Mornings, will finally land on shelves in March after the songstress spent years languishing in label purgatory following the demise of the neo-soul duo Floetry. After briefly aligning with the legendary Dr. Dre’s hip-hop heavy Aftermath imprint, Ambrosius’ long-awaited LP will soon be available for public consumption, but the British singer assured MTV News she had no beef with the Doc or how the project was handled, even though she didn’t end up releasing her debut through the storied label. The “Far Away” crooner explained that the Aftermath situation was born of necessity in the wake of being musically homeless for a bit.
“The transition between me being over at the Geffen/Interscope/Aftermath umbrella was because when Floetry was no longer — Nat [Natalie Stewart] left the group and I was left over at the label — I needed to do something. So you know with the likes of the Ron Fairs and Jimmy Iovines and Dr. Dre, who had seen me perform before and heard my writing skills and were like, ‘OK I would love for you to come over here and see what we could do.’ And that’s how, you know, Busta Rhymes and the Game and all those other features came about,” she said. “Dr. Dre hadn’t had success with R&B and making R&B albums, so yes, that stint was short-lived but one of a learning curve for me in knowing who I wanted to be and how I wanted to be portrayed as an artist, if that’s what I want to do.”
Ambrosius added that she’s not in the music game to crank out trendy, ephemeral hits, but to rather make music that makes an impact, and found that her current label, J Records, was an inviting environment in which to craft memorable soul jams.
“I’m trying to be Quincy Jones in this thing,” she explained. “I don’t want to make a ringtone record and just have it out that one day. I want to make albums that make sense. So in coming to J Records, I’d had a relationship with them because I’d already worked with Alicia Keys and Jamie Foxx and we already had that rapport. So they were like, ‘OK come over here.’ I was like, ‘You know, yeah, there’s singers over there and we’re all respectful and we all get along. Yeah, let me see what happens with this.’ ”
As a newly minted member of the J Records family, Ambrosius said the project swiftly came together.
“It happened, like, overnight for me. I have one month from today [and] my album is in stores. I signed December 2009,” she said. “The album is complete by March, like, ready to go. It was 70 percent complete going into the deal ’cause I already had records, but to make it what it is you find the missing pieces to the puzzle, and it all makes sense now. It feels like ‘Oh my gosh, the longest Christmas Eve ever.’ I can’t wait for March 1, I’m so excited.”
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