With nearly a decade working and creating as one of Santa Cruz’s premiere singer-songwriters and rappers, Amplified has made a name for himself with a unique artistic voice and vision. As a veteran of multiple Vans Warped Tours, a nationally touring independent artist, and a current collaborator and manager of the hometown hero group The Expendables, Amplified is no new-comer to the Santa Cruz or Bay Area music scenes. But in his most recent drop “Waves” featuring Wax and his upcoming solo single “Level Up,” Amplified is reaching for new horizons and poised to break through to the national mainstream.
“Waves” is a vibrant triumph of sound, with layered vocals from Amplified that reflect on his growth and resilience in the face of self doubt and the ups and downs of life.
“Life just comes in waves, that’s why I ride my high when I can,” Amplified croons throughout the track. A nod to the culture and lifestyle of his Santa Cruz beach town home, the mellow jam encourages listeners to live the best they can no matter what obstacles surface. And with a silky smooth verse from the legendary Wax, this track is a masterful snap-shot of where the ambitious creative is now in his career.
“Level Up” rings truer to Amplified’s varied hip-hop centric influences, with piano and horn driven production that’s reminiscent of Chance the Rapper and will appeal to fans of sounds as diverse as Dominik Fike and The Roots. Manifesting what’s next for the artist, “Level Up” reads as an anthem of struggles conquered and self doubts overcome.
“If I’m gonna make it out of this alive / I must be damn sure that I’m gonna take what’s mine” Amplified assert on the song in his trademark sing-songy melodic flow, and the track’s infectious optimism and catchy melodies will inspire those who have been following Amplified’s story so far as well as turn new listeners into believers.
“Level Up is about stepping into my growth, leaving behind poor habits and social anxieties while taking the next steps in my career,” Amplified reflects about the track.
As a one-two punch, “Waves” and “Level Up” encapsulate the growth of an artist who has found his sound, committed himself to his calling, and done the internal and career work necessary to reach higher echelons. And with a one of a kind musicality that fuses Mos Def, John Mayer, Logic, and Blu of Blu & Exile, there’s a diverse range of influences evident in these tracks that will draw in listeners from a wide range of audiences.
It’s easy to get trapped in the Santa Cruz music scene, and countless local artists have found the area’s ceiling. But few have put in the work that Amplified has or crafted a sound as complete, pop-friendly, and unique while remaining familiar. With the masterful Wax assisted “Waves” and independent hype anthem “Level Up,” Amplified offers his most polished and honest music to date that’s sure to resonate and reach further than he’s ever reached before.
Check out his website for links, music and news.