Amena Brown: Everybody welcome back to another episode of Her with Amena Brown, and I'm Amena brown. I'm your host here, and I'm so excited. First of all, I'm excited because today's interview is an in person interview and this doesn't happen all the time. Sometimes I'm interviewing people, we're just in different places but today's guest is here in the studio with me. Recording artist, vocalist, musical consultant, professional voice coach for artists such as to Janelle Monae, India.Arie, Anthony David, Avery Sunshine, Gramps Morgan, and more, founder of Fruition Organized Music. Let's welcome Ametria Dock to the podcast.

Ametria Dock: Hello, hello. Hello. I'm so glad to be here with you. It’s a blessing.

Amena Brown: I know people that are listening are so tired of me clapping, but there's going to be actual applause there. I just feel like you should feel the applause.

Ametria Dock: I feel it. I feel it.

Amena Brown: This has been a few months coming, this interview. I have been begging y'all. I have been begging Ametria to come on the podcast, I've been begging her to the point that I just emailed her and I was like, "I will crouch in the corner of a tour bus." I was like "I will come in the 10 minutes between clients, whatever I can do to get this story." Just because I really believe that you have such a wealth to offer the community of listeners here. So I'm so glad.

Ametria Dock: You know what? She didn't have to beg me. I love her, and I was honored to do this.

Amena Brown: We've been knowing of each other, or about each other for years-

Ametria Dock: For years.

Amena Brown: ... I feel like. We were running in some of the same circles. I don't know if you knew, I was a music journalist for a little while in Atlanta before my poetry career. I was about to say took off, I'm like, "Did it?"

Ametria Dock: It did. I mean, you are.

Amena Brown: Took off?

Ametria Dock: You're there.

Amena Brown: So I partly knew you from shows, from covering different shows, and being in some green rooms, and different things. But we never had an opportunity to talk, talk until the last couple of years. I'm really excited about that.

Ametria Dock: I knew Amena, like I knew your work, I knew your voice because it was so ... Every time I know my best friend and I we were at an event and you were speaking, and we looked at each other and we were like, "Man, she is so powerful." Everybody was just like ... we had to take a second listening to your words and how you ... I think it was maybe a Black History Month celebration, maybe of women and the way you described women, and the words that you said I was like, "What in the ... who is she? Who is she? How are you doing what you do?" And it was amazing to watch that. It was inspiring, that's what I'll say. It was inspiring to hear, you to see you, and to have all that black girl magic up there.

Amena Brown: We did, we had black girl magic. I have felt the same because I saw you for a while before I heard you sing, and I saw you sing in a soundtrack situation and your vocal sounded so good that it upset me. I don't know how else to describe it, but I was like, "I'm very angry about this at this time." And I have also heard you saying some background vocals, right? In different people's shows there comes a time where it's like, "Here's the time where the background vocalist sing on their own." And I've been in a situation where I saw that and I was like, "Huh. What?" Because some people that sing background, you're like, "We see that. That is where you ought to be. Thank you for using your gifts-

Ametria Dock: Absolutely.

Amena Brown: ... in the station that is best for the voice that you have, we appreciate that." But some background vocalist, you start to hear their singing and you're like, "Wait a minute, wait, I wasn't prepared." So I appreciate that. I have a lot of opportunities to hear that voice, and it does wonders for my soul as well. I want to jump in to hearing a bit more of your story. I am a person who grew up in at least ... Well, I guess I could say in both sides of my family, but in particular on my dad's side of the family, a lot of musicians, and singers, and things. And so it's always interesting to me to hear people that have musical talent, like where that is coming from. If you remember that being a thing in your family.

Amena Brown: I don't know that I have musical talent, but I became an artist I think in part, because I grew up in a space where I was watching my dad play piano by ear, and him and my stepmother directing the choir together, and some of those things. Was that in your family, your love for music? Talk about how singing became a thing that you love to do?

Ametria Dock: How you just described it, is exactly what my family was like. My father was a pastor, he started out playing piano organ in the church that we grew up in. I'm from Racine, Wisconsin. Our church was like a family church, and my dad had 10 brothers and sisters.

Amena Brown: Wow.

Ametria Dock: All of my dad's brothers and sisters were musical. Some played keys, some played drums, some directed the choir. Everybody was in the choir. Funny, my grandmother was not much of a singer. But she would sing from time to time, so I don't really know where they got it from. But most of my aunts and uncles, my mom and my dad, both were singers. That was the start of my brother and I learning a lot of gospel songs, like our church, we were very involved in it from ... I can remember learning my first song, my dad and my mom both coaching me through that as a little girl five years old.

Amena Brown: Wow.

Ametria Dock: And I'm learning Jesus, You're The Center of My Joy.

Amena Brown: Come on Richard Smallwood!

Ametria Dock: I mean from the ad-libs, to giving me freedom to, find my way through the song. That was my start, and my platform was obviously in church singing in the children's choir. That was that was my start.

Amena Brown: Wow. When you were talking about your grandmother, my dad's mom was not a singer that I remember either but she always wanted all of us to sing whenever we got together. Cousins, aunts and uncles, everybody. So in a way it was like even though it wasn't her thing or her gift, she was the person corralling all of us to have that experience. Then as you know, grown up a music family then decide, "Okay, who's going to be the tenor?" And my aunts are like, "I got tenor." Or, "Who's alto? And soprano.?" Working all the parts out even as a family, right? That was your experience too.

Ametria Dock: All day. Every Sunday even when we would get ... after church was over, we would all go over to my grandparents house, and it would turn into a concert. All of my cousins ... and it's like, 30, 40 of us. In each family there are the singers, or the musicians and so we would all get together and it just turned into a concert. At every grandparents house there is a piano [crosstalk 00:08:11] and the drummer, they'd figure out how to make buckets and turn into drums. It was just good times, that was really my start and it was consistent. That was helpful for me to go on this musical journey for myself, and know that consistency is important to be able to be successful in this business. I saw that every week, it was something that we were doing.

Amena Brown: From your family upbringing, from your church roots you go into a solo career as an artist. Was that something even as a kid that you saw for yourself? Or was it just these doors were opening, and now you're like, "I'm here."? How did the solo career come out of your family and church roots?

Ametria Dock: I'm going to be completely honest, I was never the little girl that had the dream of becoming an artist. I wasn't that. I think that I was very passionate about music, and I wanted to do it in whatever way. I didn't have a specific plan like, "I want to do it like this." I just knew that I wanted to do music. I loved creating music, I loved writing music, I loved colabbing as a kid. Then in high school, I started the gospel choir at my school. I was very involved in advanced chorus, and all these different things. So being in school, I was always spearheading musical things in my school. I remember being in course in our advanced choir, and we would have the practice rooms. A lot of the lower classroom would come in and say, "Can we go in the room?" And, "Teach us these parts in the song." And, "Let's create something." So I was always putting things together, and teaching people and I loved that. That aspect of music, I wanted to do that too.

