A*M*E 1994–2011: Early life
At the age of eight, Kabba moved to the United Kingdom after her mother’s hair salon was burned to the ground and life in Sierra Leone became too dangerous. Growing up in the Catford area of southeast London, Kabba formed her own playground version of American group Destiny’s Child, named Independent Girls; before realising that—much like Beyoncé Knowles—she preferred the spotlight solely on her. From there she joined the Sedgehill School choir, taking lead on choral renditions of songs by Rihanna and Justin Timberlake, before being introduced to fellow teenage prodigy, MNEK. The pair bonded over a mutual love of 90s pop and started collaborating, quickly creating a handful of songs including “City Lights”. The track was enough to pique the interest ofTake That frontman Gary Barlow, who proceeded to sign her to his Future record label.
A*M*E’s first major success as a songwriter came when “Beautiful Stranger”—a track which she wrote with Cutfather—was recorded and released by K-pop band f(x); becoming a top 40 hit inKorea. Released in July 2012, the musician co-wrote her track “Find a Boy” alongside Emeli Sandé and producer Naughty Boy. Kabba also lent uncredited backing vocals to British singer Cheryl Cole‘s track “One Thousand”, which was featured on her third studio album A Million Lights (2012).
It was announced by The Guardian in September that A*M*E would release her first commercial single, “Play the Game Boy”, in November 2012. Produced by Electric, the track attained positive reviews, with Digital Spy listing the song as one of its ‘Top 10 tracks you need to hear’; commenting on “[It’s] Insanely addictive choruses and K-pop inspired melodies” and that “it feels fresher than anything else on this week’s chart.”
In January 2013 A*M*E was snapped up by Tops Henderson and signed to Sony Music’s Epic Records after Barlow closed Future Records to focus on his own career commitments. Her single Need U (100%), a collaboration with Duke Dumont and MNEK, topped the UK singles Chart at #1 on 7 April 2013 and also gets nominated for a Grammy.
Need U 100 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnJIb4A-DuY&feature=kp