How Amelia Moore went from a strict, conservative upbringing to being 2022’s next breakout pop act
While Amelia Moore may not be a household name yet, she's destined for stardom in the near future. With heavy accolades from the industry’s heaviest hitters and an impeccable genre-bending EP, teaching a robot to love, Moore is getting the recognition she deserves after years of grinding it out in the studio. Her music embodies the perfect juxtaposition between raw and vulnerable vocal performances, coupled with futuristic and pulsating synths that create a distinct sound all her own. On breakout single “i feel everything,” a somber confessional about a relationship gone awry, listeners are immersed in a musical battle between the human and the machine.
Fresh off a recent run of tour dates alongside pop star FLETCHER, Moore has gained immeasurable wisdom and confidence that she's now bringing forth at her own headlining shows. In the midst of a meteoric rise to stardom, she's committed to following her gut and staying true to herself. With her eyes set on winning a Grammy and touring the world, Moore’s potential seems endless.
There's a considerable amount of hype surrounding you and your music right now. You just released your debut EP, and you’re already getting co-signs from people like Elton John. With all the projections that you're going to be the next breakout star in 2022, what does this feel like, and is there a degree of pressure now?
It’s definitely really exciting. To everyone else, I know I seem like a brand-new artist since this is a lot of people’s first time getting to know who I am, but this is also something that I have been working towards for years now. For me to see all of these exciting co-signs come together and my dreams come to fruition is really fulfilling and good motivation to keep going.
What was the journey like leading up to this point?
It was long and exhausting. I’ve been working with my producer Pink Slip for three years now. When we met, we instantly clicked and became best friends. He’s so talented, and the first week that we worked together, Pink promised that we’d win a Grammy together one day. Even before that, I grew up super conservative, homeschooled and in a religious upbringing. I never felt like I was allowed to dream as big as I was, especially in an industry that was so secular, evil and scary. Initially, even coming to terms with myself that I wanted to be an artist was a really scary thing. Once I started to meet the right people and believe in myself, things just really started to change. It took a lot of hard work to get here, but now that we’re here, it’s off to the races.
You bring up growing up in a strict, conservative home — I can imagine that you had to sneak in the music that you wanted to listen to. What were some of those early influences growing up?
I was a really big One Direction girl, and even then, listening to a secular boy band was a really big deal. I wasn’t allowed to listen to a lot of secular things. What was played was just Christian radio and worship music. Once I finally started to listen to music on my own in secret, the first album that inspired me was The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake. That album shook my entire world. The transitions, the harmonies, the lyrics and the whole entire universe around that album were so inspiring. I did a lot of catching up during COVID too — I had never listened to Kanye West’s entire discography until quarantine. I never knew how culturally relevant and important it was to all the music that is popular now, and I’m still learning and getting new influences.
I can definitely hear the Kanye influence on the production of the tracks. Touching on your voice, were you classically trained in any way?
I never took any form of voice lessons until I was at Belmont University, where I was required to take private voice seminars within the major that I was in. I always grew up in my student choir and at church on Sunday mornings. I loved theater a lot and thought I was going to be a Broadway girl living my New York fantasy realness. Once I realized that I could write my own songs and be myself instead of pretending to be someone else onstage, I learned that was what an artist was since I didn’t know that at the time. I really just found my own voice through writing myself and experimenting with my producer Pink Slip.
[Photo by Sam Cannon]
From the moment I first heard “i feel everything,” it struck me that you have the perfect contrast between raw humanity and vulnerability of your voice, coupled with the pulsating synths and 808s. What were you trying to evoke in the studio?
Well, I was angry. This song is an angry song; I was emotionally drained from this super-toxic situation that I was in. It was literally my relationship with this person falling apart during the time that we were writing these records. I would leave the studio, go home and deal with this situation and just fight, cry and sob. Pulling up to the studio the next day, I would write about it and cut it with the same emotion I was feeling. A lot of the tone I owe to where I was at the time emotionally. I had never sung like that on anything else. My voice was getting so tired, and I was like, “Do we need to cut it another day? Does this even sound good?” But everyone was like, “No, Amelia, this is exactly how it needs to be." That song is special because it was very much an experience that I was dealing with while making it. It seems like everyone can hear that, and it’s really cool that it’s relaying to the listener.
There's such a strong aesthetic behind your visuals, art and fashion sense. What inspires that?
Within the past two years, I have been getting more into my style and having an interest in my fashion. A lot of my inspiration for my look is from more masculine-leaning vibes. I’m not really a girly girl; I much prefer the tomboy, rougher side. I’m really inspired by Asian fashion as well — the shit that they are wearing out there is so next level. I make a lot of Pinterest boards to gather a bunch of ideas. For this rollout specifically, I knew the universe that I wanted [the EP] to exist in [was] the “teaching a robot how to love” concept and theme. I was working with some really incredible people who were down to take some direction and vision from me and bring out the best things that we could to really tell the story and make the visuals and sounds cohesive. I’m really proud of how it all came together.
You recently had your first headline performance. Do you feel like you are finally settling into the live component of your music?
It’s definitely a different world that I’m super new to. I was on tour with FLETCHER earlier this year, and those were my first times playing full-band shows. Up until that point, I was just a studio rat girl. It’s so different to be in front of people, feeling their energy, and it was just so special to hear everybody singing the words. So many people from different places came out, and people who saw me on tour with FLETCHER were there, and it was really cool to see them stick around too. I love it, and hopefully, I’ll get to go on tour in the fall, which is something we are scheming about.
What was it like touring with FLETCHER? Were you able to lean on her for advice, and did you feel like there was a lot of support within her camp?
It was the best first tour I could ever imagine going on. I did 11 shows, and my band was so amazing. They had already been on the road together, so they had a good rapport together and took such good care of me and guided me through the chaos that tour is. FLETCHER was also amazing. I am so thankful for her bringing me on. We had a couple of sessions together, and she already had someone else on for direct support, but she was like, “Why don’t we just have Amelia out?” That was really fun, and she was great to watch and learn from every night. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Have there been any significant growing experiences since being swept up into this fast, whirlwind career within the last year? What have you learned about yourself as a result?
I’ve definitely learned a lot. Some things, I’ve learned the hard way. Consistency is really important, and something that I think is really valuable, especially as an artist and songwriter, is that not every opportunity is the right opportunity. Just because it’s in front of you doesn't mean you have to say yes to it. I’m really proud of myself for not saying yes to everything because there are definitely some things you need to say no to. Trusting your gut is also super important, and if somebody is trying to tell you what kind of art to make or what you should be doing instead of what you want to do, don’t keep them very close. I also have learned to surround myself with people that inspire me. If you’re the most talented person in the room, find a new room to be in.