The Union Network for Innovative & Quality University Entertainment (UNIQUE) hosted the first “noon” concert of the semester on Wednesday, February 9, featuring local Sacramento band Erica Ambrin and the Eclectic Soul Project.
Erica Ambrin, the band’s lead vocalist, said the band’s sound changes often, as it has no permanent members.
“What the Eclectic Soul project is is a collective of musicians from all over, who I know and play with,” Ambrin said. Sometimes I have three horns, sometimes we are only two.
Wednesday’s artist collective consisted of Ambrin on vocals and acoustic guitar, Jay Myers on drums, Jayson Angove on electric guitar and Josh Krage on bass.
“It’s my main core group that I work with,” Ambrin said. “It kind of grew out of the need to always be able to have musicians and to create a collective where we just have a safe space to play and have fun.”
Ambrin grew up in Los Angeles, and her love for music began at a young age through her church and has evolved into her music career today. The California native also lived in Sacramento for ten years before moving to Sonoma during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked about musical inspiration, Ambrin said that life influences her music.
“Relationships, friendships, trials and tribulations, just everything,” Ambrin said. “I find inspiration in nature, everything. Life in general.”
The Eclectic Soul Project set for this show included Erica Ambrin’s original songs “Clarity” and “Paper Crown”, as well as covers of songs by artists like Erykah Badu.
Ambrin said she is working on two upcoming projects, one including the Eclectic Soul project, as well as a hip-hop single.
UNIQUE Program Advisor Ajamu Lamumba said he was looking forward to enjoying and hosting more live performances afterwards.
“Last year, we were doing all of our performances via Zoom,” Lamumba said when switching from online to in-person gigs. “It’s just difficult.”
UNIQUE offers artists and entertainment twice a week, on Wednesday lunchtimes in so-called “lunchtime” shows and Thursday evenings. Sac State political science major and UNIQUE volunteer Leila Cormier said she appreciated being able to spotlight a black artist with one of their events.
“I absolutely loved the music, especially for Black History Month,” Cormier said. “I thought it was important for black artists to come to campus.”
Elias Reed, a film production specialist, said he regularly attends UNIQUE concerts, mostly to catch concerts by alternative and pop artists.
“Almost everything was phenomenal and I’m glad I got to check it out,” Reed said.
Ambrin took time throughout the show to express her gratitude to her fans and everyone who came to see her perform.
“You can always rely on the music, you know, just to hang out in that space,” Ambrin said. “I think if someone takes the time to sit down and listen to your story, and watch you have fun, that’s special. So I appreciate that.