Monday, February 4, 2019

9/25/18 #JustReflecting ft. @Nia Coombs founder of A.M.P.

Life will be life so just create: Nia Coombs (A.M.P.

Written By Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR)

I am a firm believer that everyone has a purpose no matter what, and once you find your purpose, you will not rest until you begin to pursue it.  Without realizing it our purpose begins when we are young children, most of the time sitting in on the stoop daydreaming, or as an adult seeing something that makes you say…THAT’S BEEN ME THIS ENTIRE TIME. No matter when you realize what your purpose in life is to pursue it. Nia Coombs creator of AMP (Art.Music.People) has believed her purpose…creating a platform for other creatives and those who have made it their business to utilize AMP’s platform. Making a way in a major market like New York City, which is known to be the city that doesn’t sleep, I can only imagine has its fair share of ups and downs, but that did not and will not stop this spirit who is full of spunk.  So lock in and allow Nia to share her journey with you, with no red tape because she is JUST REFLECTING.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): It is a pleasure to finally build with you. Let's get straight to it…what inspired you to create A.M.P.?

Nia: What inspired me to create A.M.P. I noticed that there was an absence of platforms for artists, particularly artist of color and I felt like at the time in the black community in New York City, I feel like it’s much more prevalent but when I started it in 2013, I felt like the lack of platforms for artist without clout wasn’t really there. That’s what really inspired A.M.P… I myself am a musician; singer, songwriter, I went to school for music business, so with my background as both a creative and having the education in music business, I decided to start something that would be for us that would allow artist to express themselves without barriers, without worrying about paying this venue this much or bring out these many people, or I have to pay a performance fee which is not my cup of tea. I just wanted to create something where the artist could feel a sense of having a platform to put them out there without much pressure.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): What does an A.M.P. event look like

Nia: A.M.P is a combination of a lot of different things.  It’s community…passion…fun. When I have a particular showcase I usually have every form of art, both visual and performing arts. Artist such as dancers, singers, rappers, and even spoken word artist can have a stage and a platform, but then I also give visual artist such as painters…I haven’t had any sculptures yet but looking into that, photographers…mainly visual artist’s that can do anything with either a canvas or a camera. The last portion of an A.M.P event is giving small black-owned business a vending space. An A.M.P. event is an all-inclusive event of different creative doing different things but coming together for one night.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): When did you realize that you are creative?

Nia: I realized I was a creative at a younger age, but I never put a title on it.  However, now that I am older I do lol.  I realized I was a creative in junior high-school due to my many different interested. Every school that I attended with the exception of elementary school was performing arts based. I can say that elementary school exposed me to music first. I started off playing the violin at the age of six and once I got into a performing arts junior high-school I realized that I didn’t want to just be in the band or do one thing.  I also loved to sing and grew a deep appreciation for the other talents that were there such as dancing, visual arts, and drama. Now I am not a dancer or a visual artist but I grew a fond appreciation while in junior high and wanted to be a part of that community as an adult. That’s where the love of expressing yourself creatively came about.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): What was your high school years like?

Nia: I attended Edward R. Morrow High-School. It had a mixture of both performing arts and a communication program. I auditioned on the violin, got in which made me a “music hall kid” lol but then I also explored the lane of vocal music. I did a few student-run productions and dibbed into custom making and photography. High school really opened me up…I considered myself shy and awkward while in junior high, as most of us are but my high-school years allowed me to explore what it meant to be creative.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR) Growing up what musicians and authors inspired you?

    Picture found on google

Nia: BLACK ONES lol…No I’m kidding. As far as authors go, growing up it was very elementary school stuff. I would read Goosebumps…lol…you know stuff like that. R.L. Stein was the homeboy back in the day lol. Growing up in an afro-centric household, my mom would always read Octavia Butler and Toni Morrison, which was of higher suffocation. For me, in junior high, I really wasn’t on that wave yet but I was reading Shel Silverstein in my younger years and as I got older as far as writers go, I started to develop more awareness of our culture in literature at the end of junior high and high school. Definitely black folks lol.  My mother had a very interesting upbringing so her influences became some of my influences. She would play everyone from India Arie, Lauryn Hill, a lot of soul and some gospel.  On Sunday’s she would have her set musicians that she would play, we called that her cleaning music like most black moms…the Kirk Franklins, Jill Scott, Noel Pointer, Regina Carter, and some Rock, Jazz. Our household was very eclectic.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): Your catalog is pretty intense lol. What about actors?

