Alt-pop ‘Estrella’ Ambar Lucid brings Latin rhythms, karaoke, and more to MBE

Novena, Ambar Lucid, and Anthony strike a pose at KCRW. Photo by Seth Van Matre.

At just 21, Ambar Lucid has already crafted quite a niche with her deeply soulful brand of alt-R&B tinged with psychedelia and Latin rhythms. We knew we were onto something when she blew us away at KCRW’s 2019 South by Southwest showcase, the same year that she unleashed the song that coaxed many a’ single tear onto the cheeks of all of your favorite KCRW DJs – “A letter to my younger self.” 

We’ve kept close tabs on her ever since, with her 2021 breakout single “Get Lost In The Music” being among our most played of last year, and her forthcoming second LP “Estrella” being among our most anticipated this year. She was the only logical choice to kick off the 2022 installment of KCRW’s Summer Nights, as we return to Westwood’s Hammer Museum with a free show from an LA-based artist every Thursday in July! 

Just ahead of her performance tomorrow night, Lucid dropped by MBE with a hand-picked DJ set and life-affirming chat with Novena and Anthony. 

“I’ve always known that I’m gonna be successful, no matter what… it’s just what my soul tells me,” Lucid says about the pressures she faces as a creative youth now living and working in LA (via New Jersey where she grew up). She admits that as a young woman of color, it can become especially challenging to not surrender to those who would insist they know what’s best (and attempting to box her in in the process). She overcomes it with vigilant therapy sessions and creating a rotating cast of characters through which to perform.

The latest of those is “Estrella,” whom she refers to as “the pop star of the Lucid World.” 

“She’s the side of me that is empowered, and confident,” Lucid says. “She speaks her truth, she knows that she’s a star.” 

Estrella certainly seemed to be behind the wheel when Anthony surprised Lucid with her go-to karaoke song, Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” Without missing a beat, she sang along in perfect unison. Put ears on the full convo and Lucid’s own selects, which conjure the same playful spirit as the rest of the proceedings, and check out the full playlist below. 





Anna Chang