Jul 5, 2019

The Real Reason Amerie Disappeared

what happened to amerie

Oh, the Aughties, how I miss you! This time period, which includes the years 2000-2009, was when some of the best R&B songs were made. From Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’” to Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” and Ne-Yo’s “So Sick,” we were groovin’ to those smooth sounds like our lives depended on it. 

There was one influential artist who also experienced musical success during this time period: R&B singer Amerie. I can still vividly remember taking her CD to a frat house on a Thursday night, and me and my BFF drunkenly dancing offbeat to “1 Thing.” Aww, the good ol’ days!

But as quickly as Amerie gave us back-to-back hits, she faded away from the music scene without notice. What really happened to the half-Korean, half-African-American songstress? 

Here’s the real reason Amerie disappeared. 

Success came quickly, but it wouldn't last

what happened to amerie

In the summer of 2002, Amerie dropped an instant classic with the release of “Why Don’t We Fall In Love.” With hints of old school, ‘80s R&B elements and a whispery yet rather angelic voice, the song climbed the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at no. 23. 

She had a bop on her hands, and we had no idea Amerie would keep her foot on our necks all summer long. She dropped her debut album, All I Have, in July 2002, and that following month, her album was the no. 2 top R&B/Hip-Hop album, according to Billboard

Then she released “Talkin’ to Me,” and we were convinced Amerie would have some staying power in the industry. Who cares if she wasn’t the strongest singer. She could carry a tune, she was obviously an amazing songwriter, she could dance, and she was beautiful (I’m not gonna even get into how much she resembles Kourtney Kardashian. The resemblance is trippy!). 

Alright, so Amerie had the winning formula to have a career that could rival Rihanna’s, and she even snagged a Soul Train Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist. She followed up her debut album with her sophomore album Touch that gave us the mf’n jam “1 Thing.” For that effort, she earned two Grammy nominations.

However, her hits began to putter out for one major reason. 

She lost her music partner

where is amerie

In 2006, Amerie headed back to the studio to work on her third album, Because I Love It. But there was someone noticeably absent from the creative process: her longtime collaborator, friend, and producer, Rich Harrison. 

What drove a wedge between them? You know what, we wish we had the answer to this, but we can speculate.... 

After co-writing and producing all of Amerie’s bops, Rich was in high-demand. Naturally, top names in the industry were clamoring to work with him, too, like Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Chrisitina Milian, and so on and so forth. They all wanted that quintessential sound that made Amerie so popular, and Rich delivered. 

He produced Beyoncé’s Crazy In Love in 2003 and took home a Grammy for that same track in 2004. Beyoncé then recruited him to produce songs on her album B’Day, and, well, when Beyoncé calls, you don’t have time for someone like Amerie, I guess. 

Issues at her record label

where is amerie

Columbia Records was going through some internal issues, which caused a slight delay in the release of her third album Because I Love It

The project was released overseas in 2007, and only digital copies were available in the U.S. This proved to be a major blow for Amerie. Digital copies just weren’t a thing back then. Unsurprisingly the album didn’t even chart on Billboard. 

Her album was finally released in the U.S. in 2008...but, nonetheless, no1curred. 

She badmouthed her label 

what happened to amerie

In 2007, Amerie was all the way fed up with Columbia Records, and she didn’t bite her tongue when she told RWD (via That Grape Juice) her label wasn’t pushing Because I Love It like they should have. 

Amerie said she knew how she wanted to time the release of her songs and music videos to keep the momentum going, but the label wouldn’t budge. 

“I love the business and I studied the business and I told them we needed to do the other video [for 'Crush' following the release of the track 'Gotta Work'] because you need to have another single when your other track is peaking. They’re talking about doing it next year, but I’m not doing it next year! [...] I get that everyone’s filled with good intentions, but the road to perdition is filled with good intentions. There should have been no gaps.” 

This poses the question: did biting the hand that feeds her get her blackballed?

Going independent

what happened to amerie

In June 2008, Contact Music revealed Amerie had signed a production deal with Island Def Jam Music Group, which allowed her to release music under her own label, Feenix Rising. 

All she needed to do next was crank out some hits, right?!  She released her fourth album, In Love & War in 2009. The album hit no. 3 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. It also included a couple of mediocre tracks, including ”Why R U” and “Heard Em All” featuring Lil Wayne. 

Sadly, it looked like the old Amerie was gone, and then this happened...

A weird name change

what happened to amerie

The strangest thing happened in 2010. All of a sudden, the singer announced she was canning her name “Amerie” and would be referred to as “Ameriie” from here on out. Yes, she added an extra “i,” which was all sorts of crazy, in our opinion.

We weren’t the only ones who were giving her the side eye, so she decided to clarify her decision in a statement made to Rap-Up. “I operate on vibes and intuition, and I believe everything is energy; the vibration of the double I is right for me. Slightly different spelling, completely same pronunciation!” she wrote. Umm, okay.

That following year, she was asked about her name change again during an interview with Pacific Rim Video Press. She said she made the change for a “personal” reason and left it at that.

Oddly enough, she’s back to being “Amerie” on her Instagram account so who even knows wtf she was going through during that time.

She found success as a YouTuber 

what happened to amerie

Most artists use their YouTube channels to promote their music videos. Amerie, on the other hand, decided to revamp her channel to encompass all things lifestyle-related. She has everything, from book reviews to makeup tutorials, so go ahead and hit that subscribe button.

Oh, and feel free to subscribe to Real Reality Gossip’s YouTube channel too while you’re at it! :) 

If her music isn't popping like before, she might as well explore other avenues to stay connected to her fans. 

She’s a published author 

what happened to amerie

Wait, let me correct that — she’s a New York Times best-selling author! In 2017, she teamed up with a bunch of other writers to create the Young Adult anthology Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy

The book’s Amazon profile states: "Thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.” 

Sounds spooky. We stan.

She’s a mommy and a wife 

what happened to amerie

Amerie married her longtime boyfriend, Sony music executive Lenny Nicholson, in June 2011. In May 2018, she and her husband welcomed their first child, a son named River Rowe. He has his own Instagram, so follow him if you’re into that sort of thing. 

She's slangin' merch 

In researching what the eff happened to Amerie, I discovered that she’s a business guru. She sells her own merch on a website called River Row. From sweatshirts to T-shirts and coffee mugs, you can load up on countless Amerie-approved items. 

Music is still her passion

Believe it or not, she’s still releasing music. She teased us with the idea of Cymatika Vol. 1, a CD that was set to explore electronic music and androgyny. Confused? Yeah, you’re not the only one, but it doesn’t matter at this point because the album still hasn’t seen the light of day. 

Then, she started talking about Because I Love It Vol. II., and that album got shelved, as well. She then teamed back up with hitmaker Rich Harrison for 2015’s single “Out Loud,” and she released her EP Drive in 2016, which was named one of the best R&B albums by Rolling Stone magazine. 

In 2018, she hit us with 4AM Mulholland and After 4AM, proving that she may not be at the top of the charts anymore, but she's still a creative genius who's determined to bring her unique sound to the masses. 


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