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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

EXCLUSIVE Q & A with Dance Diva AMBER DIRKS

After my interview with the divine Debby Holiday comes this interview with the awesome Amber Dirks. A vocal powerhouse, a riveting stage presence, I am thrilled she agreed to do this Q & A with me. Here is our interview:

DJ Buddy Beaverhausen:  Hi, Amber! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this Q&A with me. I'm sure my blog readers, internationally, will appreciate it, too, as your songs have been hits enjoyed on dancefloors around the world.

Amber Dirks: What an honor to even be considered for a Q & A interview. I truly appreciate this opportunity and what you are doing for all Artists across the entertainment spectrum.

DJBB: Thanks very much!

You were born in Holland, raised in New York City. At what age did you come to NYC? And at what point did you decide to move to Arizona, and what motivated that move?

AD: Ik was geboren in Holland, in Soest over land van Koninginnen; which translates as I was born in Holland in Soest in the Queens land. Actually, my parents' careers made the move West and at that point, I was still deciding where my career path was going to take me. With a few life-changing events, I had to go with my heart and dreams, and that's where the pursuit of singing came along.

DJBB:  I read that you were Miss Black Arizona 1994. When did your professional singing career start, and how did pageant work fit into that?

AD: Believe it or not, I always dreamed of becoming this huge singer at a young age, about four years old, and I am very thankful for the opportunities I have had in my musical journeys. I would say that my professional career started while in high school in Arizona. I was the youngest lead singer and I fronted an all-male backing band and we played at a lot of the popular clubs and private venues.

In regards to the Miss Black Arizona Pageant, I went on to compete in the Miss Black USA Pageant representing Arizona. It was nice to see young intelligent, beautiful women of color come to together and represent what they believed in and show how real camaraderie really works. It showed me how important listening skills are, poise and how to always be classy and ready to take on challenges and hard work, and to always stay true to yourself.

All pageants require dedication and hard work and it's not all about the glitz and glam. Although it was a great, positive experience, it further helped me realize how much I love singing and performing and that further prepared me to take on the needed task to hopefully become respected as an Artist.

DJBB: Largely associated with a hiNRG sound, you have subsequently become a dance diva with a large gay fan base. And gay men love their divas! You've recently performed at Phoenix Pride. Is there anything in particular you'd like to say to say now, directly, to your gay fans in particular?

AD: First of all, thank you for your kind words. I truly appreciate them. I love people of all colors, ethnicities, orientations, backgrounds, etc., and the one thing I can say about my beautiful rainbow fans is that I love how I can be free to be myself and enjoy the feeling of acceptance. Even if I have gained a pound or two, I still have my wonderful gay community that take me for who I am and for that I am very grateful. Thank you all for your support and the love that you continue to shine on me. I Love You ALL!!!



DJBB: I want to talk about your club hits but, first, I just want to mention that you have worked with some of the best before, and outside of, your solo career. What was it like working with Sister Sledge? Natalie Cole? Destiny's Child? And I know my readers will want me to ask, in particular: What was Beyonce like?

AD: So surreal, it feels like a dream. These Artists are extremely gifted. It's definitely an honor to hit center stage with the likes of them. And being able to perform all over the world with Sister Sledge is truly a blessing and I am very thankful. Natalie Cole is a Class Act. What a Powerful, kind, talented and Real Woman she is!! She is the true meaning of Artist so, in that respect, it was AWESOME. Although I am a performer, I am also a HUGE fan of these Artists.... Always having camera ready and asking for autographs. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to get to close and personal with Beyonce, but from what I can tell not only is she an awesome singer, she is a class act on and off the stage.

DJBB: Your voice on "Dreaming" and "All Through the Night," two of the great songs you did with Power 2 Move, has a very Donna Summer quality to it, in the sense of its purity and sweetness and strength. I read you had a chance to meet Ms Summer shortly before she passed. What was that like, and was she an influence for you?

