What am I up to?

Hi friends! 💃🏾

I hope the fall season has not made you too gloomy yet – it is slowly starting to get to me, so I decided to write about an exciting topic! 😁

Writing songs… and the recording of my new project…(that is yet to be named!) 😅

I have always loved to write lyrics, poems, essays, etc. Putting them in music is a comfortable way for me to express myself more publicly. Unfortunately, the process to do so is not always super smooth.

For my first album, Rencontre{s}, the process was absolutely messy:

Some of my songs had been previously recorded for another project back in France, some songs are simple demos that I had recorded with my phone, some others have been produced by a friend… After a failure of meeting terms with the producers I was supposed to work with in Toronto, I ended up mixing and mastering the songs myself, during the pandemic, and learning on the go how to release a project on different platforms. It was a bit tedious, but it ended up working out well enough that I met incredible people thanks to that project. (the album came out early 2022 and is still available on all platforms with all of its flaws!) 🥳

My second recording experience was a lot smoother, even though it was a bit more stressful. I met with Matthew Isaacs and Justin Guanio a couple months after my album release, and we proceeded to start working on my EP Secret the Summer of the same year. Matthew is a very talented Rnb artist (Kromatix) and it was interesting to dive into the writing process with him. Justin (Wess) and him have been working together for a little while now. Contrary to how I usually work, Matthew and Justin like to start with finding a beat. After asking me what artists were inspiring to me, they came up with a couple of instrumental suggestions that I helped shape along the way. Once the instrumentals were done, we started writing lyrics and recording them in Justin’s studio (Loud Studios). This was the birth of Power, Stand Back, Fake Roses and Secret (listen here!) … Although quite stressful compared to my previous collaboration work, it was fun and refreshing to create with artists from a different genre. 🙏🏾

These past two months, I have been working on selecting, (re)writing, arranging and recording some songs for a new project! It is a solo project again, but I am much more comfortable with the tools that I am using now. All of the songs I have decided to record are songs that I wrote between March 2020 and now, these are fun, reflective and maybe thought-provoking songs that I want to share with the people who know me, and those who don’t know me yet.

As always, I am big on happy melodies that stick with your mind, and I truly hope this project will touch a lot of people. 🌎

I am using Ableton Live 11 to record, and I have been able to record my instruments from home, at a higher quality than for my first project. I am learning a lot about this software and am planning on attempting to mix my songs myself. For the vocals, I am also recording at home, with my brand new equipment!

Once I get my vocal tracks down, I will put them together with the instrumentals and start the final mixing process. I am not there yet, and it promises to be a big learning experience. One I will recount at a later date! 📝

In the meantime, I will release an acoustic version of the very first single off of this new project on my birthday:

Balancing Lives

Hi! 👋🏾 My name is Julia Ambre and I have 9 lives…🐯

As a music lover: I love going to concerts, watching live performances on YouTube, listening to various artists on a daily basis.

As a singer songwriter / performer: I write and compose original songs on a regular basis. I am currently in the process of recording a new album, and I truly hope you will enjoy it and come celebrate it LIVE with me!

As a food lover: one of my favorite activities is trying out new food from different cultures, new restaurants and (sometimes) new recipes! I have a very long list of places to try out in Toronto, that grows exponentially as I cross addresses off it!

As an executive assistant/operations manager: this is my “day job” I work full time for an architecture studio in the city. This takes up a lot of my time and mental capacity, but I really enjoy most of the tasks that I have to fulfill for this.

As a social butterfly: I love my friends, I love to spend time with them, and I love to party! It’s important for me to be surrounded by people from different horizons and get to experience life with them. I am lucky enough (and super grateful) to have found many people here in Toronto that I can call my friends.

As a hermit: I know this fully contradicts with the previous point, but I do enjoy solitary time. I love to watch true crime shows on Netflix or YouTube (any Bailey Sarian fans?). It has been a little hard to dedicate some time to myself this summer but I am committed to get back on track!

As a Yoga and fitness aficionado: I really enjoy working out and exploring ways my body and mind can connect in strength, flexibility and expansion. I try to consistently apply healthy discipline to my physical and mental activities.

As a professional napper: naps are sacred. I very often need a nap to reset after my day. From 10min to 4 hours, depending on my level of tiredness. I started napping when I moved to Toronto and was working in hospitality, I kept the habit as a way of clearing my mind in between different parts of my day, because I cannot meditate.

As a writer: this is an aspect of my life that I do not often talk about, but I LOVE writing fiction pieces. I have an important gallery of written work that I continue to fill, and that I may or may not share with a broad audience at some point. From essays to novels, I dive into creative writing very frequently; it helps me think. And I also write these little blog posts from time to time, to keep you updated!

