“I spent most of my pandemic sleeping, smoking weed, and crying,” says singer/songwriter Ambar Lucid, laughing. In March of 2020, the then-19-year-old Mexican-Dominican musician was preparing for the April release of her debut LP, Garden of Lucid, along with an accompanying US tour, including a date at The Lounge at World Café Live. Although the tour was put on hold, the album was released to critical praise. Pitchfork said of Lucid, “The 19-year-old singer’s debut exudes confidence and experience. Her style of R&B is mystical and moody, lavishing in wonky, washed-out guitar, sticky basslines, and fuzzy background vocals.”
In the two years since the release of Garden of Lucid, Ambar has released a handful of singles and is currently in the middle of the Estrella Tour, which will have her headlining The Lounge at World Café Live tonight. During a recent phone chat, Lucid told me about her latest single, “girl ur so pretty,” a club-ready banger which dropped last month and was apparently at least partly based on Euphoria: “I was watching a lot of Euphoria and everything in my life was inspired by Euphoria at that time, from my music to my makeup… It was inspired by Jules and Rue and their relationship during the first season.” She also tells me that it was heavily influenced by a particularly bad musical experience: “I had a studio session the day I wrote that, and I went into the grimiest studio I’ve ever been in in my entire life. It was just not cute.” However, she used that less-than-pleasant setting as motivation to make something entirely different: “I decided to use this experience as inspiration to write a bop.”
Ambar Lucid tells me that while she wasn’t initially happy about the immediate implications of lockdown, it did provide a necessary break from her current schedule… at least at first: “I needed the downtime that it brought me, after touring and recording my album and all that… It slowed down, but then it slowed down way too much.” However, she also admits that the experience gave her a much-needed, newfound perspective of being a professional musician: “That period changed my relationship with making music. I was doing music for work too often, and not for fun or because I was enjoying it.”
During our chat Ambar Lucid admits that she already has something new in the works that she’s looking to focus on after she returns from the road (“I’m going to spend most of my time finalizing my next project.”), but tells me that her live dates are not only her main focus, but her favorite part of being a musician: “The highlights are always playing the shows.” She also tells me that The Lounge at World Café Live would seem to embody the kind of intimacy that she prefers for live shows: “I like venues where I’m close enough to the crowd to just step off the stage and into the audience, because I step into the audience during the encore.” Ambar also tells me that it is well worth it for audiences to come out early to the Estrella Tour, whose shows are being opened by R&B artist syd B, of whom Lucid is a massive fan: “I think she’s a queen and she slays and her music slays.”
*Get your tickets here.