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Home » Albums in Review, Sub Pop

The sweet soothing sounds of Stephanie “Amber”

Submitted by on April 8, 2014 – 9:56 pmOne Comment

Steph AmberIn a world filled with malevolence and hatred, anger and depression, misery and pain, music can often be one’s savior of sanctuary. Some artists create music purely to that effect. Enter Stephanie “Amber” Beatson.

Born in Burlington, Ont. Amber trained in classical piano and sought vocal vindication throughout the years, using music as a soul saver of sorts.

“I started out playing just by chance,” said Amber. “A friend of mine that is a singer songwriter plays in a band, and one night invited me up to play a song with her.”

Some things are just better left to fate, and this seems to be one of those cases.

Amber’s stage career began when she started up a little duo with her older step-brother, Paul Wheeler, where he played guitar and she would sing and play piano, this was back in 2005. The two still wrote songs independently, but when they would perform live together, they would do half and half of each other’s songs.

“In high school, I took guitar lessons, but I’m not a very good player. I often just write songs on guitar with basic chords then I get other people to play it [laughs].”

Amber’s musical proficiencies lay in the ivory keys. She was classically trained at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

“I am a certified ARCT piano graduate, and I also went on to post-secondary as a piano major. I’m not trained in singing, I just love to, and guitar is simply a tool I use.”BeatsonAmber and her brother split ways, but luckily she had already been working on solo material and planning to release a personal demo, this was in late 2012.

“I think the main thing is writing songs that you’ll be able to perform live,” explained Amber. “They have to be within your comfort range of abilities. We discussed this a lot in studio.”

She hit the studio and in early 2013, release her first EP Dangerous Strangers that contained six poppy tracks, themed from social circles to long lost loves.

“There’re are some very poppy tracks on the record, and some soothing ballads, it’s really fun to play live and change it up all the time.”

Amber’s latest personal journey of self-discovery actually took place far outside of the realm of music. She took a volunteer trip to the blistering savannas of Africa to partake in an animal rescue project.

It’s kind of a long story to how she ended up there, Amber was looking up normal everyday vacations then volunteer opportunities started coming up.

“I was looking for ways to make a trip more meaningful, and I always wanted to go to Africa, so I came across this organization called POD (Personal Overseas Development) and they were offering specific projects in Africa. I just thought to myself, I have to do this, and never having travelled alone, I knew I had to do this for my own development. I worked with cheetahs and elephants.”AmberBefore she left, she didn’t realize it would be so hands on, considering how guarded our western culture is. Although it seemed dangerous at first, working with them every day created a solid bonding experience.

“It’s no different than working with a domestic dog, they can still bite you.”

Moving forward now, the plan is strictly to continue on the musical path, playing as many shows as possible and spreading the word. Amber plays shows across Ontario from Hamilton to Toronto and everywhere in between, and will continue to fight to get her name out there until she’s a household name. Amber is also working on her next full-length album with all these new insights brought to life for her.

“Things that have a huge impact on me take time to settle in, and they manifest into something greater in the end. Everything I’ve learned and experienced comes out in one way or another in my music, and that will keep happening for the rest of my life.”

A woman with a strong passion for community work and helping the less fortunate, her latest charitable endeavor was in conjunction with Project Autism, check out the video for the song “Yes I Can” below.

Story by Devin Size, Photos by Dana Boylan

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