I’m a 90’s kid so all of the big black actors and actresses in the ’90s. Jada Pickett, Lorenz Tate, Nia Long, Denzel, Will Smith, Danny Glover…you know! The people I gravitate towards now are the people I have always gravitated too.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): Speaking of you growing up in an Afro-Centric crib, how do you feel about the movement now and do you think creative’s are pushing the envelope genuinely?

Nia: I actually feel like growing up we celebrated Kwanza and people would think my dad was Rasta because he wore loc’s and my family was on that tip. It was also weird because back then we would get made fun of too. If we said something that was too black people would be like whatever Erykah Badu and now she is idealized. I think it’s a beautiful thing that people are embracing it but I don’t think many are being totally genuine. I think once people start putting the ecstatic behind it aside, and the trend aspect aside, then people will really jump behind that wave.  I think to be Afro-Centric and proud of what’s in you, it’s not foreign but we’ve been so brainwashed to believe it is. I think the movement is a beautiful thing but we have to be clear and careful of our intentions. Like do we want to just wear our afro’s to look fly at Afro-Punk or do we really care about embracing who we really are naturally? Even with the hair movement, you’re not going natural; you’re just going back to what you were born with. I do believe some creative’s pushing it genuinely but then some creative are pushing it because it’s a wave and a market.

Me: How important is pushing the culture on the A.M.P. platform?

Nia: One of the reasons why I try to make as many events free, especially if I know how it will benefit us largely. A.M.P. is just not about singing and dancing but actually branching out for creative's to not only express ourselves but also to understand how the arts benefit our community. One idea my sister has is opening up her own venue for the artist and that’s practicing real state and buy back into our community. I feel like with so many stigma’s that both black men and women have against them, the arts is almost like our own sense of therapy. I know a lot of people who have healed through speaking creatively through songs and dance.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): What is your formula when getting the artist to support your vision and not just ride the wave?

Nia: Lol…it’s still a struggle and a process. It’s all about not only being consistent but showing people and delivering people with quality content. I feel like that’s a big part of it. 2018 compared to the 2013 Nia sees what was done wrong during my very first event. The concept was there but I didn’t prepare for any quality control during the event. I was in college that year so I was passing out the flyer to my college classmates, I had one poet from Jersey and a singer from Brooklyn who decided to stay in the bathroom because there wasn’t a large crowd.  That let me know what to do differently the next time and a mental list of who to continue working with. I’m not a spiteful person and one thing you learn in performing arts school or not, when you get into the entertainment business is regardless if its only one person in the crowd or a thousand people in the crowd and you only expect twenty people, the show goes on. That experience helped shape my network because it taught me how to promote differently, and ask for help, have better communication with artists, and how to support artists, creatives, and business owners outside of your own show…that’s how you build your network.

Me: Is A.M.P. a one-woman army or a team full of individuals?

Nia: I believe I am a leader but I have a problem being a boss. I have such a team player spirit that it makes it hard for me to be like YOU’RE DOING THIS WRONG…lol. I’m still finding the balance of being taken seriously and getting things done effectively outside of myself. I started to build of a team back in August 2017 with two friends of mine but before then its just been me curating A.M.P. events in the past.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): In my journey building Levels Ready Ent, I have struggled to find mentors. How impactful has mentor’s been for you in this journey?

Nia: Lol…honeslty I don’t have a personal mentor but I do have people I reach out to for support and advice. I do think having a specific, personalized mentor is important…I would like to have one. I do watch how people interact while doing business just to pick up little gems so that I can be a better business owner but a leader. 

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): Music festivals have been big especially for an indie artist. What are your feelings towards them?

Nia: Festivals are really important to me. To put both local and national acts together ultimately establishes a fan base. Festivals feed into a demographic and it's important more for the upcoming artist because it helps them build up their already established fan base with a national headliner performing as well. I’ve attended Pitch Fork and Lollapalooza, and I realized that we cannot do general admission anymore lol.  The first time attending a festival in Chicago I was almost stomped out by some ASAP Ferg fans because everyone was ready to mash pit but it was fun lol. I believe the festival experience is essential...I feel like to all artist careers and it's really dope.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): As we wrap this up I would love to know…if you can give one characteristic of yourself to the world what would it be?

Nia: Understanding because in everything I do and wherever I am, I try to be level-headed, open-minded, and understanding of peoples situations. There are certain things morally that I do not tolerate but for the most part I try to be understanding of the world and the people around me. It helps put things into perspective and lessens confusion, hatred, and chaos.

Stay Connected


Instagram: Art.Music.PPL

FaceBook: Art.Music.PPL




Post a Comment