Every week we interview the hottest new acts on the local scene in our On the Radar section. This week, Tara Matthews chats to singer-songwriter AMBR, real name Megan Farnfield, about fulfilling her dreams, being part of the Brighton music scene and how Cat Stevens played an unlikely role in her musical upbringing.

How did you get into music?

My mum’s family is Welsh and music is a big deal there, you can’t escape it. My granddad used to sing in all the clubs and would often sing around the house, which I always loved when I went to visit him. My dad also has great music taste and used to sing me to sleep with Cat Stevens so music was always around me. It wasn’t until I went on holiday to Cyprus and chose to do karaoke that my mum thought I was actually quite good for an eight-year-old and when we came home I started lessons straight away.

How has being at Brighton music college BIMM helped you develop as an artist?

BIMM has given me a lot of opportunities this year and I found my band through different classes there. Getting constant feedback on my songs has been really helpful and has really helped me grow as an artist. I’ve also performed a lot at BIMM in my classes, which has helped my live performance skills. BIMM has been such a support for me and has really guided me this year.

Does the music scene in Brighton differ to that in your home county Surrey?

There’s a lot more going on musically in Brighton than in Reigate, where I’m from. In Reigate there’s a few open mic nights and one small festival but it’s nothing compared to Brighton. At my old school, we used to have an “unplugged” evening and that was my main chance to perform the music I wanted to. That’s one of the things I love about Brighton, there’s always a gig on or a gig opportunity.

How did your relationship with BBC Introducing, which brings together supporters of unsigned msuic, come about?

Getting on BBC Introducing has been a real dream of mine for years. I’ve seen loads of artists I love be discovered that way and so this year I decided I really was going to try my best to get on the show. I’ve now been track of the day quite a few times and done a live session. I couldn’t have been selected without the help of my manager.

What was it like doing a live session for them?

Honestly? So nerve racking. I was very nervous before, as it had been a goal I had wanted to achieve for so long. I just felt like a lot of things that I’ve done so far had led to that moment. Once I started and the adrenaline kicked in it was such an amazing feeling.

What sort of music do you play on your weekly radio show Ridge Radio?

We play a variety of different things. Some of my picks involve current and old BIMM bands like Fickle Friends, White Hart and The Yellow Bellies but I also play Amy Winehouse, Nirvana, Oasis and some chart numbers.

Where do you draw your influences?

Halsey, Amy Winehouse, The 1975, Melanie Martinez and Marina and The Diamonds are my biggest influences on my music.

What’s the best part about being a musician?

Nothing beats a crowd singing your songs back to you. It’s happened at a few gigs now and honestly, it’s such an amazing feeling. I just want to be able to create music people want to listen and sing to.

What’s next for AMBR?

I have a couple more single releases planned. I plan to keep writing and performing. One of my songs, Sleeping In Your Bed, is going to be released on all streaming platforms very soon with Louis Maierhofer doing some amazing artwork for the track. I have a studio date booked at Surrey Studios next month so they’ll be a lot more content coming soon. I’m excited for the future to say the least.

For more information visit: facebook.com/AMBRMUSIC1