Gay Anthems
Getting ''Naked'' with Amber
Dutch singer Amber discusses her dance music
experiences and gay fans

From > (September 12, 2002)
By Doug Rule

__Gay Anthems
The thanks to "all my fantastic fans! You're my inspiration!" dispatched by almost every pop star in their album booklets is usually meaningless blather and could be easily junked. Amber impresses by going beyond the usual simple pandering on her new album, Naked. After the standard thanks to the "Creator," her family, her 11-year-old son, her musical partners, her fans writ large, there's this: "To the gay community -- you know I have to give you a special shout out! I have nothing but love for you -- because that is all I experience when I am around you. Thank you for your undying support."

Amber owes much of her success -- six years and counting as a dance music diva -- to her gay fans. And it's clear that she truly appreciates the people who buy her records, attend her performances, and offer comments on her Facebook page. She even personally responds to most of the posts at, which she sees as her own little "research ground" where fans ply her with great ideas on her next career move.

__Gay Anthems
The Dutch-born Marie Claire Cremers's big break came when she was discovered in Germany, where she spent her formative years, by Europop producers the Berman Brothers (of Real McCoy fame). They coined the name Amber. They helped her with her first hit, 1996's bouncy "This Is Your Night". They worked to get her a recording deal with the dance-oriented American record label Tommy Boy. And they gave her lots of headaches, in that all-too-familiar story of the music business stifling creativity. It was only last December that she bought out her contract with them. So Naked, her third studio album, is the first in which she had true say in the shape of her sound, the ability to write and sing her songs as she saw fit. Appreciative as always, Amber attributes this freedom to her fans.

"It's because of my fans [through their continued support in a fickle industry] that I finally got to work with real musicians, songwriters and producers that I feel a connection to," Amber says by telephone from her home in Westchester, New York. She's as dedicated to high-energy dance music now as ever, but "dance music with substance, lyrically and musically."

Gay Anthems
Her biggest hit to date was 1999's huge gay anthem "Sexual (Li Da Di)," which still can be heard on radio, in clubs, as background filler on MTV. The song took a year to push at radio stations in many markets, reluctant as radio is to play club music. And its suggestive title and lyrics, coming from a woman, meant it never got airplay in some markets.

"It's this riff on the idea that women are sexual beings just as much as men are," Amber says of the song. "There are so many chauvinistic booty songs out there, but because it's from men in hip-hop, it's accepted. That's just ridiculous."

The first hit from Naked, "Yes," was inspired by and quotes from James Joyce's Ulysses as Amber rapturously talks of being alone with a man touching her breasts -- not surprisingly, a stumbling block to getting radio play. Her latest, "The Need to Be Naked," metaphorically talks of getting naked with another, but it's meant as an ode to honesty in a relationship, stripping away all the layers of lies and deception, colored by Amber's recent divorce. Still, it will prove a challenge to get radio on board.

For Part II, click here.

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