The GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter on her her first children’s picture book, ‘You Will Do Great Things’ and her return to music.

I remember in college when I heard GRAMMY-nominated singer, Amerie, for the very first time…From the very first listen, the sounds of “Why Don’t We Fall in Love” began to play on repeat over and over in my dorm room. I remember trying to imitate Amerie’s smooth, raspy vocals and secretly thinking I was her twin because of my slanted eyes and high cheekbones, which was somewhat reminiscent of her African American and Korean heritage. 

Now fast forward over a decade later, to have the opportunity to interview Amerie, one of my childhood sheroes, was very nostalgic and profound all at the same time. In this exclusive interview, Amerie discusses her transition from artist to author, and shares the inspiration behind her first solo work, ‘You Will Do Great Things.’ In this exclusive interview Amerie reveals her plans to release a new album and her legendary “GoGo” sound.

As one of the most prolific Grammy nominated singer/songwriters of the R&B genre, (and I say that respectively because it’s facts,) what was the transition like for you from artist to author?

Amerie: I’ve been writing since I was a child, so becoming an author felt like a natural extension on my end—as well as a dream come true! Reading and writing have always been my favorite hobbies, and I’m happy I get to lean more into that. 

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, “You Will Do Great Things,” and what do you hope readers will take away from it?

Amerie: Regarding inspiration, the book encapsulates what I wanted to tell my son, River, in those first few weeks when I was holding him in my arms. I wanted him to know how much we love him, and I wanted him to know the dreams and hopes we hold for him, all while taking in a book that had a main character who reflected him. I hope readers—including adult readers—come away with the message that even in the hardest of times, the answers they seek regarding work, relationships, or life in general, reside within. Oftentimes, we ask others for advice when really we’re asking permission to, at the end of the day, do the thing we know we need to. We just have to be still and listen to ourselves.

SHEEN: How did you tap into your multicultural heritage and your upbringing to cultivate your book? Was there any particular childhood memory or experience that ignited it?

Amerie: It was important to me that River see himself reflected in the pages, as well as our family. The book is not about one’s ethnic or racial identity, but it’s there in the background, giving a bit of context to the magical journey. When I was a child, I didn’t encounter many books that showcased someone who looked like me, but when I came across one, in which a brown-skinned girl was having adventures, it meant a lot. I hadn’t even realized I needed that until I saw it.

SHEEN: Please tell us about Amerie’s Book Club and its inception.

Amerie: I just wanted to share fantastic reads with other people. The book club focuses on highlighting diverse perspectives and unique voices, focusing mostly on literary fiction but occasionally we have a non-fiction selection, or something literary with a speculative element.

SHEEN: Let’s tap back into your musical side just a little bit…Did you ever imagine that you would create such a legendary lane in music with your hits “Why Don’t We Fall in Love,” “1 Thing,” and “Talking to Me?” And do you feel that you and Rich Harrison were or weren’t fully credited for how your sounds influenced many popular hits such as “Crazy in Love,” and many others today?

Amerie: You never know what you’re going to create when you’re in the middle of it. Sometimes you have an idea that may not be very good, and in that case, I don’t finish the idea and instead move on to the next. Sometimes things are OK or very good, or they can be absolutely amazing—but you don’t know exactly. At least I don’t. When it came to “Why Don’t We Fall in Love,” which we created for the first album, I knew immediately that it was the perfect way to introduce myself to people because it captured so much of my musical essence. And regarding “1 Thing,” I knew it was what I wanted for the introduction to my follow-up album, but Rich and I were so close to it, it wasn’t easy to discern if we had much objectivity regarding how good it was. We did know, though, that “1 Thing” was special.

SHEEN: It’s been over 4 years since your well received EP’s 4AM Mulholland and After 4AM released, and now you are back with Consequence and Rick Ross for “Blood Stain 2. So, Amerie, how does it feel to be back?

Amerie: I’ve been in the studio experimenting with a few sounds, so on my end, it feels the same, only this time people are hearing it versus it remaining something I’m working on in my little corner. When Cons asked me to feature on the record, I was there, absolutely. The reception has been great, and Cons is a friend in addition to being a dope artist, so it’s been an all-around positive experience.

SHEEN: Can we expect a new album coming soon? If so, who would be some of your dream collaborations?

Amerie: It’s still early stages, so it’s too early to talk about just yet! 

SHEEN: As a wife and mom, how do you create work life balance?

Amerie: I used to think there would be a way to finally hit that secret formula, but I’ve surrendered to the fact that it is a constant juggling act and that this is OK. It was a really frightening notion to me at first, that there was no “set” balance and things wouldn’t stay “figured out,” but since then I’ve learned to go with the flow and, admittedly, it is wonderful.

SHEEN: What gives your life meaning, and what do you want your legacy to be?

Amerie: My amazing, blessed family and the ability to create give me such joy and purpose, as well as the belief that I’m here to learn and grow and help others to do the same. We all have our part to play; we’re all connected. As for legacy, it’s a bit early to talk about that. Or perhaps it’s better to never talk about it, but instead to let it unfold.

SHEEN: What is next for you?

Amerie: More books. More creation…

Pick Up Amerie’s latest children’s book, “You Will Do Great Things” at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and all major retailers across the country. 

For more information, please visit: & Instagram: @amerie

Photographer Credit: Felicia Lasala