Amel Larrieux’s new R&B album a sweet, self-released effort 

click to enlarge Amel Larrieux
  • courtesy photo
  • Amel Larrieux released “Ice Cream Everyday” on Blisslife Records, which she runs with her husband.
As a mother of two who recently celebrated her 20th wedding anniversary, R&B singer and Groove Theory founder Amel Larrieux knows her fifth album’s title, “Ice Cream Everyday,” sounds unhealthy. Yet it’s only a metaphor she blurted out in a moment of frustration. Her Haitian-born producer-husband Laru Larrieux — with whom she runs the indie imprint Blisslife Records — seized on the thematic concept. It worked, she says, because she has discovered daily rituals, like yoga, meditation and a whole new confection-free diet.

How did the idea to form Blisslife occur? Really, I can take no credit for anything entrepreneurial that happened — it’s my husband. I like to write, I like to sing and I can be a fairly decent parent. But I couldn’t come up with ideas about running my own record label — he had the idea. But we both had the same independent spirit of not wanting to be beholden to mainstream music, or confined to a major label where it was like, “If you don’t want to do this, then we’re not going to put your album out.” And my husband has never steered me wrong.

You were on Epic for your first solo album, “Infinite Possibilities,” in 2000. How bad was the situation? I don’t want to drag anyone through the dirt. But I will say that the stuff that wasn’t right for me was just purely unfair. I came there as a songwriter who performed my own songs, only to be told, “Look, we’re not going to support what you do unless you sing a song written and produced by someone else.” And people would say that they spent money on you when they hadn’t, and write it off on you. And you’d be like “Wait a minute! I’ve never seen a mug with my face on it! What are you talking about, mugs?”

Did you search their storerooms for those nonexistent promotional mugs? Well, what you realize is, it’s time and money that you don’t have. So you don’t really want to go up against a machine that has plenty of money and time. But that was certainly ammunition for me when I was finally able to get out of my deal. So now I’ve got overhead, I’ve got to do all the jobs that labels say they do. But none of that is as difficult as feeling like you’re a prisoner to some conglomerate of faceless people. My husband and I believe in being honest, fair and authentic. And there’s no blood on my hands — I can go to sleep at night, feeling OK.


Amel Larrieux

Where: Yoshi’s, 1330 Fillmore St., S.F.

When: 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9 p.m, Sunday

Tickets: $30 to $40

Contact: (415) 655-5600,

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Tom Lanham

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