Amber Snider (formerly Amber Estrada) has been performing original music and carefully selected covers since 2000 and has written over 200 songs to date. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in a musical family, Amber started playing music when she was 4 and writing songs when she was 12. She primarily plays guitar, piano and harmonica but enjoys playing the banjo, mandolin and accordion on occasion.
Amber is a folk, rock, blues, and country singer-songwriter who has released 5 CDs and has opened for Cat Powers, Clint Black and Gretchen Wilson. Amber's music has been compared to singer-songwriters as varied as Ingrid Michaelson, Jewel, Rickie Lee Jones, Natalie Merchant, Sophie B. Hawkins, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks, Melissa Etheridge & Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. She is influenced by traditional blues, sixties and seventies classic rock, as well as current indie music.
Without much formal training growing up, Amber learned a lot from her musical family & friends, most of which were singer-songwriters/instrumentalists: Mother, Diana Wallis, step-father, Steven Wallis, Mark Winslow, Lori Winship and God-father Francisco Gallegos. Amber started her career as a part of several family musical projects growing up, having performed in her parent's bands in various capacities from drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals before forming a band of her own.
After high school Amber moved to LA to pursue opportunities and wound up working for one of the top songwriters in pop music,Diane Warren (with hits such as Aerosmith's 'Don't Want To Miss A Thing' and Celine Dion's'Because You Loved Me'). Amber brought that experience back to Northern California as a great source of inspiration.
In 2002 Snider self-released a 5 song EP 'Acoustic Color'. She was then signed to startup record label Shoestring Angel Records after being discovered at an open mike performance in the Napa Valley. This chance encounter resulted in another 5 song EP 'Asleep To Dream' recorded at Narada Michael Walden' s studio in Marin, CA reeased in 2004. Amber studied briefly with vocal expert Raz Kennedy a founding member of Bobby McFerrin's. “Voicetra”. One of the tracks from this project was featured in an Indie film, 'The Hunting Season' in 2011.
Snider's band was formed while playing weekly shows at Downtown Joe's in Napa and in 2009, Amber married longtime guitarist, Aaron Snider and changed her personal and professional name from Amber Estrada to Amber Snider.
In 2010, Amber released two full length CD's, a live recording 'Napa City Nights LIVE 2010' & 'Still Dreamin'.
Amber continually writes, record and play shows solo and with her group, The Amber Snider Band as well as the family duo 'Muse Roots' she shares with her mother -- at venues throughout Northern California. A San Francisco Bay Area favorite, her music has playfully been coined "Amber-icana" after the genre "Americana".
In 2012, The Amber Snider Band worked with producer/multi-instrumentalist, Gawain Mathews (Guitarist for the Mickey Hart Band & had a song featured in American Idol) to release a 7 song self-titled CD "The Amber Snider Band".
“The Amber Snider Band” CD really captures the refreshingly unique sound that the band has been performing live for years at bars, clubs and festivals. High-energy fun, reflective life stories through acoustic-electric music... It's a must have!
"Super talented. Catch her while you can before a ticket to her show is 50 bucks."
Rich Freedman - Vallejo Times-Herald
" We hear tastes of a New York musical village…and Merchant . The music breathes…A dichotomy exists….storyteller appeal …Her intimate treatment reveals a vocal maturity. Nonchalant Rickie Lee Jones' approach to loose & spontaneous performance. Well done and we look forward to more."
"She's what the music industry needs now...Natalie Merchant mixed with Sophie B. Hawkins and Sheryl Crow. Sensitive lyrics without saccharine and jazz-infused melodies without pretense."
Jamie Miller - former KVYN Program Director
"style is blues-based pop w/ rock edges that sometimes echoes the work of Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, & perhaps Melissa Etheridge.(Snider's)...voice is an appealing instrument."
Vol. XXIX - - Music Connection Magazine
Aaron Snider - Lead Guitar
Dave Youdell - Bass, Harmonica
Ram Hatley - Vocals, Drums
The Amber Snider Band - 2012, Self Release - Puddle Siren Music
Napa City Nights LIVE 2010, Self Release - Puddle Siren Music
Still Dreamin', 2010, Self Release - Puddle Siren Music
A Sleep To Dream 2004, EP, Shoestring Angel Records, L.L.C.
