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Ambrosia: Still making music and fostering a new generation

Photo courtesy/Ambrosia will take the Tally Ho stage May 24.
Ambrosia began 38 years ago with four guys and a unique sound.

With five Grammy nominations, five hit singles and an immense fan base, the band from the South Bay of Los Angeles are still wowing crowds across the country.

Known for the songs "Biggest Part of Me," "How Much I Feel," "You're the Only Woman," "Holdin' on to Yesterday," and "I Just Can't Let Go," Ambrosia is gearing up for the release of their eighth album.

The band will take the stage at the Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg May 24, where they will perform the classics and fans will get a sample of the new music to be released later this year.

In anticipation of the show, the Loudoun Times-Mirror spoke with Joseph Puerta

Q: Ambrosia is set to release a new CD this year. What can fans expect from this new CD?

A: "We've begun work on it and we're putting it together as we speak … I think it's definitely going to be something relateable to our fans we've had for all these years. I think part of the Ambrosia sound is that we spend a lot of time crafting our songs, always trying to have interesting cord changes, interesting lyrics and a good plan to go along with that. Hopefully that has been a hallmark of what we've done and it will be a continuation of that aspect of it … We'll be doing a couple of the new songs at the show."

You're a veteran of the music industry and Ambrosia is known for its detailed sound. What's your take on the industry today?

One of the hardest things I think I've seen is just how difficult it is for young bands today to get signed. The music industry has completely been transformed by the digital world and it's still something that record companies and bands are trying to figure out … You can be internationally distributed overnight, that's one of the wonderful things about it, but what that has brought about, obviously, is that everybody, any kid that's got a computer and a music program is going to put out an album after they've had it for a few weeks. There's so much out there, how do you find the bands that are worthy of giving a listen to? There's almost too much to hear … I think there's a lot of really good music that's being missed because record labels are reticent to sign anybody knowing the amount of money they have to spend to promote it to the point where they're going to get their money back.

What has the experience been like for Ambrosia during your shows?

… Generally speaking, when you do a show and you talk to people after the show … you realize how emotionally involved people are with your music. That's been our goal, but to see the look in the eyes and the people's appreciation about how much your music has become part of their lives in a lot of different ways is amazing … We've been getting people coming up to us, young women, and saying 'Hello, my name is Ambrosia,' and you think 'Wow, we really influenced your parents.' That's the joy of going out and touring and meeting your fans. It makes it all worthwhile for sure.

A lot of bands don't make it as long as Ambrosia has. What's your secret to staying together that long?

I think we enjoy the music and the music is pretty challenging. It's never easy to do one of our shows … There's a lot of complexity to it and a lot of crafting. We put a lot of time into arrangements. There's the challenge of executing it well that we still enjoy, that keeps us on our toes. And also, I think we enjoy what we do still. There's a joy on stage that hopefully translates to the crowd. I think it's important for the crowd to see that, that you're not just up there going through the motions … We get along well. The secret to our success, I think, is the fact that we've learned how to get along after all these years … The record industry is rife with stories of bands that have been dealt bad hands. I can't say we're exempt for that. We've had a lot of legal issues we've had to battle through here and there. But ultimately it's the music that keeps us going.

What advice would you give to local artists trying to break into the industry?

It's so tough right now. I think it's just persevere and, I think the best advice is to not always listen to what people tell you to do. Follow your own heart. Ultimately you've got to create something that's honest and comes from you and not just try and jump on a bandwagon. Try to create something that's yours, that's unique and honest but that you can play with passion. That's No. 1. If you can do that, I think the rest is just keeping your head down and keep going forward.


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