Ametria Dock: I love doing solos, I did it all the time as a kid singing in church. I was leading songs. The opportunity came for me when a friend from church actually knew of a producer who was looking for an artist, and she said, "Well ..." at the time, I was 15 getting ready to turn 16. And I was like, "Well, what does that mean be his artist? What would I do?" She was like, "You do an album." And I was like, "Oh, okay." So it wasn't like, I was prepping. I was not the girl doing talent shows, and star searching. I was just doing it in whatever way 'cause I loved to do it, so when that opportunity came I talked to my parents and my parents were like, "Okay, do you want to go?" And I was like, "Yeah. Okay, what do I have to do? What does that mean?" So, go into the studio for the first time and-

Amena Brown: Whoa.

Ametria Dock: ... I was 16 by then. We set up the meeting to meet him. And this part of the story it's almost like you put your foot on the gas in and everything just went, and my life completely changed. It was around Christmas time, and we were on Christmas break and he ... my friend took me to the studio. When I got there, I met the guy at the time. His name was Joe, and Joe was looking for an artist to produce and he asked me, "Do you write songs?" And I never written a full song by myself, but I had done some collaborations with other people in school. So he said, "Okay, okay, well don't say that you've never written a song." And I said, "Well, what's getting ready to happen?" And he said, "Well, you're getting ready to meet an executive."

Amena Brown: What?

Ametria Dock: And I'm like, "Okay." So at the time this executive was managing 112.

Amena Brown: Whoo, this story is-

Ametria Dock: Yeah, it's getting ... Hold on, hold on. He was managing 112 at the time. And so when 12 comes into the studio-

Amena Brown: What? So are you ... I mean, for this era of time for 112 to walk into the studio is like-

Ametria Dock: Blowing my mind.

Amena Brown: It's like astara is walking into the studio, right?

Ametria Dock: Oh, yeah. I'm completely blown away, I'm like, "Oh my goodness." I wasn't prepared for any of it. I'll just say this to start off with my story, everything up to this point in my life right now, everything is never planned. It's always I'm thrown into a situation, and I have to rise to the occasion. So in this situation starting out it was that, like, "Okay." I'm thinking, I'm going to just meet this guy who's looking for an artist and it turns into, "No, you're going to meet someone who has a big part in this industry, who's working with all kind of artists at the time in the 90s." That was the name, the list of artists that he collabbed and work with. It was insane. So I'm like, "Oh god. So what do I do about this? What am I supposed to do?" And he said, "Well, you're gonna meet him, and he's probably going to ask you to sing." What was happening was, I'm meeting this guy who had a connection with this guy who could possibly sign me to a label.

Amena Brown: Wow.

Ametria Dock: So he was looking for an artist to show this guy, "Hey, I've got an artist. A female artist, but let me let you hear what she sounds like." But he had never even heard ... Joe had never even heard me sing. So when the moment came for me to sing, Joe was hearing me for the first time. It was Joe, the executive, 112 standing in front of me.

Amena Brown: To reflect, you're going into this meeting not knowing that you are also going to be expected to sing there. For all you know, you're going into a conversation-

Ametria Dock: Exactly.

Amena Brown: ... to talk with someone about whatever they're looking for. So this done turn into some audition showcase type?

Ametria Dock: Completely. A showcase, that's what it turned into. I also didn't realize that he was looking for an R&B artist. I'm a kid who's grown up in the church, I don't know what type of music I want to make. So the song that I auditioned with is a gospel song because that's what I know. And so this is a R&B executive who's obviously has 112 on his roster, and a host of other artists. So one, I'm not prepared for the type of song or the type of genre of music that I should be prepared for. But all I have is what I know, and that's what I give. When I finished singing, he goes, "Do you have any songs that you've written?" And Joe interrupts and says, "Yeah, we have some songs." And I'm just standing and I'm like, "Okay, wow." Again, I'm 16 years old. So, at that point, after the meeting, he told him he said, "We'll send over what she's got." So when I said it was go time, it was go time.

Ametria Dock: Immediately after that meeting, we went into the studio ... Joe had a studio, and we went to record. He said, "You're going to write today." I went in. I mean, my adrenaline was going, I was excited because I'm passionate about this music. You put me in a situation where I have to rise to the occasion with something that I'm passionate about, and I go. And so I did, they brought another writer in that met us at the studio, and we started writing and I wrote a song called ... so funny, I Depend On You and I was talking about God. That was the first little ... I recorded it, I never put it on an album or anything like that. But that was the first demo song that I had ever recorded for myself. And it was ... we recorded it that night. We started then setting up times for us to get in the studio and record, and we recorded over 25 songs.

Amena Brown: Wow.

Ametria Dock: Yeah. That was the beginning of a process of me finding my voice at the time, of discovering what I liked musically, sounds that I liked. And really it was the influence of the producers that I was working with like, "I like that." Or, "I like that." But still didn't have a voice in it. As I progressed, even in doing my own album once I got signed, and all of that ... I'm just skipping over, I still didn't have my voice in that as well. The process of that at such a young age being in this industry, and not really having an outlet but just having people saying, "You're going to do this. You're going to do this. You're going to do ... this is good. This is good. This is good." So I'm going to trust that what you say because you have Grammys, or you have this, and you have that, that, "Okay, well that must be good so let me do that." So, I skipped over a lot.

Ametria Dock: But that was the start of my musical journey, and finding my voice, and knowing what I like, what I don't like, and figuring out if I want to be a performer, figuring out if I want to just create, and if I want to teach, and all. Yeah, it started like that.

Amena Brown: Okay. Take us to this pivot that happens in your career because you're on track with these influential people to launch this solo career. The album gets ... you get signed, the album gets completed, gets released. At this point you're at the point where a lot of artists are wanting to get to, wanting to get to that "I'm signed, I've got some backing behind me. I've made this music, it's released." What was that like? And then describe for us the transition from, "Well, I didn't know I was going to end up on this recording track as a solo artist." But now that is transitioning to returning to really some of your roots you described from school, this collaboration, vocal coaching, vocal arranging. Give me like how did that pivot happen?

Ametria Dock: The process of recording my album, being signed, working with the artists that were huge names in the R&B world, I did a gospel album with all R&B artists that were producing my album. There was a lot of ... I was learning a lot about the music industry, and a lot of that, even at 17, 18 it just was ... I was going against it. It was just like, "I don't know that I liked that." I started like ... you know when you're an 18 year old and not in the industry, you're starting to have a voice like, "Oh, I don't like this. I don't like that." So I was going against a lot specifically with my management, and the choices that they wanted me to make, and the artists they wanted me to work with, and the gigs they wanted me to take. I just stopped liking it altogether. I didn't stop liking making music and doing the music, but I didn't like all the ... I want to say the work, but what was put in front of me to do as an artist.

Ametria Dock: It didn't make sense to me. I didn't really know exactly fully at the time what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn't want to do that. It's funny because even talking about this, I remember sitting in the studio. I did two songs with Mary J. Blige and I remember her saying, "A lot is going to change as you go on this journey. A lot for you is going to change, management." And she said it in front of my managers.

