Amber deLaurentis released her fourth recording, Innocent Road, in fall of 2019. All material was co-written with lyricist Sarah Blue and lyricist/composer Tom Cleary. DeLaurentis and Cleary worked with producer Colin McCaffrey. DeLaurentis, who is also a jazz singer, features members of her jazz quartet Birdcode--Tom Cleary (piano), Caleb Bronz (drums), and Justin Dunn (bass). The songs speak to themes of addiction, accepting the struggles of life, the beginning and end of love, recklessness, and finding a companion in the harvest moon
A classical/rock pianist and rock/jazz vocalist, Amber is a hybrid. Originally from New Jersey, she grew up on a wide-ranging dose of rock, classical, and blues music. Her folks had a band called Lefty. Her dad, Jack, plays guitar and steel guitar, and her mom Lorraine, electric bass. Amber would sit in regularly on piano and Hammond organ. Lefty was primarily a cover band, playing music from John Prine, Randy Newman, Lucinda Williams, Little Feat, Debbie Davies, or Buddy Guy, to name a few.
While growing up, on any given day Amber might hear her dad spinning the music of Procol Harum, Tchaikovsky, Etta James, Focus, Jeff Beck, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Ravel, Ray Charles, and later, bands like Sonia Dada, Wilco or Massive Attack. Amber still considers her dad her favorite dj.
Now in Vermont, deLaurentis oversees the vocal jazz program at University of Vermont, where she teaches voice and co-directs the UVM Jazz Vocal Ensemble with husband Tom Cleary. Amber also teaches vocal jazz at St. Michael’s College and maintains a private studio of voice and piano students. Amber performs regularly as a member of jazz quartet Birdcode (birdcode.net forthcoming, which just released its first recording You Are Here in June 2019), and of vocal trio, Blue Gardenias. As a songwriter, Amber released her first full-length record, Hey Sadie, in 2008. One of Amber and Tom’s originals, “All Year Long,” was featured in the soundtrack for the 2012 premiere of the holiday film, Scrooge and Marley. Amber has previously performed with Ben Folds, opened for Patti Larkin, Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, NRBQ, Tom Paxton, Marshall Crenshaw, Five for Fighting, Alana Davis, and Entrain. She has performed with jazz artists including pianist Marcus Roberts and Judi Silvano. Originally from Philadelphia, deLaurentis won best out of 1,200 in the Discmakers Independent Music World Series. The songs of deLaurentis and long-time lyricist Sarah Blue also led to a second place finish in the Billboard International Songwriting Competition and honorable mention in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition.
At Hampshire College, in 1992, deLaurentis began writing songs with lyricist and longtime collaborator Sarah Blue (whom she has known since they were pen pals in the third grade). Following college, the two returned to the Philadelphia area and continued writing together for the next 15 years, releasing The Songs of Amber deLaurentis and Sarah Blue, By George!, and Hey Sadie. While in Philly, Amber also played Hammond organ with rockers The Boxcars and played regionally with fellow songwriters Nancy Falkow, Deirdre Flint and Christine Havrilla. In 2001, Amber and her band were featured artists for the WXPN Singer Songwriter Festival and played a few residencies at The Bitter End in New York.
Amber also performs in vocal trio Blue Gardenias with Taryn Noelle and Juliet McVicker. “Singing with the Blue Gardenias is like harmony heaven,” says deLaurentis.
In the meantime, Amber makes the rounds between Schubert, Chopin and Beethoven. Says deLaurentis, “Classical piano is mostly meditative, and I can steal some of Franz, Fred, and Ludwig’s ideas for my own songs without getting sued. I think.”