It’s hard to believe that there are only 24 hours in a day sometimes & it’s hard to capitalize on time… so this coming year, starting now, I am prioritizing *balance* !!

How? By taking simple steps to create an equilibrium between my 7 lives to avoid excess of stress, exhaustion, illnesses, etc.:

1 / Syncing my calendars (one for work, one for music, one for social media, one for personal/social activities);
2 / Planning tasks ahead of the month;
3 / Scheduling down time.

I know it seems obvious for a lot of you, readers, but trust me, it is not as easy as it seems for someone like me.

Now… onto a well deserved nap! 😴🥱

love, always.

Networking and all that jazz

What do you think of the music scene in Toronto?”, “Do you go to music networking events?”, “Have you ever collaborated with someone in this city?” are three of the questions I get the most when it comes to the Toronto Music Community…

I always found networking to be hard and a waste of time (I always end up helping out others, but never get to find what I am looking for). But these past two years, after the pandemic, networking has been an easy way to reconnect with people in a professional context, especially in terms of music. The Toronto music community is a beautiful circle that I find inspiring and uplifting. You can always find someone to hype you up, help you out, collaborate or share a stage with.

If I had to add one critique, I would say that the community could be more open to different genres. I found that a lot of people doing are sticking to their own styles when they could benefit from mingling with singers, songwriters and musicians from other genres.

It was something I realized when I first collaborated with Kromatix (Matthew Isaacs – RnB singer, songwriter) and BeatsbyJustin (Justin Guanio – hiphop beatsmaker) on a short EP project. Their approach to songwriting and music production was different from mine, but I benefited from learning their ways and seeing how they worked. It is always inspiring for me to meet artists and be transported into their process, because it helps me envision music through a different lens.

Usually, when I write a song alone, I will have some lyrics pop in my head, maybe a quick melody that keeps on swinging between my ears, and then I will – at some point – decide to put pen to paper, and notes on a sheet. Finishing a song can take me anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 weeks, and everything in between!

Having a collaborative process helped me tighten my own. Deadlines to be met, a clear schedule, lyrical expectations… it was a really fun time. From this happy encounter, came out my EP ‘Secret’, available here.

So long story short: I think the music scene in Toronto is pretty dope! I try to go to music networking events whenever I can, and I have collaborated with some very talented artists, and I am hoping to meet many more!

love, always.

The break is over

Dear friends,

I have not been active for the past couple months, so I thought I would come back with a short letter!

The first quarter of 2023 (Jan-Apr) was full of happy surprises and incredible experiences. I got to meet many talented artists, and many actors of the Toronto music scene that helped make my journey smooth and rhythmic! I loved it. Unfortunately, when mid-April came, my body decided that it was time to rest.

I wanted to continue, however, my health kept on getting worse. Little did I know then that my healing process would take so long. I started with healing the physical aspect of my health first, determined to think that this was the only part that was failing… I kept on writing music, trying to plan a few recording sessions, booked some gigs for the end of the summer… But June came, and I realized that although my physical health had made some improvements, I could not fully heal if I did not take the time to rest my mind as well.

I stopped writing. I canceled shows. I stopped rehearsing.

All of a sudden, I filled my days with all sorts of activities, outings, friends, parties, and cocktails. I was busy, but it was a new kind of busy. I liked it, and I kept going throughout the summer.

Latin Sparks Fest - by Emilie

At some point, I realized that I was afraid of going back to music. What if I wasn’t good enough to get back to my previous level? What if I did not put enough effort into my recovery? What if I did not remember how to write, strum, sing?

… I filled my head with hypothetical questions that pulled me a bit more away from the music scene. During that time, I read a lot of articles about mindfulness, being present, and steps to be in your better health. I figured that if music was for me, it would come back eventually. I did not need to force it on myself.

September came, and the exhaustion caught up with me. After a tiring Europe trip, followed by a tiring New York trip, I decided to get back on track.

I started practicing some of the steps I found in articles: “establish a routine”; “learn to eliminate stress and pressure”; “spend time with people who do not drain your energy”; “get enough sleep” …

Now that last one is tricky when you suffer from insomnia, but I took a lot of naps to compensate!

And then slowly at the end of September, I picked up my guitar, just to practice. I started with covers and quickly got tired of it. I reminded myself that I do not like playing guitar “just to play guitar”, I like it because it’s a tool that helps me create. That’s how I started writing again, and it is fun. I am enjoying it, and have a lot in store for the coming months.

I am still not at the peak of my shape, but I’m working on it steadily.