Acoustic Color 2002, EP, Self Released
Music Connection Magazine - CD Review
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Based on this six-tune disc, Estrada's style is blues-based pop with rock edges ("Don't Tell My Hear...Based on this six-tune disc, Estrada's style is blues-based pop with rock edges ("Don't Tell My Heart" and "Sorry For Nothing") that sometimes echoes the work of Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, and perhaps Melissa Etheridge. Meanwhile, the smoky, late-night "Chaotic Sanctity" suggests it's a song that Norah Jones could take a crack at. Estrada's own voice is an appealing instrument, and her tendency to dip in pitch somehow works for her.
Production = 7
Music = 7
Vocals = 7
Musicianship = 7
Total = 7.2
CD Review of "A Sleep To Dream"
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We hear tastes of a New York musical village…and Merchant . The music breathes and band grooves…. A... We hear tastes of a New York musical village…and Merchant . The music breathes and band grooves…. A dichotomy exists in (Amber)….cross-over country appeal…has storyteller appeal …Her intimate treatment reveals a vocal maturity. The final track, "Chaotic Sanctity", is a gem. The kitty strut ambiance with smoky jazz band movement supports Amber's nonchalant Rickie Lee Jones' approach to loose and spontaneous performance. Well done and we look forward to more.
"Super talented. Catch her while you can before a ticket to her show is 50 bucks."
Folksinger ready for Hometown crowd at fair
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Performing at the Solano County Fair is like coming full circle for Amber Estrada. The singer/son...Performing at the Solano County Fair is like coming full circle for Amber Estrada.
The singer/songwriter/guitarist lived in Vallejo until she was about 11 and just recently returned...
With 75 songs she's written and a strong desire to perform, Estrada is becoming a local favorite.
Mainly a guitar player, she started composing songs at age 12."There were always a lot of instruments in my home and musicians were always around eating our food," she said.
Estrada feels she was fortunate to have worked for prolific songwriter Dianne Warren, the woman behind hits like "I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith, "Because You Loved Me," by Celine Dion and "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher.
I was lucky enough to answer a random ad in an entertainment trade magazine in L.A. I think the ad simply said - work in the music business. I wouldn't have known who Diane Warren was even though I knew the songs, everybody does," she said.
Estrada worked for Warren's Publishing company, Realsongs. "I answered phones, filed her lyric sheets, stuff like that," Estrada said. "on any given day, I could talk to Leann Rimes or see Mariah Carey in our office. It was pretty exciting stuff for a northern Cali girl like me."
Warren, a multi-Grammy recipient, was a great boss. "She had a down-to-earth, quirkiness about her. She's completely unpretentious. She works hard but she's not a drill sergeant or anything.
She also loves animals and you can see birds and dogs around the office. One day I brought my turtle in and it crawled behind her big cabinet with all her Grammys on it and got stuck. I was sweating that one big time. I don't think Di ever knew about that one.
Estrada is in the process of finishing a recording studio for her use as well as that of close music friends. "These days having a recording studio is like buying a car. It's not too far out of reach and it can take you places if you get in and drive." she said.
"It's almost finished and it's been about a year of working on it. It won't be a commercial studio or anything like that. It will mainly be for my music and I look forward to collaborating with some friends as well."
Estrada thinks of herself as an upbeat, Americana folk-rock singer-songwriter. She draws her influences from a variety of genres and artists. Citing the blues, 60's and 70's classic rock and today's indie music. She admires the work of Sheryl Crow, Ani DiFranco, Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos.
Like many songwriters, Estrada draws from personal experience.
"I have always had the desire to express myself even from an earl age (as most kids do) and I was lucky enough to have the encouragement I had from my family," she said.
"When I first started writing and performing songs, I would write about whatever was going on in my life at the time. The sons were my diaries, for better or for worse. Sometimes, as a performer, that can be like throwing yourself into a fire again and again just to roast some marshmallows.
"That is especially true when I am giving a song my all in a performance but I really don't want to relive that experience anymore, so now I can decide, I don't have to sing that one. Someone else can. It’s taken me some time to learn that. I have enough songs now to be very choosy about which ones I want to sing.
"Some songs are more about trying to figure out the world, trying to make sense of all the things that are beyond my control. I am starting to write more socially/globally conscious songs because, I, myself am becoming more conscious.
“When all is said and done, I would like to convey a positive message through my writing to uplift and inspire myself and others. Every song I’ve been able to write has been a blessing to me and I am grateful for the experience.”
She’s ready to sing her heart our before her hometown crowd.
