On Tour with Tubby Love and Amber Lily
Headlining artists at leading alternative festivals across the globe, musicians Tubby Love and Amber Lily are an electrifying combination of love. With Tubby’s latest album Waves met to resoundingly wide acclaim, their roots reggae rhythms and soulful voices are captivating, contagious and impossible to get out of your head. Conversations with the tight-knit pair is a dynamic zigzag as they finish eachothers’ sentences. In between touring, we talk to the pair about what sits at the heart of their music.
How did you guys first get into creating music?
Tubby: I wrote my first song for a girl I liked, and I was insecure because I was the chubby kid in the class. But it went well and she totally became my girlfriend. I was given the name Tubby Love in high school. I then went to music school which lead me to Hawaii, where I made my first record. There I met Nahko and Medicine for the People, who took me on a musical and spiritual journey.
Amber: My family could never find me when i was little as I was always out singing in a secluded corner. My dad played the guitar and I used to sing with him for my family every night. I was very little when I made my first song, and I still remember the magical feeling it gave me. When I became a teenager, I got shy about singing for people, so I stopped and it wasn’t until after college that I started a band in Kauai with my brother. Singing and making songs made me feel free like a child again. Singing for the first time with Tubby was like making love. It felt like our depths were reuniting with the purest vibrations.
Where did you guys meet?
Tubby: I was good friends with Amber’s brother before I met her. He had been talking about her a lot and said I had to meet her one day. The first time we met was at the hospital, after
Amber’s brother had fallen out of a tree and broken his neck. We were both in different relationships at that time, but we connected really well. I came late at night to hang out with her and we shared our deepest and darkest secrets.
What has been your path to spirituality?
Tubby: It’s our lifestyle. It’s the quest for balance and righteousness. At any moment, we ask ourselves: how true are we living? How much plastic do we use?
Amber: The food we eat comes from our land that my parents invested in. Our home is shared; it’s a community. We learn how to avoid conflict by always talking our truth. Tubby teaches me how to love and be compassionate. I bring the critical mind and ask, how we can change the issues we face and improve the community? Tubby takes action and he’s not afraid of going into conflicts.
Tubby: My mantra is always “yes and”, not “yes but”. Surfing is another spiritual practice of mine, tapping into the wisdom of the powerful ocean. Music is our connection to spirit.
How do you find your spiritual path relates to your creativity? Both in a big picture way, and in the everyday?
Amber: Music is my access point to my creative force. It’s the healing place, letting the energy flow through my body. It is direct connection to Spirit.
Tubby: Sound vibration is true creation. I find that music is an even more powerful source to manifestation. I wrote the song called Simple City and I’m actually living it now: eating from the garden and living in a supportive community. By speaking those mantras I create the world that I want to live in.
What is it like creating as a couple? What is your process?
Tubby: We bring a beautiful balance. Amber is dedicated to understanding how we can change the world and bring important messages out to the people. I bring rhythm and music to the messages.
Amber: We pull an idea out of our hearts. Sometimes we read something in the news that inspires us. Sometimes we work word by word with each other. Tubby is really good at manifesting, and he has so many ideas. I come up with solutions to those ideas.
What is the most transformative lesson or experience you have had?
Tubby: I think we’re having it right now, by being together. Being around the ocean and working on the land; being connected to the earth. Growing in this relationship which is constantly teaching us about love and compassion.
What is the most important message you want to spread in this world?
Amber: The message of our journey. That we are made of the elements. The remembrance of our true nature. Living close to the earth and sharing our wisdom and love with each other.
Tubby: Compassion. There’s beauty in diversity, in the multitude of ways of being, thinking and appearance. Finding harmony and coexist, that’s the fundamental objective. Work together to create a beautiful world. Finding out how to become more in alignment.
What do you want to achieve through your music?
Amber: To inspire strong communities with strong moral values. We want to spread the message of hope to those that feel lost, spread a feeling of connection and inspire and uplift people through the knowledge that there is love and support for everyone.
Would you describe yourselves as being in a conscious relationship?
If so, what tools have helped you with developing this?
Amber: Choosing each other more every day. Working to give each other the choice. Exploring our needs in a relationship. We allow ourselves to love and share emotional intimacy with other people, but with clear agreements. Communication is important, and not jumping to conclusions!
Tubby: Honesty is a key factor. We had a beautiful foundation to build upon, since we became friends who shared our values and deepest shame stories before committing to a partnership.
What are your favorite events in the world to perform at and why?
Amber: Project Earth has been amazing. Community gatherings in Minnesota and Hawaii, which always feel like a family reunion. Our dream is to perform at events with massive amounts of people coming together to change the world for the better, where everyone is working together by planting trees and doing their little bit to heal our land. We’d love to plant gardens while touring with inspirational artists that share the same vision.
Where do you go to totally switch off?
The ocean to surf or swim, yoga class, or the garden.
What is the purpose behind your Roots Recording retreats?
Tubby: We bring independent communities together through creating music. Our retreats combine skill-sharing with helping and teaching upcoming artists how to create and record their own music, and also connecting them with producers. The retreats fund community gathering spaces and act as our way of shaping a new paradigm that makes music more available in a conscious way.