Amena Brown: Come on Mary and speak a word.

Ametria Dock: At the time because she knew. She said, "A lot will change for you." Like, "You will find your voice in this process." Like, "I can see ..." she could see it in my eyes. We were in the green room before going into studio and funny enough at the time, while we were recording my album they were filming Behind the Music for Mary. So there's parts of her Behind the Music where she's in the studio vocal producing me, and mentoring me because she produced those songs. But she also took time to speak into me, like "Don't just settle for where you are." Like, "Things will change, you will find your voice." Because she could ... I felt like she felt me, so I was just ... it was a moment for me like, "This is exciting." But at the same time there was tension, and she could see it, and she could see that I was searching. When I think about that, I think about the tension was always not being able to completely be myself, and not given that opportunity.

Ametria Dock: When you're in the industry and people are paying for things, when in reality you're paying for it all ... okay but that's a whole another story.

Amena Brown: A word today. A word today.

Ametria Dock: You're paying for it all, you just don't know it fully. But having time to sit down ... and I'll talk about this later when it comes down to the business, to really sit down and brainstorm about what you want. I didn't have time to do that, everything was go. So I said, "Stop. I'm done."

Amena Brown: You were 18 at this point? Or?

Ametria Dock: At this point I was 19 turning 20 I think, or 20 turning 21. I can't remember because that whole time was just crazy for me. But I basically said, "Stop, I don't want to do this anymore." I was under contract and my managers at the time said, "You can't do that." And I said, "Well, I'm not going to do anything." And I did that, and I got a job. I got a job, I did. I got a job, a job that I didn't want to work at the time. I was doing sales and I said, "Well, you can't do shows, we'll sue you." And I said, "Okay." Because at that point I said, "I can't do this anymore. This is not what I want to do. You're not going to control me." At this point I'm an adult, I'm living on my own and I wanted to find my voice. So saying, "Stop." Was the only way that I saw out, and the only way to let this contract run its course, and to figure out what I wanted to do.

Ametria Dock: I stopped doing shows for under the banner of Ametria, and I decided that I wanted to figure out what I love about this music because I felt like it was being taken away from me. So I went back to my roots, and I went back to teaching, and leading worship, and I found joy in that. I found joy in leading, in teaching, in vocal production going into the studio. So I started taking on some projects doing vocal production for some artists, a lot of artists. That brought me back to this appreciation for creating, and really finding my voice, and what I love about music, and also being able to just be free in the music. Because music is like the universal language, it connects us all. It's one of those things that when you listen to something, it can give you joy, it can ... I wanted to get back to that because I wasn't ... there was a time where I just didn't want to listen to anything. I didn't want to listen to anything, I just became so jaded with music and that was all because of that process.

Ametria Dock: So, once I got into that, I started really writing down like, "What do I want to do? Do I want to write songs? Do I want to record another album, and just go in a different direction?" And I wasn't ... I went back and forth with recording another album, but I knew that I wanted to create, and then tell my story in some way, whether that's coaching another, helping another person on their journey. That's really how that came into play. Vocal production, going into the studio with an artist is basically coaching them through a song, coaching them through giving ideas and things like that. That is my heart, I love that. Coaching and helping a person to go beyond what they hear is how my company just came into play. My work started, it went before even coming up with a business plan. I was already in motion, and that I finally ... my voice became loud, and I could see myself, and I could feel my heart, and feel what was in me, you know?

Ametria Dock: I was able to still sing, I was able to still write, and able to still help others which is something that I love to do. Coaching is probably the number one thing that I love doing. I love being on stage, but I love coming up with ideas and helping somebody to find their voice. I love that 'cause my voice was taken away for a while.

Amena Brown: There's just so many words that you spoke right there that are so powerful. I mean, first of all, the moment of being able to find the freedom and the courage to say stop. I think that can be really, really tough for a lot of us because we get in whatever kind of treadmill we've gotten on now, of whatever people are telling us is the path we have to take to success and sometimes we find ourselves doing that. Whether it affects our health, whether it affects our creativity, or whatever, we just stay on it but we are really on a treadmill. We're not on a thing that's going someplace. I was at a retreat not too long ago, and Dr. Vickie Johnson was there sharing and she said something that made me ... it just really is reflected in the story you just told. She said sometimes you have to let it fall apart.

Ametria Dock: Yes.

Amena Brown: And you being able to say, "You know what? No. We're going to stop this." And then the second thing when you say, "And I went and got a job." I was like, "We need to stop the recording right now. We're going to have to stop this, and do a whole seminar on just that phrase right there." Because when you're an artist, or a creative, or whatever it is that you're doing, when you've gotten in your mind that, "This is going to be the trajectory. This is how I'm going to make my money, I'm going to provide for my family." Whatever, and having to come to a very practical place of like number one, "I've realized ... which I'll tell them I'm not doing." And number two, "I'm about to get a job."

Ametria Dock: Go completely against what is in my heart to do, but I wanted ... there was a phrase that he said to me ... my manager, he said basically, "You can't make it without us."

Amena Brown: Uh-oh. Uh-oh.

Ametria Dock: That really brought me to a place of there is ... only God is in control of everything that I do. There is no man that can tell me that I can't make it in what God has called me and ordained me to do and be, you will not have that power. You won't. And so whatever it takes for me ... not to even prove him wrong, but I had to erase that out of my mind. Like, "No." Like, "No, no, no." I just had to get on my knees and come to a place, and so stop was it. "Stop, stop. No, we're not doing this anymore." I don't care how many ideas that you have, and how many connections you have, I am done because that this is not it." And I could see that, and I was clear. There's another way, and I had to figure that out.

Amena Brown: And the humility to say, "I'm going to get a job while I figure that out." Those are hard things that I have to say when I'm talking to college students, or people who are young on their artists journey, is to say like, "Yeah, sometimes you need to do the humble thing, you need to work as a janitor, or work that customer service job, or do whatever it is. Wait tables, whatever it is you need to do during do that-

Ametria Dock: During process.

Amena Brown: ... while you're on your journey to figure it out. And all of that is becoming these different pieces and revelations to send you down the path that's really meant for you." So I'm loving this Mimi. Okay, I forgot to tell y'all, Ametria is her ... that's her government name. But every now and the people that know her, call her Mimi. Don't you walk up if you don't know her ... If you don't know her, just walk up and say Ametria. You need to say the whole thing till she tells you it's okay. Anyhow, I'm loving this whole thing. So, you go from signed recording artist, having released this album, having worked with the faves faves in that process.

Ametria Dock: 90s Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Jean from Zhane.

Amena Brown: Come on.

