Your first look at the cover art for Late Nights & Early Mornings, the much-anticipated first solo album from British soul singer and songwriter Marsha Ambrosius. The Liverpool-born artist was formerly one-half of Floetry, the English neo-soul duo which had hits with "Floetic" and "Say Yes" on both sides of the pond.
Late Nights & Early Mornings will drop on February 22 but it's already getting a huge buzz. "Far Away" is the second single, a beautiful ballad—preview and download at iTunes—backed by an' amazing music video that presents two Black gay men in love, and explores homophobia in the black community, gay-bashing and LGBT youth suicide.
Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP ...
The video dropped last week and went viral. "Far Away" has received more than 160,000 views on YouTube. #MarshaAmbrosius and #FarAway remain trending topics on Twitter. The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal also reported on the artist and video that tackle LGBT issues—ripped from the headlines—that our community often refuses to address.
"They're calling it controversial, can you believe that?" Marsha told Rod 2.0 on Tuesday evening. "This is not controversial. It's just two Black men in love. To me and to my friends, it's completely normal."
ROD 2.0: The boys are loving you for the "Far Away" video. For the first video on your solo album, you could have done the usual, bling, fancy house, hot guy. Why this?
MARSHA AMBROSIUS: Thank you so much. One of my very good friends was going through something with his life and his relationship. I just wanted to be a good friend. It was hard to see them go through this with their lives and when they attempted suicide ... it was one of the worst things possible. As far as the concept for the video, I just wanted to make it as pure and loving as possible.
What’s most interesting about the video is how you set it up. At first, we thought he would be your boyfriend.
MA: Right. When you watch a video, you can only tell so much of a story in four minutes time. But in "Far Away" you can watch it again and again and learn something new. You say, "Oh, they’re just friends." Then you say, "Oh, that’s his boyfriend."
Already this has had a much larger impact than I thought it would. So many people are loving that they are so open in their relationship, and, they are two black men. Openly in love, not hiding. I didn’t realize it was something that had not been shown before. This is not controversial. It's just two Black men in love. To me and to my friends, it's completely normal So I wanted to be as honest as possible.
When you dropped the video last week there was a huge explosion on Twitter, Facebook and Rod 2.0.
MA: I saw that, it am overwhelmed. Thank you! I had no idea it would be this huge. I knew it would be something ... but not like this. I am really glad that people are connecting with the "Far Away" video. These things… gay-bashing, homopobia, bullying, suicide … it’s all in the news.
Since the very beginning, even with Floetry, my core audience has been predominately gay. I’ve had so many people tell me that my work has been influential to them. Or that they could relate or were in a similar situation. So I wanted to give something back for those whose stories weren’t told. Or if they did have a voice … it wouldn’t be heard. I’m honored that so many people are connecting with the song and the video.
Marsha talks about homopobia on both sides of the Atlantic—and watch the amazing "Far Away" music video— AFTER THE JUMP ...
R20: You’ve lived on both sides of the pond. The British R&B community is much more gay-friendly than their American counterparts, but what about people? Are Black Britons more accepting of gay male relationships than Black Americans?
MA: Mmm. It’s almost the same all over. Either they openly embrace it or they think it’s taboo. There is almost no in-between. But some people are saying the video is very controversial.. no! (LAUGHS) Not at all. This is the real world, this is real life, this is what is happening. I wanted to send a message to people who say, "You can do whatever you want, you can be all lovey-dovey with your homeboy or homegirl but not in front of me."