“I was attracted by her honesty and humor” Bob Boilen, NPR All Songs Considered “Part of the new old-soul generation” Phil Ramone, Huffington Post
Amber Rubarth grew up with a transient childhood, moving from town to town throughout California, until a chance bike ride steered her into the life of an artist.
“Before graduating high school, I was riding my bike through Tahoe and saw a little flyer blowing from a nail on a tree that said wood sculpture apprenticeship.”
So the 17 year old dropped the idea of college and moved to Carson City, Nevada to “learn to use chainsaws and make things like leopards, sailors, benches and pretty signs.”
But it was a fateful conversation with her mentor three years later that awakened her musical spirit and cemented the future. “One night in the studio, the head sculptor was telling me one of the most significant things he learned in life was to follow your one true passion, not your second or third. Because you will only be truly great if you're doing what you really love most. And you will only serve your unique purpose in life if you are being truly great.” It was in that instant that Amber traded her chainsaw for a guitar, and she’s never looked back.
At 21 years old, she taught herself to write songs and began playing open mics and recording, almost immediately receiving over 1.5 million listens on MySpace through word of mouth alone. She then moved from Nevada to New York City and was named #1 Best of NYC Songwriter by Deli Magazine in 2010. That same year she won the grand prize in NPR's Mountain Stage New Song Contest with her song “Letter From My Lonelier Self”.
“I wrote ‘Letter From My Lonelier Self’ as a reminder to be courageous in love. It's so easy to want to protect something when it's delicate but just as ships aren't meant to be kept on shore, hearts aren't meant to be locked up inside.”
The prize included recording an album with Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones), an experience that Amber likened to “a dream come true.” She explains, “I was a fan of him already because the first album I fell in love with is Tom Waits’ Mule Variations which he recorded. I respect him so much, and learned an incredible amount from him. He is a hero to me... such a calm, centered and honest approach he carries with him and so much talent in recording a song in a way that expands its lyrics and emotion.”
Her fourth album A Common Case of Disappearing further rooted her as her own artist by highlighting raw, vulnerable songwriting against a driving band. Released in 2011, the album debuted at #13 on iTunes Songwriter charts and features duets with Jason Reeves and Jason Mraz.
“Jason Reeves is one of my favorite songwriters, I love how he sees the world with such innocent wide eyes.”
And of her collaboration with Jason Mraz, “Writing Mirror with Jason Mraz was a beautiful experience. I had started this song and Jason’s voice kept popping into my mind and wouldn't go away. I met him a few times before and sent him what I had with an awkward note telling him his voice was in my head while I was writing it. He sent back an idea that brought the song around full circle, and then offered that Jacquire and I come to his house to record it. It was one of my favorite experiences I have ever had and Jason and Jacquire and I wrote another song the next day too called "Rated Ours" which Jason invited me to perform with him at Carnegie Hall (Jacquire was in town too which was really special.)”
Amber is currently supporting her new album touring throughout the U.S. Her songs have attracted enthusiastic praise from NPR All Songs Considered, The Huffington Post, BBC Radio, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and a Sun Studio Session airing nationwide on PBS.
She has shared the stage with many artists including Emmylou Harris, Loudon Wainwright III, Jason Mraz, Colin Hay, Martin Sexton and Lisa Loeb. Rubarth now composes for films as well, recently composing music with Paul Brill for the highly acclaimed Sundance Film Festival winner “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” and currently scoring the highly anticipated new documentary “Desert Runners.” She is also one half of Brooklyn's buzz band The Paper Raincoat, an iTunes Indie Spotlight feature chosen as Paste Magazine's "Best of What's Next." A new live album “Sessions from the 17th Ward” will be released on Chesky Records October 2, 2012.