'Study Hall' Is In Session: A Crash Course on Ambi Lyrics

 Photos by Julian Carr

Photos by Julian Carr

The prefix “Ambi”, meaning “both”, makes perfect sense for Ambi Lyrics, the epitome of a renaissance woman. Already an impressive producer, engineer, DJ and teacher, she has expanded into becoming her own A&R and creative director, as well as the writer of all the video treatments for her upcoming project, Study Hall. “This project is going to represent me,” and who better to represent her than the person who can do it all- herself.

Study Hall is an appropriate name coming from Ambi. Her studious mind and resourcefulness have been the moral of the story thus far, a constant. Growing up an athlete on the northside of St. Louis, she was fully intent on a future in basketball. However, while out-of-commission due to tearing her ACL and MCL, Ambi’s studies of hip hop producer 9th Wonder lead her to learn the software FL Studio. “I always liked music, but never knew how it was made…so I just dug into finding it.” Her music flourished upon moving to Chicago for school, and she eventually began collaborating with artists such as Mick Jenkins and theMIND for her debut project, Your Music, released late in 2014.

“Life happened a lot” in between Your Music and Study Hall, however. “I spent these last three years…learning life, and just going through life and understanding that that’s a part of me being able to create.” One of her most meaningful learning experiences came from a challenging relationship she was involved in for much of the time her project was in the works, and her focus just wasn’t the same. Wake up calls from her family and friends as well as her own realizations of the ways it was detrimental to her creative process inspired her to separate from the situation and rechannel the energy into her music. She was back on her feet again, doing it all in no time. “After I got out of the relationship, it took me all of a month to finish my project…I felt so much lighter.”

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With new stories and knowledge at her disposal, Ambi was driven as ever to ensure her record was exactly what she wanted it to be. Honing in on her sound and visuals for the album, “I just literally locked myself in my room, and read the books that [Lboogie] (producer for THEMpeople) gave me, read over all of the notes from sessions with Elton [Chueng] and just went from there.” The result is a project she is absolutely proud of, featuring a fantastic lineup of artists (Via Rosa, Jean Deaux, Joseph Chilliams, Smino- just to name a few), collaborations you’ve never heard before, videos and production entirely with her hard work and creative vision poured into every facet. “I’ve got a full package…I’m excited,” and when all of her capabilities are on the table, expect excellence.

With the patience and care she displays in nurturing the growth of her music, it’s no wonder Ambi is also a Pre-K teacher. Though initially doubtful she would enjoy teaching, “I started doing it and I was like ‘Man, I’m actually having fun, like, these kids are cool.’” Teaching has become a fulfilling part of her life and her routine. “I feel like I gotta do both. I gotta be in the classroom and I gotta be in the studio afterwards, it just completely balances me out…I tried to do the whole ‘Let’s be a full-time musician,’ and I just got bored.” When you can do it all, why stop at one thing?

Through her production, her teaching- every endeavor she has pursued- it has been Ambi’s intelligence, enterprising mentality, and ability to do her research that have made her someone you’d be remiss to underestimate. Not to mention her talent and acquisition of layers of creative skill. As the rollout for Study Hall continues, make sure to keep your eyes and ears on her; we could all learn a little something.