Dear friends, I hope you’ll join me on this next part of the journey, and if you feel like you need a break, take it, embrace it, and come back stronger. Sometimes you just have to trust yourself.

love, always.

TD Union Fest - by Maylis

Afternoon Coffee – story

This is one of the first songs I wrote about the pandemic! We were on our second lockdown, end of 2020, and I was FED UP with staying home, looking forward to seeing people, going out with my friends, and seeing the world reopen in general. This is exactly what this song is about! I hope to see you all dance with me soon.

Afternoon Coffee


Afternoon Coffee in hand
I’m determined to write again
I think about the good times that are to come
I think about what the future holds

I’m feeling peaceful today
So grateful for my journey
I think about the healing process of the world
I think about the healing process of people

I can’t wait to find myself out with my friends
I can’t wait to feel myself dancing again
Can’t wait for that patio drink
Can’t wait for that lovely feeling
That everything was meant to be
I can’t wait for you to dance with me


Dance with me *4

My morning coffee felt bland
No more energy to spend
I wonder where my emotions went
I don’t know if it’s a dream or hell

I can’t wait to find myself out with my friends
I can’t wait to feel myself dancing again
Can’t wait for that patio drink
Can’t wait for that lovely feeling
That everything was meant to be
I can’t wait for you to dance with me


Dance with me *4

I can’t breathe if you run away from me
I can’t sing if you tell me that life ain’t worth living

I can’t wait to find myself out with my friends
I can’t wait to feel myself dancing again
Can’t wait for that patio drink
Can’t wait for that lovely feeling
That everything was meant to be
I can’t wait for you to dance with me
Dance with me

I can’t wait to find myself out with my friends
I can’t wait to feel myself dancing again
Can’t wait for that patio drink
Can’t wait for that lovely feeling
That everything was meant to be
I can’t wait for you to dance with me

Dance with me


Savage


Should you decide that I’m not good enough
I will be on my way
Should you deny that you failed both of us
I won’t want to stay


You want your peace back? Fine
You want to keep track? Fine
But if you hear me out, out
Don’t bother calling back

I’ll scream it out, Woah
If you don’t let me be
I’ll wear it out, Woah
Yeah my heart on my sleeve
You think I can be tamed
That your words bring me down
But babe I’m savage
You should know it by now, Woah
I’m a savage girl.

Could you turn your volume down and power off
I’m tired of hearing you
No I don’t mind if you think something is off
You blew your chances dude


You think you’re sorry? Love
I think you should be, Oh
Now you regret it? Sad, sad
I’m never coming back

I’ll scream it out, Woah
If you don’t let me be
I’ll wear it out, Woah
Yeah my heart on my sleeve
You think I can be tamed
That your words bring me down
But babe I’m savage
You should know it by now, Woah
I’m a savage girl.

Can you know?
Can you listen to me now?
You don’t know
I’m not hearing you right now
I’m a savage girl and this world is mine tonight
Don’t bother calling back

I’ll scream it out, Woah
If you don’t let me be
I’ll wear it out, Woah
Yeah my heart on my sleeve
You think I can be tamed
That your words bring me down
But babe I’m savage
You should know it by now, Woah
You should know it by now, Woah

I’m a savage girl.


It Ain’t Easy


I could reach out for the moon I’m ready to fly
or dance under the moonsoon Reaching for the sky
I could play all through the night Music is my life
& sing for the lonely hearts hearts hearts
I will be alright
Don’t doubt me now

No patience, no mercy,
don’t be angry at me
You’re moody, you’re grumpy
It ain’t going away
If your life feels shitty
you can’t put the blame on me
I’m fucking exhausted
I strive to live another day

I could be all that I need I’m ready to fly
I could dance away my fears Reaching for the sky
I could pray God to forget Music is my life
Or I could just admit that ha ha
I – I was not okay
I am today

No patience, no mercy,
don’t be angry at me
You’re moody, you’re grumpy
It ain’t going away
If your life feels shitty
you can’t put the blame on me
I’m fucking exhausted
I strive to live another day

Keep telling you I will be alright, though you can tell by my face that it’s hard right now
No need to fake, we all have our downs, but when I’m up, I’m a queen, I can touch the stars
Dance through the fight, that’s my motto now, and if it works for Roundhouse it should work for us
Pick yourself up, you’ll get through the night, smile through the tears, and dream out loud

It ain’t easy


Secret – an EP

‘Secret’ is an EP about an encounter.

These 4 songs tell a short story of paths crossing and separating. It’s about putting your trust in someone, feeling let down, letting go, and not falling for the same scheme twice.

Written in collaboration with Matthew Isaacs and Justin Guanio, it is now available on all streaming platforms:

Secret

Power

Fake Roses

Stand Back