AD: I remember visiting family in Holland and we went to a water park. I was 10 years old and, even at that age, my hair was very long, and a group of children were saying to me that I looked like Donna Summer. I have always admired Donna Summer’s artistry and the class that she always had. She showed how you can be sexy and classy at the same time, where it was okay to be sultry but left some things to the imagination. Her voice was stellar and very versatile, which is one of the reasons she crossed over to many different genres of music. These are the qualities that are important to me and that stood out for me, growing to becoming an artist myself, which inspired me. Donna Summer was (is) a huge influence and I was blessed to have had the opportunity to have met her and have a memory that I will cherish for a lifetime.

DJBB: What singers, overall, were influences on your style, your singing?

AD: There are so many, but to name a few: Donna Summer, Whitney Houston, Evelyn Champagne King, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Toni Braxton. They all have awesome singing abilities, as well as performing skills that helped lead me in the musical directions that I have ventured, and continue to venture, into.

DJBB: There are moments on Power 2 Move's "You & Me" where I swear you're channeling the late, great Loleatta Holloway! Your voice is that powerful and amazing.

AD: WOW!! You’re so kind. I truly appreciate your kind words. Loleatta Holloway was another awesome class act and I gratefully appreciate the compliment to even have been compared to her.



DJBB: I also love your work with DJ JST, especially "Rejoice." I play that in my sets every holiday season. You really belt that out of the park!

AD: Bill Friar, DJ JST and I had a lot of fun writing that track... It was very spiritual for all involved and, when I have sung it live, it really takes me to another level. I am so HAPPY to hear that you enjoy the song as much as I do. Thank you!



DJBB: Have you heard the BetBoyz ObamaNation remix that samples the President's voice in the mix with your singing "Rejoice"?

AD: Of course and I LOVE IT!!! They really did an awesome job on that remix and it really set the tone.

DJBB: Another favorite of mine is Wild Jaam's "Day in Time." It has a vaguely retro disco feel to it, and you do a hot, very complimentary duet with Jacinta. What was recording that like? And doing the video?

AD: Jacinta is my sister from another mother. I absolutely loved working with her. She is an awesome and very talented artist and I have a lot of respect for her. We both bounced off each other very well in the studio (which we recorded in Austin, TX) and created an awesome track!! The video was so much FUN and the cast of people were absolutely inspiring. We also had a photo shoot together which was a blast and you never know what the future brings!

DJBB: It would be wonderful if you were to rock the dancefloor together again!

You have worked with some fantastic producers. Where were the above songs recorded?

AD: I Love them ALL!! Please let me take the opportunity to Thank Them all: Rick Savage (Far Away), Themi (AkA Electrik Pulse and Power 2 Move), Bill Friar and DJ JST and last but not least my group mates of KopaTechnic, RK Jackson and Jimmie Alston. Most of my vocals were recorded in my home studio, however, with my current KopaTechnic project, we have recorded most of the vocals at Chaton Studios in Phoenix, AZ

DJBB: Could you tell us about your new upcoming album with KopaTechnic (love the name)? What's that like and what your fans can expect?

AD: This album is going to venture into the Chicago house roots which RK Jackson is well known for. It’s going to be a very soulful house blend with deep grooves. We are very excited about the upcoming project. It’s going to be HOT! With special thanks to RK Jackson and Jimmie Alston, my partners in the studio grind.

DJBB: Ooo, sounds nice! When does it drop in the US? And any plans to perform live in NYC?

AD: We are currently at the final stages of mastering and, hopefully, in mid-August, it will be released worldwide. We are also looking to book tour dates.... We have a few dates upcoming in August and we are looking to hopefully tour NYC very soon. Please let the fans know to visit our website www.kopatechnic.com for more information in regards to upcoming tour dates as well as music, etc and we can also be found on Facebook www.facebook.com/kopatechnicmusic If you have a Facebook page, please friend us. As soon as we release our EP, I will personally make sure to have a link to a free download to one of our new songs available for all of your fans!

DJBB: Can't wait! We can never get enough of you! Thank you and bless you, Amber. You truly have one of the best, most powerful and beautiful voices in Clubland!

AD: Me TOO!! I’m excited!! I LOVE YOU ALL TOO!!! I truly appreciate all the support and the opportunity to share myself to you ALL, and I will continue to support my Fans with the music they love!!!

Visit Amber Dirks at: www.facebook.com/AmberDirks

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