via: Greenroom Magazine

Interview: Cipriana Quann


“With or without it you have to be passionate about what you do. You have to care about your dreams enough to pursue it. If there was one person that was like, nah, and that stops you, then you don’t really want it.” -Marsha Ambrosius


Just when you thought you couldn’t love Marsha Ambrosius anymore, this powerhouse singer-songwriter takes you there, back again and reels you in for more. Commonly known as the former member of singing/spoken-word group; Floetry, Ambrosius reveals a side not so commonly known. Catching some in between time from her then, “Friends and Lovers” tour, I was able to grab a moment with Ambrosius as she discussed everything from her personal hair journey, fashion, health, Sade, “Enter the Dragon”, feeling like Michael Jordan to a dominatrix-hooker-school teacher (um I warned you a side not commonly known). So sit back and be prepared to CHIGGIDY CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YA WRECK YOURSELF…oh yeah, she went there.


You also did a cover “Stronger Than Pride”. Why did you choose that song? What resonated with you?

Prior to me doing “Sour Times” I’ve never done a cover – ever. So with the first album, Sour Times, It really used my favorite composer [one of them], Lalo Schifrin, who is responsible for my favorite score of all time, which is “Enter the Dragon”. And I was like, I don’t know how many people know that that’s what they saw. Sour Times fit where I was relationship-wise in my first album. With the second album, Sade is reminiscent of home to me. It reminds me of London and Liverpool, reminded me of the UK and being home. If I want to do a cover, I want it to be synonymous with where I’m from and how I feel.


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What’s your first memory of music?

I had the luxury of listening to Weather Report and all that good stuff as a kid. I would try to do the harmonies to all those type of records. I remember sitting there in front of my dad’s amp with him playing the bass and singing – and I’m singing it back to him – and he’s looking at me like “this kid is an absolute lunatic” but I mean years later I’m like “yeah, thank you!” for really instilling in me all of the things I didn’t know I would then use as a career. I just managed to find what it is that I love and that I’m passionate about. I feel like Michael Jordan at the United Center and its Game 6 every night. I feel like that every night I perform.


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Ok, let’s talk hair – You were natural until the age of 13?

My first relax was when I got to the states in ’89. That’s when I wanted all things American “I want my hair like my cousins!” They were all very much Whitney Houston-ed out. And I was like, I want the slicked back look, let me get that. And I did that not because I wasn’t In love with my curls or my natural texture, I just wanted a change. I never really had been married to one style – I’m a Leo. I’m so extravagant when it comes to things. If I want wild lioness hair that’s what I’ll do. If I wanna chop it off I’m not gonna be scared to chop off all my hair. I’ll be like, “no, I want a short hairstyle, let’s go with it.” I’ve always been that way.


So when I grow out relaxed over a period of time, especially when I went to the states for the first time around in 2000, I did a big chop, I said, no, just cut it all out. And start all over again. Did the short coils. I had no patience to lock my hair. I was like, yeah, keep picking this out. Then it turned from that to dying it every color under the sun – rainbow purple, ranbow green, rainbow bright. Every color. Then I grew it into giant orange afro which became almost what I didn’t realize would be iconic in the natural hair world for what became neo-soul. It came with a price of having to be natural and looking a certain way to do that style of music – and I was like, nah! I can have black pressed out long tresses and sound exactly the same and do what I’m doing. but I didn’t realize so many things were image driven in the industry. I was just nah, I’m very comfortable with who I am.



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And I guess over a period of years when it went from braids to updos to then my hair just being completely out of control when it’s too long. Then I’d cut it again or relax it again, wear straight styles, and everyone was like “oh, you relaxed your hair, you sold out!’ and I’m like….To read much more on my in-depth conversation with Marsha, visit Greenroom Magazine here 



Greenroom Magazine; A quarterly magazine representing the intersection between culture and mindfulness.