You can find just about anything in Wynwood: a cheap happy hour, delicious tacos, homeless people begging for change, and even a recording studio. Though there's no sign flashing “Recording Studio Here,” if you came upon A2F Studios, you'd know it. Tucked away on NW Miami Court, the studio is home to some of the biggest names in music, including Diddy, Swizz Beats, and CNCO. But it's also a frequent hangout of local R&B singer Aymber Plizak, who can be found inside perfecting her art almost any day.
It's late March 2019, and Aymber has traveled from Coral Springs to work in the studio. Sitting on one end of a Florida-orange couch with her legs over the armrest, she hums a melody that's been stuck in her head for weeks. Barefaced and comfortable in an oversize black T-shirt and black spandex biker shorts, she's ready to get down to business.
On her phone she keeps hundreds of random voice notes and lyrics hidden from the world until she’s set to record and release. “My favorite part of music is telling stories,” Aymber says with a faint smile. “I listen to music mainly for storytelling, and many of my songs are stories that happen in my life, someone else’s life, or I just make it up,” she laughs.
Aymber has been into music since 2012. After getting laid off from a job she had just started, she used her last paycheck to try something new. She wanted to learn to play the guitar. Teaching herself the instrument allowed her to learn at her own pace and find an intimacy in music that someone forced into the industry might not discover. “I would go on UltimateGuitar.com and look up songs to play," she says. "I’d practice and learn by memory to play popular songs and got my start there.”
Though she doesn't have her guitar by her side at the studio today, she has come prepared with concepts ready to record. “I want you to hear this song I wrote,” she says as she flips her shiny black locks out of her face. “I wrote it in like 30 minutes.” She plugs her phone in, and soft guitar strumming oozes from the speakers. Her voice, gentle and dreamy, tells of when life was simple and she and her love skipped school to just chill.
As the song plays, Aymber closes her eyes, bobs her head, and smiles as if proud of her work. Her soothing voice bounces off the walls of the studio, creating a warm and fuzzy aura as she tells her story through lyricism and a simple beat. Songwriting and delivery are essential to Aymber’s career. Though she's a vocalist, songwriting is a huge part of her musical journey. “I usually write with my notebook or on my phone,” she says. “My songwriting process differs every time, but it always ends up in the same result. I write down what I want to say initially; then I go back and fill in verses and choruses.”
Although she spends ample time in the studio, Aymber hadn’t put out her own music in over three years, until recently. Her 2016 EP, Easy, gave listeners a four-song dose of easy listening and relatable lyrics, but it was tough for fans to hold on to such little content for years. “Of course I wanted to release new music, but I wasn’t in a rush. My goal is to make music that is timeless, not trendy. I’m cool with not trying to compete with what’s hype and waiting for the best time to release.” Because we consume music at such a fast rate these days, it's easy to let good songs pass by too quickly just to make room for the next hot thing. “Every song has its own lifetime and journey. Music shouldn’t be something you have to put out for clout,” Aymber says.
Another reason her fans have been waiting three years for new music is that she spends a lot of time perfecting her craft. She calls in her producer, Peruvian King, who walks in carefully holding a laptop in two hands as if it contains the most precious musical components for which the world isn’t ready. “I want to play you something I worked on earlier today. The beat was called 'Sunshine,' but I think we’re calling it 'Feels' now,” she smiles. “PK, play it...” The single hums through the speakers, creating that same warm and fuzzy feeling of the last track. (The magnetic bass line would soon make the future release a hit.)
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While the song plays, Aymber harmonizes with her recorded voice. But the track isn't finished yet, she says. “I’m involved in every part of the song-making process. Being hands-on in production and songwriting allows me to give it my all. I actually do give versions of each song. Every time I come back to them, they just get better and better.” Because she's a perfectionist, if it’s not done right, it's not done at all. “I get anxious to release sometimes, but I know the wait is worth it.”
Well, the wait is over: Aymber recently released that gentle, dreamy single, “Chill,” which garnered more than 40,000 plays on Spotify in just three weeks. It's safe to say her fan base stuck around. Compared to her older releases, which haven't racked up nearly as many plays, "Chill" is proof that artist development and a bit of patience pay off in the long run. “Vocally, I don’t think my new songs sound any different than before," she says. "But I think the people who liked my songs in 2016 have grown just as much as me. I know they will love all of my new songs.”
Her new music and artist development can be credited to the people at A2F Studios. “If it weren’t for my team, I’d still be doing open mikes and recording for sure. It would have just been treated as a business and not a creative outlet,” she says. “I actually gave up on music for a while and just focused on my full-time job as a graphic designer, but I knew that wasn’t my path.”
Aymber's path remains music. Though she doesn’t know what the rest of 2019 holds for her, she plans to become more visible and produce the timeless music that listeners will continue to sing ten years from now.