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Sydney, Not Applicable, Australia

Sydney, Not Applicable, Australia

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The best kept secret in music


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Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


She was the girl on “Addicted To Bass”; she was the voice of that big Josh Abrahams’ hit. But now, finally, she has gone out on her own. She’s under her own name, Amiel. When you hear how she sings and what she sings of - you’ll never forget it.

“Audio Out,” Amiel says, “is my weird take on the world. It all comes from how I see the world”.

The ‘Amiel story’ begins with her parents, who not surprisingly, were musical. Her father plays piano, sings and writes, “…ever since I was a little girl he would have musical instruments around. He really encouraged me to do what I'm doing.” Her mother loves to sing as well, “…she used to play guitar and write songs with her sister. I remember being about four and listening to her Janis Ian records and singing along and learning all the words.”

The first three records Amiel bought were John Lennon, De La Soul and Mariah Carey. Not bad choices for a young thing. The Mariah Carey record, she realised, was overproduced, but at least it taught her a lesson or two about singing. Amiel wrote her first song at age nine. “It was about the ecology and anti-deforestation,” she says. “I'd seen a documentary. I turned to Dad and said ‘why?’ and he had no answer for me so I thought if I wrote a song then maybe I could help the cause. I sang it into a tape recorder. Dad heard it and said ‘do you realise what you've just done?’ I said ‘no.’ He said: ‘Amiel, you've written a song.’”

When she was sixteen, Amiel was hired to do backing vocals on a track Josh Abrahams was producing. But instead of merely singing it, she provided melodies, harmonies and lyrics as well. She sung two takes for the producer who then turned to her and said: “Have you thought about a career in music? Because you've got one.”

The pair soon recorded “Addicted to Bass” - the drum‘n’bass pop monster that would become a hit in Australia, Britain and also top the dance charts in America. Amiel then finished school whilst Abrahams moved to Sydney and began working on Moulin Rouge.

By nineteen-99, the song had gone ballistic and Amiel, still a teenager, had relocated to Sydney to work further with Abrahams and Festival Records. To support herself initially, she worked day-jobs in department stores and duty free shops. People started recognising her from the “Addicted to Bass” video. Amiel knew something was happening, that her dream was coming true, but she also knew it had to be on her own terms and that she must write and record the songs that were building in her head. These heady days were when the seeds of “Audio Out” were sown.

And so the hard work began. The first songs to emerge were the single “Lovesong”, “Side by Side” and “Claire De Lune”. Amiel travelled to the US and met pop songwriters The Matrix, who were also writing with and developing Avril Lavigne. Together they came up with “Obsession (I Love You)” and “All Of Me”. She also wrote with Krish Sharma, who previously had worked with Perry Farrell and the Supreme Beings of Leisure.

Back in Melbourne, Josh Abrahams had set up an old 1970s house full of studio gear and recording began in earnest. Lending a hand at various stages of the process were Ryan Freeland, who has produced Aimee Mann and assisted Bob Clearmountain; Justin Tressidor who has worked with george; and Brad Haehnel, who has mixed albums for Nelly Furtado and also been assistant to Dr Dre.

But despite the big names, Amiel’s album is all her. She says there was never any compromise. She did exactly as she pleased. Even with all the pressures of the music industry and image and marketing and the constant pop spectre of style over substance, her strong will prevailed.

“The album says what I wanted it to say. Every step along the way, everything, it all has a specific signature of me on it.” Amiel says this is because her extraordinary music defies the usual stereotypes. “People say ‘where do we put you? You're obviously pop but are you country, are you dance, are you R‘n’B?’ I'm all those things. It's a fusion, a hybrid, and a mish-mash of all these different influences coming together. So I had to learn to say my piece and stick up for myself. I realised that if the audience was going to believe it, it had to be real and if it was going to be real it had to come from me.”

The key to the album is the personal nature of the songs. They seem to come from right inside Amiel. They seem to be the very notes that emanate from her heartstrings. She says she does bare her soul, but only sometimes. The rest of the time she makes it all up. A song doesn’t have to be true, after all. A song, well, a song is just a song. There is, however, always a grain of truth in her words.

“A lot of it is character play,” she says, “I like singing in the first person so I can act it. A lot of the time it might be a story I've concocted but that said, everything has to come from personal experienc