Amel Larrieux

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Amel Larrieux
Larrieux in San Diego on October 30, 2008
Background information
Birth name Amel Eliza Stowell
Born (1973-03-08) March 8, 1973 (age 42)
New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
Years active 1991–present
Associated acts Groove Theory

Amel Larrieux (née Eliza Stowell; born March 8, 1973) is an American singer-songwriter and keyboardist. Larrieux rose to fame in the mid-1990s as a founding member of the duo Groove Theory along with Bryce Wilson. After leaving the group in 1999, she released her debut solo album, Infinite Possibilities, the following year on Epic Records.

In late 2003, Larrieux and her husband, producer Laru Larrieux, founded the independent label Blisslife Records, on which she has released four albums so far. Larrieux cites Ella Fitzgerald, Prince, Sade, Rickie Lee Jones, Stevie Wonder, Shawn Colvin, Chaka Khan, John Lennon, Patrice Rushen, Jimi Hendrix, and Joni Mitchell as her musical influences.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Larrieux was born Amel Eliza Stowell on March 8, 1973 in New York City.[2][3] She was raised an only child in the Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village. Her African-American mother, Brenda Dixon Gottschild, is a dance critic, author, and college instructor. Her father is of French, English, and Scottish descent. Larrieux was raised in a very artistic environment and was surrounded by talented and inspirational artists. Larrieux attended Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. She attended the senior prom with Questlove. Many of her influences are drawn from rhythm and blues, soul, jazz, folk, hip hop, and gospel with flashes of Middle Eastern, West African, and Indian ethnic styles. She has often been documented for describing her music as "Amel's music". Larrieux currently resides in New York City with her husband, Laru, and their two daughters, Sanji Rei and Sky. Her forename Amel means "hope" in Arabic.

Groove Theory[edit]

In 1991, Larrieux met Mantronix member Bryce Wilson at Rondor Music. Wilson, who wanted to begin his solo career as producer and musician, was looking for a vocalist to work with. Wilson and Larrieux began to produce demos together and subsequently formed the duo Groove Theory. Their debut release, Groove Theory, spawned several radio hits such as "Tell Me", "Keep Tryin'", and "Baby Luv". The duo were also featured in successful motion picture soundtracks such as 1996's Sunset Park and 1997's Love Jones. Larrieux, pursuing a solo career, would not be involved in the duo's eventually-shelved second album The Answer. Makeda Davis would step in as lead singer in 1999 until Groove Theory officially disbanded in 2001. Larrieux said of leaving the group, "You have to make a bunch of compromises and .. you know, I just couldn't go on forever. We wanted different things and a combination of that and the label wanting different things from us just made me decide that it was time to move on."

Solo career[edit]

In 1996, Larrieux guested on the self-titled debut album of Sade's backing band Sweetback, yielding the single "You Will Rise", which reached number 42 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Larrieux co-wrote and co-produced her debut solo album Infinite Possibilities, released in February 2000 on Epic Records, along with husband Laru Larrieux; the album reached number 79 on the Billboard 200 and number 21 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and produced the hit "Get Up", her highest-charting solo hit to date.

Larrieux parted ways with Epic Records after this CD. "I was asked to tone it down as a solo artist, which is one of the reasons why I was really glad to leave the major label where I was signed", she said.[4] Husband Laru Larrieux, who had been co-writing and producing most of Amel's material, started the independent label BlissLife Records with her to distribute her music.

In 2001, Larrieux covered "Sophisticated Lady" with artist Clark Terry for the Red Hot Organization's compilation album Red Hot + Indigo, a tribute to Duke Ellington, which raised money for various charities devoted to increasing AIDS awareness and fighting the disease.