Ametria Dock: Like my girl, my girl, my girl. I love her so much. She was super instrumental in coaching me, and just encouraging me so much. She was probably the top one out of that process who just spoke life into me, and I owe it ... to this day I'm so grateful for her words and the time that I spent with her, because she just ... she really did ... I mean, I remember going into the studio and my voice having ... and we'll talk about vocal health, but just having all kinds of complications with my voice, being really sick. Aaron Hall giving me a hot toddy all in the studio, just going through the whole process. I'm a kid trying to figure this thing, I don't know what to do. They've been in the game for a long time, and so that part of the process was helpful because I had firsthand help. I had people really walking me like, "This is what you got to do." Wanya from Boyz II Men just calming me down in the studio while we're recording and just like, "You got this. You're amazing. You're just ..."

Ametria Dock: Layla Hathaway just ... I mean, I worked with a lot of amazing, amazing artists that really just ... and this is another reason why coaching is giving back because it was given to me in so many different ways on this journey for me musically, that continuing that process on that. And even from being a kid and doing that in school, that feels right. It just feels like this is what God has called you to do, to serve others. I love serving others, I get joy out of that. That process brought me to a place of finding my voice and finding what brought me joy. Then I'm going to turn the page because then ... I started to have ... I called my company at the time, New Melody Voices. I don't even know where I got the name from, but it was a name and I started just coaching different artists in the city around ... I would go in and do ... Some artists would call me in to do background, or to come in and do vocal production.

Ametria Dock: And so I was in a flow of that, and it was feeling good. Then I decided I was in the Gospel scene but working with R&B artists, I was like, "I want to branch out and just ... I want to really dig deeper into this music industry, and get more into this indie vibe thing going on in the city. Because honestly, I was traveling outside of Atlanta, and doing more outside of Atlanta than being really in the musical culture here in Atlanta. So, by this time I was about 21, 22 and I started going to Apache Cafe.

Amena Brown: I want to thank you. I want to thank you for bringing up Apache Café in this-

Ametria Dock: For sure.

Amena Brown: ... conversation.

Ametria Dock: For sure.

Amena Brown: Yes.

Ametria Dock: Apache has been instrumental in my life. I mean-

Amena Brown: Let me give a little context for my people who are not from Atlanta or haven't lived in Atlanta a long time.

Ametria Dock: Sure.

Amena Brown: Apache Cafe was just instrumental in the careers of so many artists in, particularly certain artists who were at Apache in a certain era of time, in that maybe mid to late 90s, into early 2000.

Ametria Dock: Yeah, the Yin Yang thing.

Amena Brown: Yin Yang, so there's a lot of artists that many of you may have heard of that really cut their chops on the Apache stage.

Ametria Dock: Sure.

Amena Brown: So that's an important Atlanta music scene venue to bring up right now. Continue.

Ametria Dock: So I started going to Apache and for me, it was a different environment for me because I was used to churches, I was used to mega churches, and some ... the inner type places depending on the type of event we were doing, or whatever. So this was a whole different vibe. What I decided to do is go in and just observe instead of ... I knew it was an open mic on a Wednesday night, and I could just get up there and sing. But for me, I wanted to observe, I wanted to feel the vibe of ... feel the energy of the room, hear the songs that were being sang. I just want to feel it first 'cause I'm very cautious. so I did that for a whole month and I just started just going, bringing friends, just getting plugged in, but not really performing. Finally after a month, I decided okay, I had been working on some songs like, "Okay, what would I sing? What would feel like me in here? 'Cause I don't even ... I'm a new me. What would I do?"

Amena Brown: Come on, I'm a new me. Yes. Yes.

Ametria Dock: I can't remember if I did a Lauren ... I feel like I did Lauren Hill, Killing Me Softly might have been one of the first songs that I sang, which was completely different for me from doing gospel music. So I got up and I did that and the response was really good, and the energy was really good. So you know when you sing, and if people like what you do, then people want to come and talk to you. So I started to connect with other producers, musicians, and all that and that was really cool. Fast forward, I started doing that every week I would go. I wouldn't sing every week, but it became a ... the host of the show was like, when I walked in the door like, "You have to sing, I'm going to pull you up on the top of the list." Or whatever.

Ametria Dock: It was fun because I started to ... the live singing started to become like, "I'm back." Like, "Oh, I'm here." Like, "I'm hearing my voice now, this is another ... Again, this is a new me, but I like this. I like what this feels like. This is different." So one day I was outside getting ready to come in, and a producer friend of mine was talking to a young lady and he goes, "Oh I want you to meet this girl. She's a singer, she's a singer, you guys should meet." And you know Atlanta and Apache in the music scene is all about connecting, networking. I think he was just like, "You guys should know each other." You know? So he said, "She sings background with India Arie." And I said, "Oh I love India Arie, she's amazing." So we connected, and he asked me once again, "Sing something." He said, "Mimi-

Amena Brown: Wait, you're not on stage now. You are outside of the venue at this point, just, "Sing something right now." Right?

Ametria Dock: Right now.

Amena Brown: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ametria Dock: Because this story is getting ready to blow your mind right now.

Amena Brown: Whoa.

Ametria Dock: "Sing something right now." So I'm like, "Okay." I have now started to learn how to be ye all so ready at any point because you never know. So I sing Love by Musiq Soulchild immediately. I don't wait, I just go. After I'm done singing, she's like, "Oh my god, you're amazing." Blah, blah, blah. "We have to connect. Oh my goodness." So we exchanged numbers. The next day she calls me and she says, "Hey, I've got a show. I would love for you to come to the show. I would love for you to meet India, you're amazing. I would just love for you to meet her." I was like, "Oh, that would be cool." You know? I'm just like, "Yeah, sure I'll come and support you." 'Cause I got a chance to also hear her that night and she's amazing singer/songwriter. So I went the next day to her show, and when I went to her show ... I'm going to give you some backstory.

Ametria Dock: What I didn't know was the whole India Arie band was there for her show because they had been rehearsing for a whole week preparing for India Arie's tour that she was getting ready to go on. So the band was there, I didn't know that. India came in and was in a VIP section. I did not meet India that night, but I was there to support the girl that I had met. I heard her sing, it was amazing. She said, "Oh ..." India was ... she had left afterwards. She came to support her background singer, and then she left. I was like, "It's okay. Maybe I'll meet her one day, it's okay." Like, "I was just here to support you, I'm glad we starting out a relationship, friendship." You know, whatever. And so she was like, "I'll give you a call." The next day, she calls me. I was at a gospel concert, Kim Burrell. I was at Kim Burrell's.

Amena Brown: Come on Kim Burrell.

Ametria Dock: Yeah, one of my faves. Another one who's been instrumental in my life. But I'm at a Kim Burrell's concert. I leave the Kim Burrell concert, and I have a phone call, voicemail, and it's the girl saying, "Hey, I would love for you to come over to Crossover Studios. We're rehearsing for the tour, and I want you to meet India before we leave." And I was like, "What? Oh my god." So I call her back and she's like, "Come up here. We're in the rehearsal, but you should come." By this time, it's 12.00 midnight.

Amena Brown: Wow.

Ametria Dock: So I drive over to Crossover Studios, and when I walk into Crossover, the entire band is standing in the hallway of Crossover. Have you been at Crossover before?

