Yukon artist Ambrose has been challenging herself to grow as a singer and songwriter for years, and she’s just released her second full-length album.
Shirly Ambrose had been trying her whole life to write songs when she was finally struck by inspiration. Primarily a lyricist, she had been working on words to set to music since her teenage years, but just needed melodies to go with them.
“I never believed in forcing music,” she said. “I think it has to come naturally.”
She had paid musicians to write and record music to go with her words, but wasn’t happy with the results. She needed her songs to be her own. Finally, at 29, she had her first real song unexpectedly come over her during a traumatic stage in life. She extracted words from a 100-line poem she had written and had her first fully self-written song.
When she had enough music for an album, Ambrose decided to release an instrumental version of it before releasing the version with vocals. The music was still personal, but not as personal as the lyrical versions, which she wasn’t ready to put out into the world just yet. Last December, after intermittently putting out some singles, she released the instrumental version of Out of Nowhere as her first full-length release.
Ambrose has been collaborating for years with a producer in Ireland, whom she met online. Though they don’t know each other in person and work together in separate parts of the world, the two make a good creative match and are able to build off each other’s artistry.
The vocal version of Ambrose’s album arrived this September and has gone on to receive a good amount of press, some to Ambrose’s surprise. As soon as the album came out, Ambrose was contacted by a Colorado radio station that wanted to play it. Eventually both she and the album were trending.
“That was a big confidence booster for me,” she said. “It really was the start of lots of positive things.”
Ambrose was already known in the Yukon’s artistic community, mainly from her oil paintings, but her musical endeavours these past couple years have allowed the community to see her in a whole new light and get to know a different artistic side of her. Her songs are very personal and important to her. She hopes to be able to take some time to celebrate and it sink in that her music is getting out there.
Ambrose’s CDs are available in Whitehorse at Mac’s Fireweed. They’re available digitally on Bandcamp at ambrose1.bandcamp.com.