The cheeky younger sister of the burgeoning London dance-pop scene currently busy reviving the classic club sounds of the 90s, 18-year-old Aminata Kabba, aka A*M*E, possesses a far more intriguing C.V. than the likes of Disclosure and Rudimental.
Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1994, she was forced to flee her homeland at age eight when her mother’s hair salon was deliberately burned to the ground. After relocating to South East London with her family, she formed her own Destiny’s Child tribute act, Independent Girls, before realising that she wanted the limelight all to herself.
She found an equally-driven teenage prodigy just as enamoured with 90s pop as she was (in the shape of soulman MNEK), and the pair began writing songs together. Their collaboration on “City Lights,” a throwback to the vintage hip-house of Technotronic and The Adventures Of Stevie V, somehow caught the attention of Gary Barlow.
An unlikely aficionado of old-skool dance music, the Take That frontman promptly signed A*M*E to his Future record label. But it was as a song-writer that she achieved her first real success when Korean girl-group f(x) took the sassy crunk-pop of “Beautiful Stranger” to the top of their country’s charts.
Her subsequent single, “Play The Game Boy,” an effervescent fusion of video game synths and slick electro beats, continued on a similar K-Pop tip, and following tours with Jessie J and The Wanted, A*M*E was shortlisted for the prestigious BBC Sound Of 2013 poll. Additionally, the half hour she spent writing and recording the vocal hook for Duke Dumont’s “Need U (100%)” turned out to be a golden one when the classy house collaboration ended up reaching number one in the UK.
Now signed to Sony Records, she’s currently working on her debut album with Toby Gad (Demi Lovato) and Rami Yacoub & Carl Falk (One Direction). But let’s just hope that new single, “Heartless,” a bog-standard slice of “hands in the air” Guetta-pop which worryingly suggests that the change to a major label has compromised her sparkling personality, isn’t a sign of things to come.
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