Eugene neo-soul singer Amalia Davis is a Virgo, an astrological sign characterized by perfectionism. “The Virgo side, we tend to be critical of ourselves,” Davis, who performs as Amiia Nectar, tells Eugene Weekly. Moreover, the name Amalia means hard worker, she says. “I’m just a ball of anxiety.”
Those anxious feelings are translated into Davis’ music. Though she’s performed widely around Eugene for several years, her first full-length, self-produced album, It’s Time to Overthink Again, comes out in early 2023. She previews songs from the record, alongside a full slate of other performers, at the Happy Holladays Hip-Hop Christmas Fest Dec. 22 at The Big Dirty.
Having trained at and toured with the Gospel Music Workshop of America, a national gospel music education and performing organization, Davis blends that background into her sound with contemporary soul, R&B and hip-hop influences from artists such as SZA and Erykah Badu.
Davis calls what she does “funk-related” with aspects of jazz, though she notes that Overthink is not a funk album. The songs, with huge commercial potential, are written to backing beats, showcasing Davis’ strong singing voice with a vein of personal storytelling in the lyrics. Overthink track “Broke as Hell,” Davis says, is about her rocky childhood spent split between Arizona and Texas, and how her mother worked several jobs to make ends meet.
Through steady performing and audience interaction, Nectar says, she’s settled on her own sound, and because of that, she felt the time had come to put out something full length. Several older singles dating back to 2020 are available to stream on Spotify.
In her songs, Davis — who is also a burlesque performer — talks about past relationships and especially her strained relationship with her mother. “I dated men that resembled men that my mom dated — not wanting to be like my mom so much, I realized I am like her,” she says.
“I just have a beat and say whatever’s on my mind — just feeling the vibe,” she says of her songwriting approach.
“At first, I was experimenting with all kinds of sounds,” Davis says. Now, she adds, she uses music to process her past and relax. Though accompanied by the backing beats, Davis calls her live show interactive and informed by her experience in burlesque.
When you don’t have a band, Davis says, “you have to find other ways to pull the audience in.”
Davis’ upcoming release also features several local artists, including EW’s Best of Eugene 2022 Best Actor Winner Deziree Brock, also known as Lyta Blunt, a drag performer. Brock also took third place in the 2022 Best Drag Queen category.