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Coast Hills

Lending specialist turned singing sensation

by Joshua D. Scroggin
August 31, 2016
Amber Anderson
CoastHills lending specialist Amber Anderson performs at Santa Barbara County Local Fest 2015. Our talented singer-songwriter will be back at the same venue again this year. Look for her set at Adam Park on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Amber Anderson was pouring her soul out into her iPhone, strumming her guitar and reciting lyrics to a song nobody knew but her.

Only, when she played that recording back, the most advanced piece of personal tech to date just wasn’t enough to do her beautiful voice justice.

If Amber wanted her song to mean something more, she needed an honest-to-goodness recording experience.

That was a year ago. In the time since, Amber, a lending specialist at CoastHills Credit Union, has taken that desire to record a couple of self-written songs and turned it into a burgeoning hobby performing live music all over the Lompoc area.

You can see her next at Santa Barbara County Local Fest. It’s a two-day community event in Lompoc featuring local live musicians, camping, kids activities, yoga, beer, wine and food. Slated for Sept 4-5 at Adam Park, Local Fest is a fundraiser for the Village Farmer’s Market Association, which educates children on the importance of growing and eating organically farmed food.

Amber will perform Saturday from 1-1:30 p.m.

In addition to one of our most talented performers, Local Fest also received a $300 donation from CoastHills’ Community Action Sponsorship program, which awards $25,000 a year to local community organizations throughout the credit union’s field of membership. If you know of a local nonprofit worthy of some support, please visit our Community Action Sponsorship page and apply.

For Amber, it all started with a single recording session.

“I went through some stuff, I wrote it down and I made a song out of it,” Amber said. “I recorded it on my phone, and voice memo isn’t the greatest when it comes to sound. I wanted to put it somewhere where it would sound better, just for me, so I would have it.

“I did not anticipate any of this. This was not a plan of mine.”

“This” is what happened after she first walked into the recording studio.

To get her recording done, she visited Certain Sparks Music, a music store, music school and recording studio in Lompoc. She had taken guitar lessons back in high school and had been performing with her church choir and worship groups pretty regularly since middle school.

She was always passionate about music, but Amber had never done anything quite like this before.

While she was recording, she caught the attention of Certain Sparks co-founder and music instructor Randall Sena and local recording artist Jacob Cole.

Now playing under the name King Cole, Jacob and his band have toured all over the country and even abroad as he’s made a professional career in the music industry.

After watching Amber perform her demo, both Randall and Jacob almost immediately began recommending her for gigs at clubs and wineries. Requests for her services began pouring in from all over.

“It was just that her voice was so unique,” Jacob said, “and I hadn’t heard a voice like that around the area.

“She can sing anybody’s song and make it sound like her own, and she has a beautiful way of interpreting the singer-songwriter genre.”

When she isn’t singing her own songs, Amber enjoys taking pop arrangements from the '80s and giving them her own acoustic twist. Some of her favorite acts to adapt are Peter Gabriel, U2, a-ha, Toto and Tears for Fears.

She says performing has allowed her to come out of her shell in a whole new way. She’s always considered herself shy, a person who’s comfortable in the background. But through music, she’s become more outgoing, met a lot of new friends and many she now considers to be some of her closest.

Amber is also opening herself to her audience through her lyrics, which can be very personal and give a different glimpse into her life.

“It’s fulfilling,” she said. “Music is purposeful. You’re sharing yourself with people. They get to know you in a way they wouldn’t normally get to otherwise. I wouldn’t just sit in front of you and read my diary, but let me sit here and sing you a song. It’s kind of easier to do something like that.”

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