Pop-oriented R&B singer and songwriter Amerie -- born Amerie Mi Marie Rogers in Fitchburg, Massachusetts to a Korean mother and an African-American father who was a career military man -- grew up on bases from Alaska to Germany. As a youth, she gained an appreciation of the classical arts (from her mother) and of music (from her father), and she also studied dance from an early age and performed in talent contests. After her high school graduation, her family settled down in Virginia while she began to attend Georgetown University, from which she later graduated with a degree in English and Fine Arts. While living in Washington, D.C., she met producer Rich Harrison, who worked with such performers as Mary J. Blige, and began developing demos with him. This led to a deal with Rise Entertainment and, in turn, major-label Columbia.
In the spring of 2002, Rise/Columbia released Amerie's debut single, "Why Don't We Fall in Love." By the time her first album, All I Have, appeared that July, the single had reached the Top 20 of the R&B/hip-hop chart and the Billboard Hot 100. Her follow-up, Touch, was released in April 2005. It peaked at number five on the Billboard album chart while yielding the number one single "1 Thing." The album was a significant improvement over her debut, due, in large part, to her songwriting input on almost every song. Because I Love It, her third album, followed in May 2007. Though it was her strongest and most colorful work yet, and reached the Top 20 in the U.K., plans for a U.S. release fell through. The following year, she signed to Def Jam after splitting with Columbia. She recorded her fourth album, In Love & War, and released it in November 2009. It made a number three R&B-chart debut but made a quick slide backward due to a lack of significant radio play. After she changed the spelling of her performing name to Ameriie, she released the singles "What I Want" (2014) and "Mustang" (2015), as well as the EP Drive, through her Feenix Rising label. ~ William Ruhlmann & Andy Kellman, Rovi