British-born Marsha Ambrosius is a former member of the GRAMMY®-nominated hip hop/neo-soul duo, Floetry, and a songwriter who has penned hits for Michael Jackson, Kelis, Alicia Keys and Philly’s own Jazmine Sullivan. As a member of Floetry, Ambrosius, known as “The Songstress” for her strong, smooth singing voice, helped the group sell over 800,000 records world wide. Formed in London in 1997, Floetry moved to United States in 2000, where they struck music gold, hooking up with manager Julius Erving III and becoming regulars at Philly’s legendary Black Lily weekly jam session.
In 2007, Ambrosius left to begin her solo career. Since departing, she has appeared on songs by Common, Nas, Jamie Foxx, Macy Gray and more. She is currently at The Studio in Philly, recording on her debut solo album, which is scheduled for release in early 2011.
Here, Marsha shares her Philly story:
Why do you live/work in Philly?
More so than any city I’ve ever been or traveled to, Philadelphia feels like a home to me… it’s somewhere you can sit down and drink your hot apple cider and feel at home. I love New York, but I come back to Philly and I can let my hair down.
It’s not as uptight as other places. It’s the home-cooked food, it’s the family, it’s the friends, it’s everyone knowing each other. It’s Cheers, where everyone knows you’re name, that’s Philadelphia.
Where do you take out-of-town friends?
South Street is always one of those places because the shops are amazing and the atmosphere is amazing. The Art Museum steps, you have to run up them and pretend you’re Rocky, so we all go out and buy grey hoodies and do that, of course. The Franklin Institute is a wonderful museum with the IMAX Theater. It’s just fun—Philadelphia is a fun town.
Where do you go to get away from it all?
I’m in Larry Gold’s Studio most of the time because that’s my escape. It was the first studio I walked into in Philadelphia and over a ten-year period, the likes of everyone from Jill Scott to Musiq Soulchild to Bilal have come in. Erykah Badu, Justin Timberlake and everyone has been to that studio. The whole Philadelphia International sound, Larry Gold arranging all those wonderful string arrangements on those old records and when you’re over there, you get a sense of that wonderful history.
I think that’s why many people outside of Philadelphia try to get that vibe—it’s undeniable. It’s something you can’t question. It’s just one of those places where I feel like it’s my second bedroom; as Latest Dish is my kitchen, Larry Gold’s is my bedroom.