Amel Larrieux Shares 5 Ways to Have ‘Ice Cream Everyday’ [Exclusive Interview]
For Amel Larriuex, there’s a simple explanation on her six-year absence. “Life happens in between, when you have kids. I have an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old and I’ve always been a hands-on parent,” she tells TheDrop.fm.
However, the songbird returns with new music this year. Since 2007’s ‘Lovely Standards,’ a project she undertook as a declaration of her independence as an artist, she’s become lactose intolerant. “I cannot physically eat ice cream anymore,” Amel laments. So it may come as a surprise that she titled her new album ‘Ice Cream Everyday,’ out Oct. 1. Or that she’s festive about it. The album cover shows Larrieux fiercely donning bright bangles, purple eye shadow and a top that could have been worn by a character from ‘Saved By the Bell.’
The album title came to her when she was having a rough day, and while talking to her husband-producer Laru, she said, “I wish I could have ice cream everyday.” But for the Greenwich Village, N.Y., native, the title isn’t about an unattainable joy -- it’s about going beyond wanting a sweet treat. “We all have to find this thing, this little drop of joy, this little ingredient that would make life more livable -- more possible to navigate. I had to figure out what [I] was going to replace [ice cream] with,” Larrieux states.
It’s difficult to imagine the subtle career she's had after the layered explanation of just her album title. Yes, Amel Larrieux is the definition of a subtle R&B star. With four albums in a span of seven years (one of covers), she still manages to fly below the radar of mass appeal -- there aren’t Grammys to her name or crossover hit records. It makes little sense considering she possesses a talent that’s unparalleled. Songs like ‘Get Up,’ ‘Make Me Whole,’ ‘For Real,’ ‘Bravebird’ and ‘No One Else’ are just some of many recorded gems from three stellar albums that show subdued vocal prowess and attuned lyrical content -- unlike music that’s out now.
On some level, the singer is aware of this as she defines success in her own terms. “My idea of success is really individual, and maybe not the standard in my business. I don’t have a certain urgency for a certain kind of career, which is not necessarily always beneficial for me, but, anyhow, it’s natural, it’s organic,” she explains.
Those words -- natural and organic -- often used when describing Larrieux’s aesthetic and sound, don’t escape her latest single, ‘Afraid.’ The song is a mid-tempo affair about “that adrenaline rush you get when you see somebody,” as she simply puts it. Her vocals are subtle as if she’s about to break into scat at any moment, but she refrains. She’s not afraid to.
There are bigger questions looming now: how does Amel Larrieux indulge daily in the refreshing treat that inspired her opus? What makes "life more livable"? The songstress shares 5 Ways to Have 'Ice Cream Everyday.’
1. Seeing My Children Full of Joy
"It sounds cliché, but when I know that they’re happy, I don’t even have to see it, but if I know that they’re happy, like if they’re away and they call me and they’re just rattling off on the great stuff that they did and they’re both talking over each other, and they’re just so excited. I’m like, 'Wow!' That just makes life so much better for me."
"I just feel so great those first couple of moments when I close my eyes. I meditate with a downward gaze. I first start by just listening, so that I can ground myself. I love the feeling -- the simplicity of meditation. How you just sit down and you have to be there. And you realize how much you enjoy that moment of listening to every single sound and what a miracle it is what my body can do. To just focus on what seems as mundane, what’s always there and what I take for granted."
3. Having a Pleasant Exchange With People
"From the guy who makes coffee at Whole Foods to a neighbor to a great conversation with a really close friend -- I love that. There’s nothing like that feeling, even if it lasts for just like two minutes. A great exchange with another human being."
4. Being Physical
"I am a person that gets the endorphin rush immediately. Even when I’m exhausted, I know that as soon as I start moving, it’s like nothing else makes me [happier]. It can be dancing, it can be lifting weights and it can be lifting my own body weight -- it doesn’t matter. I love to be physical. I hate to be sedentary. It makes me insane to be sedentary. I just can’t stand it."
5. Connecting to the Outdoors
"I hate to be the person that’s like, 'Oh nature!' But it’s true. I hear the trees. I hear the tree’s thoughts. They’re calling me. They’re singing to me. Whether it’s the sound of leaves or... the ocean. Or just the air. Or a mountaintop. Or the sound of water, whatever it be, it really serves me. It really grounds me and brings me everything. It brings me back to myself and it brings me out of myself and back to the universe."
Listen to Amel Larrieux’s ‘Afraid’