[Interview] Amber Liu Beyond The Frame

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If you were one of those hardcore k-drama enthusiasts who fell in love with k-pop after watching Boys Over Flowers and To The Beautiful You, you wouldn’t have missed coming across this energetic and charismatic rapper of f(x), Amber Liu. Even before we got to know about the whole concept of a girl crush, we probably spent our lives screaming over the singer’s individuality and charm.

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Debuted as a member of f(x) in 2009 under S.M Entertainment, Amber Liu has shown off her versatility both as a member and solo artist in singing, rapping and songwriting. Adding up to her popular artist profile, she also had her in hosting MBC’s Show Champion, KBS’s A Song For You and much more. The American born artist with more than 10 solid years of experience and life lessons finally stepped out for a new solo venture walking out of her label while joining hands with Steel Wool Entertainment.

The start of her independent career is no less than her previous phase, as the singer successfully brought out her first full English album, X. The extended play with six songs in the playlist comprises of both her prior released and new songs. Every track was released one by one with a music video shot especially to visually represent the colours of the single. Amber also got a chance to act more than an artist, as a producer and assistant director for her music videos shot along with her personal team and friends. Following the EP’s release, Tour X was planned in various cities from New York to Silver Spring and much more. Unfortunately, the Tour had to pause for a brief because with regard to the lock-down implemented around the world.

Couple weeks back, the artist in her social distancing routine made herself available to sit with Destination K-pop India for a Skype call interview to share her insights on career and life. Twelve hours apart from our time zone, Amber in her casual black t-shirt wearing a bright smile was more relaxed and excited at the same time to answer the set of questions we had for her.

The tremendous change we got to see in the last year was no easy, as the 27-year-old artist has to be her own boss and employee in making things happen. Despite the pressure and piling up schedules, Amber does find a way every time by her true shades to her fans through her music. “I don’t feel like I am alone in this. Especially, k-pop is all about reinvention. Especially with my group, we were always experimental and nobody could predict what f(x) was going to do next. And I think that is really embedded in my body to do something new every time. With that in balance, I also want to write about what I am feeling. If I am not honest with what I do, I feel that there is no integrity in that. Though schedules can bring out cool stuff, I really want me to genuinely like what I am doing.”

Started her k-pop journey at 17, the artist could really see the huge difference the industry has made in the past 10 years, “k-pop has changed a lot,” she laughs. “When I got into k-pop, it was only available on the internet but that is not the case now. K-pop is pronounced everywhere. Music is a universal language and I am happy to see people embracing it so well. Soon, I am sure that the genre will become normal.” Staying away from the k-pop scene for quite a while now, Amber still has her personalized k-pop playlist with Twice, Red Velvet and Hoody topping the list. She also makes sure to give an honorary mention to her best friend, Eric Nam, as his works are greatly admired by her.

Both the friends in need and deed recently got to hang out together while working for a web-series called Hwaiting featuring four more artist friends, Jamie (former artist of JYP), Jae (a member of DAY6), BM (a member of KARD), Peniel (a member of BTOB) and Ashley (a member of LADIES’ CODE). The show featured the members playing in teams and individuals to win prizes. Aired by DIVE Studios in Facebook Watch, the show was greatly welcomed by the fans. “I and Eric have been talking about hosting a series like this for past four or five years. But unfortunately, we could not make it happen and one day I got a call from Eric asking me to fly to Korea to shoot the show.” Being one among the six participants, she also adds, “We filmed for a long time but for me, it was fun because it was with friends and I grew up with most of them. We were able to reconnect with each other and it was nice to let off our guard while shooting. In the end, it all about me hanging out with our friends and being ourselves.”

Hwaiting was not just the only project been added to Amber’s collaboration diaries. Accompanying various future plans, the singer also had the chance to release a mellow pop track, “Alright” along with James Lee. The lyrics sing, “I know that you are hurting, taking over you. Feel it in your body, everything you do. You don’t have to worry, it’s gon’ be alright,” giving comfort to every listener in the best way. “When we were planning to do another track together, James suggested this and I thought it was perfect. Being a friend of James for a long time, I know how important it is to tell him it is alright and to tell myself too,” states Amber as she also took part in writing few verses for the track. She also adds, “The song is basically for someone you love and care about. It is about telling them it’s gonna be alright.”

“It is easier said than done”

Being known as a rapper for almost a decade, the artist did have to take a huge step in changing her identity as a singer. Despite getting into the industry with plans of being a singer, the idol was framed to be the main rapper of the quintet. “I never considered myself as a full swing rapper,” she confesses reflecting on her past journey while passionately adoring her days with f(x). Though the major shift was not taken easy both by the artist and her fans, Amber is still happy for what she is becoming. “If I love singing, I should sing even though I am not the best at it,” she states crediting all her friends who also helped her with the transition.

Travelling through the stardom, the artist is not new to mental health issues. And with the industry currently opening up a lot recently, she is not much surprised. “I am actually happy to see many talking about it now. I also think there are not enough voices being heard but over the years I could see more people step out. There are lots of scary things happening and the only way to get over them is by forgiving them. We cannot really forget them but forgive hoping that karma will get them.” She further advocates the idea of speaking up as she insists, “Everybody is going through it and people do not realize it until they talk about these issues. No one is alone in this and we can surely come together as a community to be nice and love each other.”

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Our interview could never come to an end without a word about India. The singer extended her hearty gratitude for all those passionate k-pop fans and expressed her desire for Indian curry. “I love Indian curry. I and my roommates in Seoul had a spot to grab Indian curry whenever possible. I am also aware that Indian fans are really excited to receive k-pop concerts and hopefully after the quarantine is over I would really like to visit India,” she confesses.  As a wrap to the interview, the artist willfully shared her hopeful words to her fans, who are having a tough time during the quarantine days, “Just stay positive, that is more important. Keep yourself occupied and be thankful for what you have. Stay healthy. It is indeed a crisis for a lot of people and various businesses but just remember to take it one day at a time.”

Amber Liu has also decided to lend a helping hand to the people affected by COVID-19 by donating 50% of her official merchandise sales to UCLA Patient Care & Healthcare. People can also directly donate their funds by directly visiting the crowdfunding created by the artist along with UCLA.

Get your official merch by visiting https://amberliustore.com/

Donate your offering by visiting https://spark.ucla.edu/project/20747

On behalf of DKPOP Team, we thank Amber Liu and her team for making this interview happen. Hope to see you soon in India!

Make sure to stream Amber’s latest EP on Spotify!

Follow Amber Liu on Instagram and Twitter to be updated with her!

Would you like to see Amber Liu in India? Let us know in the comments!

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