Amena Brown: No. No.

Ametria Dock: Crossover Studios is where most artists are preparing for their tours, or studio sessions. Basically, you go in and you have a full concert in there. That space is a rehearsal space. And so I walk in, the band is their. Back history of what's happening before I come in. They're asking the other background singer begging him to come on tour, but he is getting ready to get married and he can't go.

Amena Brown: Wow.

Ametria Dock: So they're in rehearsal. They had hired another person to take his spot, but they didn't ... India didn't really like that person. He didn't really gel well, but this was their last rehearsal that night. It was a Sunday night. So they're standing in the room, begging the old background singer who had come just to say hi to everyone, "Come on and just do this last run. It's three months we can just do it, and we'll knock it out." And I walk in. I walk in the door, when I walk in the door the girl says, "Hey, Ametria." and India turns around and says, "Sing something."

Amena Brown: Again, again with the sing something.

Ametria Dock: I told you, just "Sing." And I'm like, boom. I just start singing because when that happens, you don't have time. Which is what I coach all my people, you have to be ready. So I started singing a song, and when I finished, no one says a word.

Amena Brown: What?

Ametria Dock: She turns around, she doesn't say anything. The Music Director says, "Come here." So it's complete silence.

Amena Brown: But you don't know what to take from that-

Ametria Dock: I'm like, "What's happening?"

Amena Brown: You don't know what that means.

Ametria Dock: Like "What's happening?" He says, "Come here for a second." He takes me into where they had just finished rehearsing, puts me on the mic and says, "Do you know this song? And starts playing one of her songs. I was like, "Yeah, I know it." "Sing it." Boom, I'm singing. "Do you know this song?" Boom, "Sing it." And I'm singing. Mind you, she's in the other room listening to me.

Amena Brown: I can't even take.

Ametria Dock: This is real.

Amena Brown: Wow.

Ametria Dock: She's in the other room listening to me. I did like three or four songs that he was asking, "Do you know this? Do you know this? Do you know this?" He walks out of the room, and he says, "What are you doing tomorrow?" I said I have to work, and then I'm off at 5:00. And he said, "Can you leave tomorrow?" I'm just-

Amena Brown: 'Cause you were still working-

Ametria Dock: Yes.

Amena Brown: ... the job that you had taken?

Ametria Dock: Yeah.

Amena Brown: Wow.

Ametria Dock: I said, "Yes, I can leave tomorrow." "You're going to get paid this, we'll be back in Atlanta after week. You can pack for the rest of the tour. We have a show here. So be back here at 10:30 in the morning tomorrow."

Amena Brown: Ametria Dock, I just ... so you is driving home, the windows is down, you screaming out.

Ametria Dock: Yeah. I'm like, "What did I just subscribe to? What did I say that I can do?" I quit my job obviously. The next day I was on a tour bus with India.Arie. Grammy Award winning India.Arie, going on tour. And so I did not know this show, I didn't. I just knew her songs, you know? I mean, knowing their songs and knowing the show-

Amena Brown: Are two different things.

Ametria Dock: That's two different languages. So my first show I was ... my first show, let me just say this. I get on stage and we're singing, we didn't rehearse anything because they don't rehearse and soundcheck. I'm flowing based off of what I know of her record. In the middle of the show, India turns the audience and says, "Hey guys, this is my new background singer, and I just want her to sing a little something. Go"

Amena Brown: For the third time?

Ametria Dock: Do you hear what I'm saying? And I look at her and I said, "Okay." And I go. Being put in that situation was super eye opening because in this ... I love to create. When you say, "I love to do something." You ... first of all, there is prep that goes into that. Even to this day I may seem like I can do it on the spot, but trust me I have been working through all types of scenarios. So in that moment, I went back to my church roots. I know when I could walk into church and someone would say, "Oh Ametria is here, come on up here and sing the song." I knew that I had to right in that moment, you got to go. It's do or die. So in that moment that was like, "Okay, I know what this feels like. Just go." And that was the start of a really, such an amazing journey. Such an amazing journey for me, but I started coaching India because of what she saw in me. And she will say to this day, and she says it.

Ametria Dock: She says, "If Meme can do it, I can do it." I would do things, our range is the same and so when I would hit higher notes, and do different things, and come up with different ways to do something. She said, and last week she said, "When I say, 'How do you do what you do?' Show me how to do that." So our coaching sessions became like, "Let me show you how to get from point A to point B." Like, "Let me show you how to approach this, and do that." That's how I started with her. I know that's a lot.

Amena Brown: I just ... I didn't even make any tea for this interview and I feel like I have the tea right now. And that's Wow. First of all, it just resonates with me in so many ways. Just the power of what you're saying about being prepared for the doors that open, being prepared for the opportunities that come. Sometimes as creatives, as artists, as business people, whatever, we can spend so much time hustling to get to the opportunity that we might not even be ready. I was thinking about all the moments that someone's been like, "Say a poem right now." And it's like, "Okay, you got to say the poem right now." Like I was at unnamed person's house who is influential celebrity. She invited me to her home, so I went and I'm thinking I'm there just to kick it. Just to chill. I get there and see some faces that are famous, of course, and has talk with oneself. Has to talk with oneself about like, "You're going to be cool, you're going to be cool. You're not going to ... everything's fine. You're going to be cool."

Amena Brown: And she walked right up to me and said, "We having a jam session, I want you to do your poem next with a band." Which is not even a thing that I normally do a lot, but what I'ma say? I'ma tell her that's not really normally my scene?

Ametria Dock: Yeah, nope.

Amena Brown: Nope. You about to think right now about what poems you have that go with that, and just the importance of as a creator being ready, being prepared. And I can be a control freak. I'm working on it y'all. I'm working on it, God working on me.

Ametria Dock: [inaudible 00:50:23].

Amena Brown: But you can't be prepared for opportunities when you are expecting everything will arrive in this neatly pre planned package.

Ametria Dock: For sure.

Amena Brown: You know, there you were right at that moment of like, "I could either get up and go to this job tomorrow, or I could get on this tour bus and have this opportunity." And if you have been like, "Oh, guys, I'm going to need like two weeks notice, and I'm ..." you know, that was a window.

Ametria Dock: Yep.

Amena Brown: You were only going to have that window-

Ametria Dock: It was-

Amena Brown: ... that one time.

Ametria Dock: That one time it was okay. Like, "Listen, what are you saying God? Is this the moment? Okay, let's go." I mean it was a, "Can you leave tomorrow?" It was a, "Yes."

Amena Brown: Yeah. Thinks about luggage, thinks I have two outfits, "Yes."

Ametria Dock: "Yes sure, we'll figure it out. We'll figure it out. We'll figure it out." And I do like to plan things and I'll say this, as I've gotten older because of those impromptu moments, I now know how to plan accordingly. And so, I can be my spontaneous self, like we talked about I'm super spontaneous, but I am very well ... everything is planned out. Like, I'm thinking about all the ways in which it can go. So, "Let me do this. Let me do this. Let me do this. Let me practice this. Let me work on this. Let me vibe to this a little bit. Let me vibe to that a little bit." And so I can be free to flow how I need to flow when the opportunity rises, I can go. Yeah.