“Most of the concerts I saw as a kid were at the Solano County Fair which is why I am so excited to be performing there this year,” she said.
“There’s always a great mix of people that go. You can ride the rides and see the shows and everyone always seems to be enjoying themselves. I hope to see some familiar faces as well as meet some new friends.” – Amy Maginnes-Honey
Amber's Smooth Transition - Vallejo Times Herald
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Article Launched: 03/16/2007 06:17:47 AM PDT Most performers loathe traveling between their "real...Article Launched: 03/16/2007 06:17:47 AM PDT
Most performers loathe traveling between their "real jobs" and their gigs. Not Amber Estrada.
Of course, most performers usually have a commute of more than 50 feet.
Estrada, the marketing and administrative assistant for the Vallejo Convention and Visitors Bureau in the ferry building, can almost cartwheel to her two-hour free "alternative folk" concert tonight at the Panama Red Coffee Co.
"I will work for coffee," said Estrada with a twinkle and a latte in her eye. "I'm addicted."
Estrada figures the 6 to 8 p.m. show should attract ferry commuters who need to relax with a decaf after work.
"It's the first time they've done music here," she said. "If it works out, maybe they'll want to do more."
Panama Red seats around 30 people, though "with people sitting in each other's laps, maybe 40," Estrada joked.
Estrada plans on singing mostly her originals with a few cover tunes blended into the concert. With a stash of about 75 self-penned songs, there's plenty to sift through for the singer.
"Hopefully, people will appreciate them," Estrada said.
She was 12 when she got that first musical itch.
"I wanted to be a classical pianist," said Estrada, raised by a mother who was supportive-yet-realistic.
"She wasn't 'Hey, you're great,' " Estrada said. "She was more, 'If you want to do this, you have to practice.' "
With influences as varied as Bob Marley, Madonna, Stevie Nicks and Bonnie Raitt, Estrada is slowly getting her musical career on track after dabbling in acting.
Estrada did theater in high school - "It's a natural high," she said - and found the stage to be an "expressive outlet. It's therapy."
Estrada continued the acting ways in college.
"That's what I wanted to do," she said. "I got into the music thing when I found I was more natural at that than acting."
Not that she didn't have a good look. With blazing red hair, Estrada said she's been told she resembles Geena Davis, Julienne Moore or Drew Barrymore.
With a mother, stepfather (Steven Wallis of the American Canyon Fire Dept.) and godfather (Vallejo's Francisco Gallegos) involved in performing music, Estrada's future path was apparently paved.
"I want to make them proud," she said. "I know they worked hard at it and practiced a lot. I try to do what I can and get out there. It's definitely part of who I am."
A Vintage High of Napa graduate, Estrada lived in Vallejo until she was 11 and returned last year. Not that she wouldn't mind taking her music around the globe.
"That's something I've always wanted to do," she said.
Until that big break, she'll continue at the Visitors Bureau while doing Web sites on the side.
"I'm a freelance artist," Estrada said. "AKA, broke. For now, I'll keep my nose to the grindstone, get up early and go to work."
Sure, she said, it gets frustrating.
"At times you feel you can't do it and you're like, 'Why am I doing this?'" she said. "Then you have one moment out there when somebody really appreciates it. When someone says they are moved and you feel you have done something positive."
The Masked Musicians of Napa Valley
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Amber Estrada grew up around music. "My mother has been in bands ever since I was a kid. There were ...Amber Estrada grew up around music. "My mother has been in bands ever since I was a kid. There were always musical instruments around me." Amber learned to play piano, drums and harmonica, but now chiefly plays the guitar and writes and sings her own songs. "My mom gave me her old guitar when I moved to Los Angeles to work on my acting career."
Even though Amber didn't have her eye on a music career, she ended up practicing guitar, putting her poetry to music, and performing at open mics. She also went to work for Diane Warren, a top songwriter for such greats as Celine Dion. It was here that she learned the business end of the music industry. "One of the most important things I learned had to do with work ethic. I saw how dedicated she was to her craft and it kick-started something in me and I started writing songs."
Most of her material comes from her own life experiences.” I tend to write about things outside myself, things I've observed. Not all of it is about relationships." Amber's latest CD just received a positive review from The Music Connection...
Written by Davina Rubin
The Amber Snider Band's original material ranges from 1-4 hours of folk/rock to blues to jazz to country.
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There are no upcoming dates at this time.