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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: The City by the Lake.
Amerie ('1 Thing') Article
Last December, Amerie and co-manager Lenny Nicholson
decided to leak her new song "1 Thing." Some four
months later, the pair's gamble is paying off.
"[The label] had had the record since last spring,"
recalls Amerie (whose last name is Rogers). "But they
didn't want to put it out. Lenny and I thought about
it a lot and decided it's do or die."
"1 Thing" percolated to the top of Billboard's Hot
R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Heard on the soundtrack to
the Will Smith box-office hit "Hitch," "1 Thing" --
referring to the one thing that attracts one person to
another -- also claimed No. 8 on The Billboard Hot
The Rich Harrison-produced song also sounds the charge
for Amerie's sophomore Rise/Columbia/Sony Urban Music
album, "Touch," which arrived in stores April 26 and
debuts this week at No. 5 on The Billboard 200.
The dance track's sound can be traced to Amerie's
roots in Washington, D.C., home of the
percussion-driven musical style known as go-go. The
funk subgenre appears to be undergoing a resurgence:
Go-go pioneer Chuck Brown recently debuted at No. 46
on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with "The
Best of Chuck Brown." (In 1978, Brown & the Soul
Searchers topped the R&B chart with the go-go anthem
"Bustin' Loose, Part 1.")
Such contemporary acts as Jennifer Lopez (with "Get
Right") and D.C.-based go-go band Rare Essence
(reworking Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me") have also
mined the same vein.
"I wanted a different feel this time," Amerie says of
her new album, and "1 Thing" in particular. "We did
midtempo go-go on 'Need You Tonight' from my first
album. But '1 Thing' is more high-energy, infectious."
Though she and Harrison have what Amerie calls a
"Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis/Janet Jackson" chemistry, she
also enlisted a diverse slate of producers, including
Lil Jon, Red Spyda and Dre & Vidal. Intertwined in
that endeavor was the singer/songwriter's quest to
"I'm more confident now about what I want," the
25-year-old says. "And while wanting to diversify my
sound, I also wanted one constant to remain -- making
sure I stay true to myself as an artist."
Cases in point include the smooth Dre & Vidal ballad
"Just Like Me" and the album's second single, "Touch."
The latter, produced by Lil Jon, helps debunk what
Amerie calls people's perception of her as a
"There's a sensual, sexual side going on here," she
notes. "I'm saying, 'Don't be afraid to touch me -- I
am a human being.' I'm just not an in-your-face
personality. Additionally, in naming the album
'Touch,' I wanted to show that vocally, lyrically and
sonically there are more sides to me."
Those sides include actress and TV host. Last year,
Amerie made her film debut in the Katie Holmes movie
"First Daughter," directed by Forest Whitaker. In
2003, she began hosting BET's weekday afternoon
entertainment series "The Center," a gig she will
repeat this year. A summer concert tour is also
During the three-year break between albums, Amerie and
Nicholson began ramping up their Feenix Entertainment
venture, which they are patterning on Overbrook
Entertainment. Overbrook, whose principals include
Amerie co-manager James Lassiter, is the production
and management home of Will Smith.
"Right now, we're looking at different artists,"
Amerie says. "We may go into clothing. However, it all
goes back to one thing, and that's where my head is
at: controlling my destiny."