Amena Brown: Yeah, which is part of the preparation.

Ametria Dock: Yes, preparation is my number one word. I need self care. Take care of me, let me do all the things that I need to do to be able to be my spontaneous, flowing, watery self. 'Cause I'm so watery.

Amena Brown: I'm here for all of the watery listen. Talk to me about the things you've learned being a business founder because as we're hearing the iterations of your story, you have the experience of being an artist, you have the experience of writing, of arranging, of coaching. It's one thing to do those things, and it's another thing to say, "This is going to be a business. This is going to be my business, I'm going to house these services I've been providing in various ways in a business." What are some of the things you learned when you made that transition then into now being a business owner?

Ametria Dock: Time management. Sitting down and really brainstorming on ... because I'm a creative, I'm so ... I'll just say all over the place when it comes down to creating, I can just jump into anything. I had to put on a business hat and honestly, that was not my strength. It was my least favorite thing to do like, "Oh, I got to sit down and have structure." Like, "Oh, no." But I had to, in order for this to run smoothly. I had to sit down, I had to have a team of people that are stronger in structure, the structure area, that could take my creative self in that structure and blend it together and say, "These are the things." And having a team of people that I could trust and that could help take my ideas and put it down on a website, and on paper and say, "These are the services that you can offer. This is what you can and can't do, and say." Because I'll do a million things, still I do a million things.

Ametria Dock: But they help to ... I don't know, to help me to keep ... to take care of myself, because I will do everything. So having, "These are the services that I'm going to offer, and this is what I can't do." And the can't part.

Amena Brown: That's that's a whole another episode.

Ametria Dock: But yes, the can't part was very important for me, what I can and cannot do. Now, even having a waiting list is hard for me. But that is a thing, it's a thing now where I am with within my company, I can't see everyone, I can't take on every project, I can't do it. So being okay with that, and being grateful that ... wow, a waiting list of people that want to get on my calendar. But just having the time, taking time out for myself is very important for me to do this work, for me to run a business and run it smoothly. I need to because the conversations that you're having on a daily basis, seeing the clients, and all of their things, and taking on all of their things, a lot of times by at the end of the day, I'm like, "Whoa, I got to take all of this off. There's eight different people I'm carrying all of their stuff." This work is heavy sometimes.

Ametria Dock: So, just making sure to implement things for myself to be able to be my best self every day to do this work. And I'm sitting down, and having hard conversations, which is very difficult. But I had to be a woman and do it, you know? Like, "Okay, again these are the things that I can do and the things that I can't do." And making sure that I am ... time management thing became a huge thing for me because I'm balancing. I'm a wife, I'm a mom, I'm a singer, songwriter, creative, worship leader, teacher, coach, confidant. I'm all these things, so I had to figure out like, "Okay, me first and then everything else comes after that." Then I can flow in that for everyone else.

Ametria Dock: As a businesswoman, just having some type of structure, and having a team of people or someone that you can bounce ideas off of, and sit down, and that's really not going to agree with everything that you want to do.

Amena Brown: A word. A word.

Ametria Dock: And that's so helpful 'cause it really helps you to see the bigger picture 'cause you're in your head, and so saying it out loud and someone saying, "Okay, no."

Amena Brown: "Never." Or someone saying, "That sounds great for next year." Listen.

Ametria Dock: All the way.

Amena Brown: Man.

Ametria Dock: For next year.

Amena Brown: "For next year. Super great. Super great for 2021."

Ametria Dock: Not happening.

Amena Brown: "Not going do that this year though with all this other stuff, that you got to do. Just the power of you saying, "Can't." The power of, "This what I do, this is what I can't do." That's been a big lesson for me as a businesswoman, is learning what my limitations are and getting comfortable with them. I think in the past, I felt like I need to take on all the things. And then somehow after I've taken on all those things, I'm just going to find some time in between to take care of myself. I'll build my limitations around all those things that people are asking of me, and then being unhealthy, and tired, and irritable, and all sorts of other sundry unhealthy habits pulling up in life because of that.

Amena Brown: This was the first year that I was like, "Oh, that? No. I'm not going to do ... we will stop that. That right there, we're not doing. For another two years I can't do that. This one, no." And it being humbling for me because I like to be a person that can complete the task another person wants me to do, you know?

Ametria Dock: Yeah.

Amena Brown: Something like, "Oh, you've come to me and asked me about this, I want to not only do this for you, but I want to get it done for you. I want to make you a priority." Which means I'm whatever number after 100 on this list of things, and just the power of knowing this is what I do. This stuff over here, I can't do that.

Ametria Dock: You know what? I'll tell you this, going through what I went through, it made me stop and say ... 'Cause you know what I do? Someone's always calling for something and wanting something, and I want to like you said complete the task. I want to do it for them, I want them to be happy, I want them to shine, I want whatever. But then I had to ask myself, "Well, what is it? Put on paper what do you want to do? What projects do you want to take on? What brings you joy?" That's something that I'm constantly saying to myself when I'm agreeing to do something, "Is this something that brings me joy? That brings glory to God? And is a part of what His purpose and plan is for my life? Is this what I'm supposed to be doing? 'Cause if it's not, then I'm going to have to say no to that." I didn't hear that back then. I didn't know that to be something that I needed to do.

Ametria Dock: So sitting down and actually putting on paper, whether you journal, whether you ... I don't know, get a poster board and write down, whatever. Whatever it is that your creative process of seeing your vision for your work, you've got to do that. That's been helpful for me for Fruition. Like what is Fruition Organized Music? What does that look like? Why did I name it that? What is the full vision of that? And so sitting down and brainstorming that with the team was like, "Oh."' so then when things come-

Amena Brown: Yes. Yes.

Ametria Dock: ... oh, that doesn't fit there.

Amena Brown: Yeah, that doesn't fit. Yes.

Ametria Dock: Yeah. So that that doesn't fit this.

Amena Brown: You told us the process of you coming to find your own voice. One of the things that I think is so powerful about what you do and why I wanted you to come on the podcast also, is because now it's such a huge part of your work helping other artists find their voice figuratively, and also literally, in the work that you do. What does that process look like as a vocal coach? How are you helping clients find their voice? I've never worked with a vocal coach ... probably should, as a person who be speaking for a living. But I've worked with a writing coach, and that was my first experience with coaching. I was actually a little offended when my publisher was like, "Yeah, and we've included here this money in the budget for you to work with a writing coach." And I was like, "I don't need no writing coach. I've been writing since I was 12 years old, nobody needs to coach me. I want to ..." you know? I was immediately-

Ametria Dock: Sure.

Amena Brown: ... in my feelings with the attitude. But once I started working with her, there were some ways that she pushed me, and there were some ways that she questioned me and the choices I had made in the writing, in the things I had left out.

Ametria Dock: Sure.

Amena Brown: Or a story. And she not even knowing me and knowing the full story, she would read something and go, "You have left out this, and why did you do that? Talk to me about why you did that. And then after we talk about why you did that, I want you to go back and put back in the part you left out."

Ametria Dock: I love that.

Amena Brown: That was my first experience with having someone coach me in my craft, and I'm so glad I didn't let my ego and my attitude keep me from what she really had to teach me. So talk us through what's some of your process, and how you take on working with a client?

Ametria Dock: Let me say this, being an artist and walking through that process I feel like prepared me, I feel like I've always been a vocal coach. My dad always called me the encourager, that was always a part of me. So before "Ametria the artist" came into the picture, Ametria Mimi was that person. So it was natural for me to see the parts of someone and say, "Oh, I see this inside of you, and I see that you're afraid to do this. Let me help you bring that out. I want you to trust me, and I'm not going to ... I'm going to point those things out, but I'm going to help you to come up with a plan to be able to do that which is inside of you, bring that out." That's coaching.

Ametria Dock: If you ask any of my clients, the one thing that they would say, when they're seeking out vocal coaching is, "I need someone to build my confidence. There's so many things that I know that I could do, but I don't know how to do them. Or I hear them in my head, and I don't ..." you know, the execution part. When you're looking for a vocal coach, it's not because ... I mean, there are some people that are looking for a vocal coach to learn technique, and how to sing. But a lot of my clients, especially those that are already established artists, which I have a lot of, are looking for someone that they can trust, that they trust vocally to be able to bounce ideas off of, and like bring out ... so part of it, yes is, "I trust Mimi to vocally ... she's going to give me more ideas, more than what I hear because I stay ..." a lot of artists, they stay in a box, "This is what the audience loves about me, so I'm going to stay there. But really inside, I want to do this."

Ametria Dock: So each album, I'm coming up with a different plan of action for them to execute because they're changing, they're evolving, their sound is changing. That is fun for me because it's a part of creating this new sound for these artists, and it's also helping them to go outside of their box. Because, again you do what you know, and then a lot of times they don't have someone in the beginning stages of their careers. They had ... you're open to vibing being with people. Once you get to a certain point, you're not having vibe sessions with other artists. So when you have a vocal coach who is an active singer, active artists who loves that work, it's like the best of both worlds. Where I'm going to coach you, I'm going to tell you, "This is right, this is wrong. And then I'm going to give you ideas of how to execute this." That's a lot of the work that I do.

Amena Brown: There's two things that I really loved about that. I think one of them is such a great reminder to us as creatives and as artists, is to have an idea of where you want to go. But if you want to have someone who is a professional coach come alongside you and help push you even further than you might push yourself, you have to have an idea of where you want to go.

Ametria Dock: Yeah, sure.

Amena Brown: So that this person can come alongside you and say, "Okay, I see that's where you want to go. Now I know how we get there." I love that part, and just the humility for all of us of having to come to this place of going like, "Yeah, I get comfortable. I get comfortable, I have a thing. I know I'm doing my thing. I did my thing, it worked." Whatever. Or, "Has worked in whatever sundry cities I've been in doing this."

Ametria Dock: Sure.

Amena Brown: It's good for us in our creative process to come back to that place where there's something else we can learn, and other places we can stretch ourselves. That we never arrive at a place where it's like, "I've learned all the things."

Ametria Dock: Yeah, "I've made it. I'm there."

Amena Brown: Yeah.

Ametria Dock: We're constantly changing, and evolving and growing, and you have to be open to criticism, you have to be open to learning something new. And specifically the artists that I work with, I have to say they really inspire me because they push the envelope with that. With India going and learning Hebrew and doing a whole album in Israel, just ... like who does that? You're a soul artists who decides, "Oh no. I mean, if I say I love music, I love music and I want to explore different cultures and different things." So even being a part of that process and watching that, and then going to Turkey and learning, working, just seeing that the sky is the limit. I'm open to learning and growing in this thing that we call music, it never stops. I enjoy that part, it never gets old and now at this place music it just feels new because I'm constantly learning, and researching, and collabing, and talking with other creatives.

Ametria Dock: Because I again, I'll take on a project and it's like, "Oh my goodness, I don't know a lot about this, but you trust me so let's let's dive into this. Let's figure this thing out." And it's blown my mind from blues, to bluegrass to ... I mean, it's been such a journey working with different types of music styles, and different genres, and different artists, it's crazy.

Amena Brown: People ask me questions about vocal health. I don't know why-

Ametria Dock: Because-

Amena Brown: ... they're asking me that because I don't have a lot of answers. I have been learning in these later years ... now I've performing for, oh gosh, over 20 years of life now, just how your voice gets tired. And the type of water that you should drink. I just learned within the last five years that if your voice, if you feel like you're getting to where it's like a little laryngitis a little bit, like you're losing your voice, that whispering is not helping you.

Ametria Dock: Not at all.

Amena Brown: Can you give just a few tips here for people who are singers, are speakers, are using their voices all the time. I think when we think about athletes, we think of how an athlete trains, and what they do to help their muscles recover, and all those things. We don't think a lot about that most of us. You think about it-

Ametria Dock: Everyday, all day.

Amena Brown: ... 'cause you are amazing at this. We are not thinking about it, we're just using it until it's worn out, and tired, and doing all sorts of things that aren't helping it. What are some of those just beginning tips that people can do if they are involved in work that they use their voice a lot? What are the things we can do to take care of our voice so that they can do the great work for us? We know so many singers, I think of some many singers. I [inaudible 01:11:09] names right here, but I think of so many singers who've been singing a long time, like decades and decades. And there are some singers that we listen to now we're like, "Oh my gosh, how did this singer keep their voice sounding like ..." I mean, you can tell they're older than they were when they recorded this thing-

Ametria Dock: Sure.

Amena Brown: ... but my keep their voice sounding so good. And some singers go a period of time, even shorter than that, and you're like, "Oh, that voice you have is not the same as the one where you recorded this great record." Tell me some of those things?

Ametria Dock: Vocal care, vocal health is the number one thing I start out with, with my clients. Coming up with a formula for each person is important to me because it never fails. When I get in a person, and they get in their flow of whether they're working on an album, or touring, or something. I get the calls and the emails, "Oh my god, my voice is going out. Oh my god, I'm sick and I've got drainage, mucus." Blah, blah, blah. The first thing is obviously ... and you can google it a million times, and you're going to see sleeping. Okay?

Amena Brown: Wow. I was not expecting that was the first thing.

Ametria Dock: Yes, it is the rest. Resting your body, your ... laying down, resting, sleeping, not talking because that's the only time that you're not talking. Laying down and getting physical rest that you need it. Right, that's the first thing. Number two is going to be staying hydrated. You'll see different artists drinking different kinds of water. I like to drink alkaline essentia to be exact. You don't have to do that. I mean, drinking water. I know a lot of artists that don't drink water, and choose to do other things like soda, which is just absurd. If you do anything where you're speaking, and you're drinking soda in 2019, I just ... I don't know what to say.

Amena Brown: That's basically Ametria's version of booing you, if you're still doing that you're getting booed in 2019. Okay.

Ametria Dock: I'm just ... no. We can jump into different teas, and there are so many different ways. Some coaches will say don't do teas that have bags because there are certain chemicals in the bags, and things like that. I like loose tea, I love echinacea, I love slippery elm. In some whole foods or different places, you can find these herbs that you can make teas out of and those are great. I like throat coat, we want to be simple. I love any type of tea that has echinacea in it, or that has slippery elm specifically is good for your voice. I love Manuka honey. As a vocalist you need sleep, you have this raspy ... my voice is naturally raspy. So I don't eat honey anymore, but I used to. For health reasons I can't do it, but honey is very good too. A spoonful of honey is great, or in your tea to take it down. I don't like sugars, no sugar. You want to get that out of your diet. Caffeine.

Amena Brown: It can be hard.

Ametria Dock: Yeah.

Amena Brown: It can be hard.

Ametria Dock: It's rough. It's rough out here.

Amena Brown: Hard [inaudible 01:14:36].

Ametria Dock: It's rough. It's rough, but as a vocalist you shouldn't. Okay?

Amena Brown: That's right.

Ametria Dock: So we're just going to leave it like that, you should be caffeine free. The other thing ... so here are my secrets, and they're not really secrets anymore.

Amena Brown: [inaudible 01:14:52] secrets.

Ametria Dock: I do a couple of things. So on tours, or prepping for church, or just in general a steam inhaler is your best friend. And if you don't have one, you need to have. You can get it on Amazon.

Amena Brown: This is not a diffuser, that's not the same? [crosstalk 01:15:13]

Ametria Dock: Not a diffuser. It is a steam inhaler.

Amena Brown: Not a humidifier.

Ametria Dock: Not a humidifier. I will show you exactly but I have one that is called a puremist. For a lot of my artists, they have them on the road. So when you get in the shower and you have that steam coming, it feels great. It's much like that for your voice, goes right to it. Steam is amazing for your voice. So if you're speaking a lot, that's one thing that you ... 15 minute treatment before you do what you do, 15 minutes after for that care. That is one of the main things that we do and then I'll tell you this, diet and exercise is key. So for speakers, singers, if you are eating foods that are mucus forming foods, you're in trouble. I tell my pastor all the time, if you're clearing your throat chances are you had a lot of mucus forming foods the night before.

Amena Brown: Can you just discuss real quick what's some examples of some foods that form mucus? 'Cause I feel you about to say some things that's delicious but-

Ametria Dock: Yeah, well let's just start with don't eat pizza the night before your performance, dairy. Seriously, dairy is ... breads. Honestly to make it simple, if you have a performance veggies and a protein that is not fried.

Amena Brown: 'Cause I was good on the protein, and then you said not fried.

Ametria Dock: No fried foods. So basically a salad with fish, or chicken, lean protein, and some fruits and vegetables. And even with your fruit, you want to stay within the berries. Bananas can cause mucus if you like that sort of thing. So, for me in the morning, one of my breakfast things I do chia seeds with almond milk, and I put strawberries, a little bit of cinnamon, which is really good for breaking up mucus. I stay away from lemon. Lemon is a mucus ... it breaks mucus up, but lemon is also acidic. So I stay away from the more acidic fruits. I like strawberries, blackberries, blueberries. So I add that to my chia oatmeal, if you want to call it that. It's just chia seeds, and almond milk, and some fruit and it's really great. It's helpful, and then ... again, a veggie, and a protein.

Amena Brown: Ametria done got in all up in my situation. I was like, "I need to go downstairs right now, start eliminating some things." I want to ask you the three questions I ask every guest this season. Number one, what inspires you to create?

Ametria Dock: What inspires me to create? I think so many things, I can't even pinpoint. My family. My daughter, my father ... rest his soul. He had so many opportunities to do so many things, and his life was cut short and he wasn't able to fulfill a lot of things that he wanted to do. So even in writing music, and singing on the stages that I get to sing on, I often think about the opportunities that he and my mother ... the times that they sacrificed for my brother and I had to shine. So I think my family honestly, they inspire me to create.

Amena Brown: What is one thing you've made that you're really proud of?

Ametria Dock: My child.

Amena Brown: Yeah, it's a good answer.

Ametria Dock: Oh, that she is the one thing that brings me the most joy.

Amena Brown: Oh my god, [inaudible 01:20:01].

Ametria Dock: Yes, she is. She is my joy for sure. For sure. Just Watching her grow, and come into herself, and feel the freedom of creating 'cause she's a little star in the making. But just seeing her journey, she makes me want to get up every morning and be the best that I can be. It's her.

Amena Brown: I love it. If you could give another woman a She Did That Award, who would it be? And why?

Ametria Dock: My mom. My mom. My mom was such a ... I'm going to start crying, oh my goodness.

Amena Brown: I forgot to bring the tissues into this [inaudible 01:20:56] 'cause sometimes-

Ametria Dock: Oh my goodness.

Amena Brown: Sometimes we do cry here.

Ametria Dock: Oh my goodness. My mom. My mom has sacrificed so much. My mom is the reason why I'm where I am today, she is my inspiration. But where my mom is right now is continuing to inspire me because the work that ... my mom is in the health field, but the work that she's doing with other women, encouraging and inspiring other women to reach their highest potential is what motivates me. She gets on, and she does her Facebook Lives, and they have their group meetings, and just seeing the work even with kids, it's just ... seeing her work makes me know that what I'm ... this is all a part ... this is in my line. This is what I was born to do, I see it every day. I see her. I mean, she was on our anniversary trip, and she's on our Facebook Live encouraging women.

Ametria Dock: I'm like, "Mom take a break." But she's just the most motivating and encouraging person in my life, and she keeps me going, and keeps me grounded, and keeps me focused. It helps me to know that like, "This is God's plan for you, and the sky is the limit. Don't limit yourself."

Amena Brown: Mama, she did that. If the people need vocal coaching, if the people want to follow you, follow Fruition, tell my people the things how they can stay up on what's happening, and if they are looking for what your company provides, how they can stay connected?

Ametria Dock: Absolutely. Well I have a website, and it is I'm on all social media, Instagram, Facebook and it's just Fruition Organized Music. I also have an Instagram with my name, which is Ametria Dock, and on Ametria Dock, the website is listed under there as well. So if they follow me Ametria Dock, they can click on the website. Or Fruition has a page as well.

Amena Brown: Ametria Dock, thank you so much for being on the podcast, sharing your story, inspiring us. This has been the best. Thank you so much.

Ametria Dock: This was so much fun. Thank you for having me.

Ametria Dock: (Music)

Amena Brown: HER with Amena Brown is produced by DJ Opdiggy for Sol Graffiti Productions. Don't forget to subscribe, rate, write a review, and share the podcast. Thanks for listening.