On November 10, 2010, Larrieux spoke about going independent, saying, "This is the right time [to be independent]. People are more hip to the internet. People are more open to what independent means." She went on to say that black independent artists are too under the radar.[5]

Her second album Bravebird was released under Larrieux's independent label Blisslife Records label on January 20, 2004. While it underperformed on the Billboard 200, it peaked at number 28 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and number five on Independent Albums. It spawned the midtempo radio single "For Real", which showcases her ability to utilize the whistle register and inspired Ebony magazine to rave about her "ethereal high-octave vocals that bring to mind Minnie Riperton.[6] A portion of the album's seventh track, "Giving Something Up", could be heard in the commercial for BET's HIV/AIDS awareness campaign Rap-It-Up, in which Larrieux participated in September 2003.[7]

Larrieux's collaboration with Stanley Clarke and Glenn Lewis, a cover of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway's 1972 song "Where Is the Love" from Clarke's 2003 album 1, 2, To the Bass, received a nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 2004 Grammy Awards.

Larrieux's third album Morning was released in April 2006 and features the single "Weary", which reached number 29 on the Billboard Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart in May 2006.[8] Morning is her highest-charting album to date, peaking at number 74. The song "No One Else", written for Mike Shaunessy, was featured on the soundtrack to Tyler Perry's 2007 film Why Did I Get Married?.

In May 2007, Larrieux released an album of jazz standard covers titled Lovely Standards. It broke into the top five of the Top Jazz Albums and sold 3,700 units in its first week of release.

Larrieux was featured on 2Pac's 2007 greatest hits album Best of 2Pac Part 1: Thug, on the previously unreleased song "Resist the Temptation".

On February 4, 2010, announced that Larrieux is currently in the studio with Bryce Wilson working on Groove Theory's second official album.[9] The duo had their first live show together in years on October 7, 2010 in Tokyo, Japan.[10] Larrieux said of the show, "Tokyo was too fly, as usual. The audiences just got better and better." Larrieux said in a November 2010 interview that she and Wilson are currently looking for a label they feel comfortable with.[5] As of August 2011 Larrieux stated Groove Theory have not recorded any new material.[11]

In March 2009, Larrieux released the songs "Orange Glow" and "Don't Let Me Down" from her fifth studio album, Ice Cream Every Day, to iTunes and other online music stores.[12][13][14] Larrieux also contributed "Don't Let Me Down" to the Enough Project. Proceeds from the compilation fund efforts to make the protection and empowerment of Congo's women a priority, as well as inspire individuals around the world to raise their voice for peace in Congo.[15] Larrieux said on Oct 19, 2010 that she was "dutifully" trying new things for her fifth studio album.[16] In August 2011, Larrieux confirmed through Power Player Magazine the release date for her new album to be late January 2012. When asked about the five-year delay on her fifth album, Larrieux said she wanted to add and delete more songs to perfect the final product. "I stay on the road a lot", she said. "My experiences inform me as a writer, so then I come back and I have more songs to write, and I keep adding and subtracting, so the editing process made this album take a little bit longer than I expected."[17]

Larrieux's song "Don't Let Me Down" was used in the 2014 film Beyond the Lights.


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Indie
US Jazz
Infinite Possibilities 79 21
  • Released: January 20, 2004
  • Label: Blisslife
  • Formats: CD, digital download
166 28 5
  • Released: April 25, 2006
  • Label: Blisslife
  • Formats: CD, digital download
74 8 5
Lovely Standards
  • Released: May 22, 2007
  • Label: Blisslife
  • Formats: CD, digital download
195 32 22 3
Ice Cream Everyday
  • Released: October 22, 2013
  • Label: Blisslife
  • Formats: CD, digital download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"You Will Rise"
(Sweetback featuring Amel Larrieux)
1996 [A] 42 Sweetback
"Get Up" 1999 97 37 Infinite Possibilities
"Sweet Misery" 2000 81
"I N I"
"Make Me Whole"
"Now You Know Better"
(Mondo Grosso featuring Amel Larrieux)
"For Real" 2004 45 Bravebird
"Weary"[25] 2006 [B] Morning
"If I Were a Bell"[27] 2007 Lovely Standards
"Orange Glow"[28] 2009 Ice Cream Every Day
"Don't Let Me Down"[29] Raise Hope for Congo
"Afraid"[30] 2013 Ice Cream Every Day
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Promotional singles[edit]

Title Year Album
"Glitches (The Skin You're In)"[31]
(with The Roots)
2001 Red Star Sounds Volume One: Soul Searching

Guest appearances[edit]

Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Time After Time" 1997 Towa Tei, Viv Sound Museum
"Guidance" 2000 Guru Guru's Jazzmatazz: Streetsoul
"Glitches" 2001 The Roots Down to Earth: Music from the Motion Picture
"Sophisticated Lady" Clark Terry Red Hot + Indigo
"Believe in Love" N/A Epic Records: A Season of Soul and Sounds[32]
"I Don't Know" 2002 Soulive Next
"What's Come Over Me?" Glenn Lewis Barbershop: Music from the Motion Picture
"Where Is the Love" 2003 Stanley Clarke, Glenn Lewis 1, 2, To the Bass[33]
"No One Else" 2007 N/A Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
"Resist the Temptation" 2Pac Best of 2Pac Part 1: Thug

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director(s)
"You Will Rise"
(Sweetback featuring Amel Larrieux)
1996 Polish Brothers
"Get Up" 1999 Floria Sigismondi[34]
"Sweet Misery" 2000 Earle Sebastian[35]
"Glitches (The Skin You're In)"
(with The Roots)
2001 Nzingha Stewart[34]
"For Real" 2004 Sanaa Hamri[36]
"Weary" 2006 Jon Menefee and 8 Hertz[37]


  1. ^ "You Will Rise" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 12 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.[24]
  2. ^ "Weary" did not enter the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but peaked at number 13 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart.[26]


  1. ^ "Brave Bird Amel Larrieux Soars with Another Eclectic Set". Barnes & Noble. January 30, 2004. Retrieved December 6, 2006. 
  2. ^ "Songwriter/Composer: Stowell Amel Eliza". BMI. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Amel Larrieux | Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Amel Larrieux Interview (2009)". Nu-Soul Magazine. April 21, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Nov 10, 2010 (2010-11-10). "Amel Larrieux: "Independent Artists Of Color Are Too Under The Radar" [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO] | Celebrity News & Style for Black Women". Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  6. ^ "Amel Larrieux's dynamic second recording, Bravebird, blends rhythm & blues, soul, hip-hop, jazz and folk music". Ebony. February 2004. Archived from the original on 2 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  7. ^ "Bliss Life News". Blisslife Records. September 25, 2003. Archived from the original on 17 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  8. ^ "Amel Larrieux – Chart history: Adult R&B Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Groove Theory featuring Amel Larrieux • • Jazz • Travel to Tokyo, Japan". Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  11. ^ "J9's MusicLife: MusicLife Interview w/ Amel Larrieux". 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  12. ^ "Blisslife News". June 2008. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Amel Larrieux Has Us Feeling The 'Glow'". March 3, 2009. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "". Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  16. ^ "Clearly not". Facebook. 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  17. ^ "Amel Larrieux at Long Beach Jazz Festival interview Power Player Magazine". YouTube. 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  18. ^ "Amel Larrieux – Chart history: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Amel Larrieux – Chart history: Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Amel Larrieux – Chart history: Independent Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Amel Larrieux – Chart history: Jazz Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Amel Larrieux – Chart history: The Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles". Billboard 109 (10): 73. March 8, 1997. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Orange Glow – Single by Amel Larrieux". iTunes Store (US). Apple. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Search results". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  27. ^ "If I Were A Bell – Single by Amel Larrieux". iTunes Store (US). Apple. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Orange Glow – Single by Amel Larrieux". iTunes Store (US). Apple. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Don't Let Me Down – Single by Amel Larrieux". iTunes Store (US). Apple. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Afraid – Single by Amel Larrieux". iTunes Store (US). Apple. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Glitches (The Skin You're In)" (US promotional CD single liner notes). Amel Larrieux and The Roots. Epic Records. 2001. ESK 24548. 
  32. ^ "Epic Records: A Season of Soul and Sounds – Various Artists". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  33. ^ Collar, Matt. "1, 2, To the Bass – Stanley Clarke". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  34. ^ a b "Amel Larrieux artist videography". Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Amel Larrieux – "Sweet Misery"". VH1. Viacom. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Amel Larrieux – "For Real"". VH1. Viacom. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Amel Larrieux – "Weary"". VH1. Viacom. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 

External links[edit]