Interview: Amelia McNabb

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By Lisa Diedricks

NZ is about to get OBESSED, with the newest in kiwi music. Local Tauranga sweetheart, Amelia McNabb comes to us fiercely, independently, and with more fire in her lungs than I've heard from any kiwi artist in while. THIS is what we’ve been waiting for.

Coming from a background of music, McNabb plays both the guitar and piano, and undoubtably writes from her heart and soul. McNabb says: “Obsessed captures a piece of my mind whilst being involved in a deep and yet unsteady romance.” The song indicates and delivers emotions of a kind of romance with an addictive nature, leading to ignored consequences and a slightly unhealthy mindset.

Michael Collier worked with McNabb in the production stages of the single, with its deep subtle harmonics and chilling echo's, the song drives a unique blend of both charisma and simple melody that makes whoever is listening to it, take in every word that is being sung and capturing the purity of the vocals through the clean cuts and enticing beat.

Her single is out NOW on Spotify and Apple Music, it is the first single as part of an EP set to be released later in the year.

I sat down with Amelia to catch up on all things music, inspiration and everything in between, read below for the scoop:

Let's kick it off right, what is your typical process for song writing?

I usually start with a lyric idea or a vocal melody to set the mood. I'm constantly writing ideas into my notes and recording melodies into my voice memos on my phone. There are instances where I will start to write a song on the guitar first but generally the order is lyrics, melody and then I'll play it on guitar. This year in particular I've learnt a lot about my own songwriting though, after collaborating with friends on songs theres definitely a pattern I've noticed when I start with the music first. These songs tend to be focused on catchy lyrics and melodic hooks rather than having emotional meaning. I suppose thats because songwriting is quite a personal thing for me.

Writing songs has always been my outlet, its how I get my emotions out. I think I'm better at singing how I feel rather than talking about my feelings.

Inspiration? What artists do you look up to?

Bowie will forever be the artist I look up to. My music is far from similar it but I love it. Inspiration wise I also love Lana Del Rey, I swear I didn't steal my winged eyeliner look from her on purpose but I admire the way she writes lyrically. Its honest but in a poetical manner. Its definitely shaped the way I look at my own lyrics.

Where is your favourite spot to write music? How does it help?

It always comes back to where my guitar lives, mostly in my bedroom. Thats how I finish a song and will play it over and over again. Though as I said before, I'll write on the go as well, little ideas throughout the day. Really, that can happen anywhere, at work, walking down the street or my favourite, when I'm trying to fall asleep. Those always seem to be my best ideas.

What can we expect from the EP? Will there be any features?

There won't be any other artist features as such, but its a body of work that I've spent many years creating and perfecting with the help of friends and producers that I've worked with. I feel so passionate about the songs we've created and I'm beyond excited to have the world hear them. The single (Obsessed) is a little taster of whats to come. Musically its quite synth based, with strings and beats over the top. Every layer of each song has sounds and melodies that I love. Emotionally the EP is all about painting the mood; how I've felt over the years with relationships and my own struggles and times of happiness.

You say that Obsessed moved you into an unhealthy mindset? How did you deal with that? Was writing about it sort of therapy for you?

I think I'm still dealing with it. Its when you're with someone or in a situation you know isn't the best for you but you can't see past the good things and being in love is hard. I really feel that it is an addictive type of mindset. Thats what the song embodies though. I get lost in the music and want to dance to it but at the same times the lyrics are hiding something deeper.

How was working with Collier? Did he work on your EP as well? What did you learn from him?

We've been working on the whole EP for years. He has seen every version of each song through their demo stages until it was a a level I was happy with. After that I sent the songs off to work with Chris Chetland at Kog Studios which has also been amazing.

I'm incredibly grateful for all of the endless work that Michael has put into the production side of things and is responsible for introducing me to synths and analog sounds that I fell in love with. He even took it upon himself to create a new version of one of the songs that was stuck in its development. Overall I couldn't have gotten the songs to such a meaningful level without him, he was been through a lot with me. It wasn't an easy process all the time, I know I can be somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to sounds but he helped me the develop ideas into what they are now.

Your music video is out now too, who did you work with on that, did you come up with the concept?

I worked with my close friend Yarden Elyashiv (Snazzy Videos) on the video for 'Obsessed'. He came up with brilliant ideas for the background scenes and pulled a lot of strings together to make it happen. We've made videos together in the past so I knew that I wanted to work with him again and I'm glad i did, it was a lot of fun. I originally came to him with a few ideas I had for different shots and sent him a mood board of pictures, which we then refined and discussed over a cup of tea. The video shoot itself was over two nights with the help of multiple friends kindly lending their house and efforts to hold up lights so we could get the perfect shot. Even in the freezing cold they went out their way to help, so the video is really special to me. I think Yarden's ability to capture the mood within the video shots is something that I admire and he has brought out the way I see the song in my head aesthetically with the colour scheme too.

You can keep up with Amelia on her socials for all things music at: