Meet the lovely Amber Wilson! In 2010, Amber established the Wilson’s “Where To” Blog to document where to eat, drink and be merry in Los Angeles and beyond. It features restaurant reviews, travel recommendations, and interviews with inspirational trailblazers.
“I grew up playing the piano, violin and guitar. I also wrote an orchestra composition that my high school orchestra performed.”
Amber Wilson has also spent a couple of years working in the music industry in corporate communications and currently works full-time in public relations.
City/State: Los Angeles / Bay Area, CA
Top 5 Favorite Records and songs:
Here are my top favorites for this month:
1. Wiley’s “Boasty”
2. Mos Def’s “Umi Says”
3. Beyoncé’s entire “HOMECOMING: THE LIVE ALBUM”
4. The Carters’ “SUMMER”
5. H.E.R.’s “Focus”
1. D’Angelo’s Unreleased Rare & Live
2. Sade’s Diamond Life
3. Michael Frank’s Sleeping Gypsy
4. Tracy Chapman’s Tracy Chapman (Self-Titled)
5. Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life
I’ll listen to anything if it has a beat! A few genres I have on heavy rotation include: Alternative, Blues, Classical, EDM, Gospel, Hip-Hop / Rap, Jazz (all forms, from smooth to swing), Latin music (from bachata to reggaton and salsa), R&B (old and new), Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Favorite Record Shop(s):
Amoeba on Sunset Blvd. — Smack in the middle of Hollywood, Amoeba feels like it’s in the heart of the music industry. It’s so close to the iconic Capitol Records building, dozens of recording studios and scores of live music venues. The store’s two floors are jam-packed with records to peruse through, plus, I’ve seen some great performances there over the years.
What made you start collecting records?
I grew up in a music-loving, record-playing household. As far back as I can recall, my dad blasted music nonstop. I remember being a toddler and jamming to the jazz he’d play on his stereo set. He also had a really massive record collection that was unfortunately stolen when I was a kid. A few of his albums remained, but for the most part, he stopped buying them in general, especially as CDs and cassettes grew in popularity. In my teens, he gifted me with some of his old records; then, my grandmother gave me a few she didn’t want anymore. Through these first two passing down of records, that’s how my collection officially launched.
What is the first record you’ve bought?
The first one I ever bought with my own hard earned money was 112’s Pleasure & Pain — for $1 — at Amoeba.
What are the most recent records you’ve added to your record collection?
A couple of years ago, Nile Rodgers held a private event in Hollywood. As a parting gift, he provided every attendee with a commemorative record featuring songs from Chic’s upcoming album, It’s About Time.
What records are you looking to add next?
While my main focus is to (finally!) listen to everything I already own, I’d love to add more live albums, across any genre.
How many records do you think you have in total without counting?
A couple of hundred.
How do you organize your record collection?
I used to meticulously organize each one by alphabetical order. But after a few moves from one home to the next, they’ve unfortunately gotten out of order and I haven’t reorganized them just yet. As I listen to each one, I’m slowly but surely reordering them once again, but it’s going to take some time!
What is a day of crate digging like?
Crate digging isn’t for the faint at heart! Often times, dust steadily rises up from boxes, your hands and clothes will get dirty, your back can start to hurt from leaning forward so much and you have to sort through a lot of random records that may be in no particular order, just to find what you’re looking for. On the flip side, there’s nothing like getting lost for a few hours in browsing all of the different albums. From beautiful cover artwork to finding forgotten hidden gems, there’s so much to take in.
How does music make you feel?
Simply put, music feels like a natural extension of who I am, and I’ve felt this way for as long as I can remember. I grew up playing the piano, violin and guitar. I listen to music while I work, exercise and relax at home. I even briefly worked in the music industry. And now, on my own blog, I frequently cover music-related events and interview recording artists and musicians. I couldn’t imagine a world — or more specifically, my world — without music.
How important is music and having records apart of your life?
Music’s best trait, in my humble opinion, is its ability to unite people. Music doesn’t care about anyone’s socio-economic status, language, country of origin, age or any other defining characteristic; it only cares that you’re loving what it’s giving to you, whether that’s its beats, its lyrics, its melody or its overall vibes. Have you ever been to a concert where the crowd is so diverse, but everyone’s unanimously singing along to a song? There’s power in bringing people together through music. Records have been a way for me to connect to the past. A lot of the ones I own have sentimental value because someone I loved was their previous owner. I’m reminded of that every time I pull a specific one out — especially if their name is written on the album cover!
Why does female music taste matter?
It matters because we as women matter. Our tastes, voices, likes and preferences need to be voiced. We are some of the fiercest singers, baddest DJs, most prolific songwriters and most loyal fans out there. I couldn’t imagine a world without DJ Spinderella, without Beyoncé or some of the music industry vets like Jana Fleishman who have paved the way for the next generation of amazing female leaders in music to emerge.
What advice do you have for other females who want to start collecting records?
If there’s something you don’t like, don’t hold onto it. There’s literally no point in having an album you never play sitting in the corner, collecting dust. As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so don’t be afraid to pass along your junk to someone else who may think it’s platinum.