New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Beyond NYU: From books to ballads

Ambrose Getz was unsure where she would end up when she first arrived at NYU. Now, she is releasing music and performing it across New York City.
(Courtesy of Noel Woodford)

CAS alum Caroline Getz, who goes by the stage name Ambrose Getz, came to NYU with a love for music, ready to take full advantage of New York City’s spirited and vibrant entertainment scene. After graduating in 2014, she’s following her dreams as a Brooklyn-based artist with a recently released debut album, “Great House of Embers.”

When she’s not performing on stage, she teaches private lessons and master classes in singing and songwriting, which she has done for the past seven years. Getz, who is now working on her second album, said that she “naturally gravitated to” teaching and hopes to “help the next generation step into art and creation to express themselves.” 

In an interview with WSN, Getz spoke about how she became involved with music at NYU, the process that went into releasing her first album and her career goals. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

WSN: How did you become involved in the music industry while at NYU? 

Getz: While I was at NYU, I started playing at open mics at storied venues like the Sidewalk Cafe and The Bitter End. At that time, my biggest dream was to play Rockwood Music Hall and all the Lower East Side venues, which is funny to look back on now because I’ve thankfully done all of those things and also been able to play at bigger venues, like The Sultan Room, where I had my release show. The great thing about New York — and really the reason I wanted to be here — is there’s this super deep network of musicians that you can tap into. You start just meeting people and you figure out who you vibe with and who can help you take the music to the next level. I want to make music with other people and in community with other people and getting to lean on them has been the number one thing that I’ve learned from in the process of making the record.

Before transitioning to the College of Arts & Science, Getz was a part of the Liberal Studies program. She graduated from NYU with a major in comparative literature, a minor in French and concentrations in English and Spanish. 

WSN: Why did you choose to attend NYU?

Getz: When I came to NYU, I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do career wise — I just knew that I loved reading and writing, which has always been a huge part of my songwriting as well. They’re very connected and I always feel like my love of poetry and of literature fuels the songs that I write. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a musician after school, but I knew that I wanted to have the option to. NYU felt like the perfect compromise because I could go and study with world class professors and get a degree that maybe I could use in another career at a certain point.

Getz grew up immersed in San Francisco’s jazz scene and was influenced by her mother, who was a jazz singer and songwriter. She said she explored her passion for music by taking part in the school musical and joining jazz band, but did not receive formal music training until after she graduated from NYU.

WSN: How did you settle on the stage name Ambrose Getz? 

Getz: Ambrose is my middle name, which is my mom’s maiden name. I wanted something that was representative of both sides of my family. I feel like the record and the music that I write is very personal and has a lot of stories from both of those sides. It can be helpful to have an artist name to give you a little bit of distance from yourself as a human and all of its complete humanness and then the artist, who only represents a side of you. I see all sides of myself — being from San Francisco, but also having a Midwestern aspect to the writing and the culture from my mom’s side, and then living in New York City — and let that bring everything together. 

Getz released her debut album, “Great House of Embers” in November 2023. She said that she decided to independently produce the album — which blends music genres like pop, folk and classic rock — to maintain creative control of it. Before, she had released three “one-off tracks” that were all collaborations with friends.

WSN: Could you describe your inspiration and creative process behind the album?

Getz: I really wanted to write an album that went beyond a traditional love song or personally focused album and looked at the struggles and the daily lives and the beautiful moments of women that I’ve known and inherited from. I made the album with my partner and my co-producer, he also plays bass on the album, named Almog Sharvit. We worked on it over a three-year period, so it took a while. We first laid down the band portion of it — which is bass, drums, guitar — and then we did a bunch of post production work in our studio, including adding keys, background vocals and glockenspiel. We had a really talented friend play saxophone, and I also got to work with a wonderful Brooklyn-based string quartet called Bergamot Quartet. It was a big collaboration of many friends and colleagues who I really admire coming in and making the album what it is. It was a long process and I’m really glad it’s out.

Getz also has taken on an opportunity to make a music video for “Fantasies,” a song on her album, alongside director and producer Margot Bennett. From there, she found a passion to mend musical and visual storytelling as an art director.

As she starts to work on her second album, Getz plans to write songs about love and intimate relationships, the themes she said she tried to deviate from in her first album. While Getz has performed around New York City for years, she also hopes to tour around the West Coast and eventually take part in nationwide performances while opening for other artists.

WSN: What advice do you have for budding musicians at NYU? 

Getz: New York is full of opportunities and NYU is also full of opportunities. As much as you can, stay open to those and just grab them when they come — whether that’s hopping up on stage and singing a song even when you’re feeling really nervous, or putting a record out into the world even when you may have all kinds of thoughts about how it feels to share that — then there’s a lot of possibility in the city.

Contact Aashna Miharia at [email protected].

Leave a comment
About the Contributor
Aashna Miharia
Aashna Miharia, Deputy News Editor
Aashna Miharia is a first-year studying journalism and public policy with a minor in business studies. She’s from the Boston area and a novelist, coffee enthusiast and lover of independent bookstores. You can usually find her listening to an audiobook while wandering around New York City or on Instagram @aashnamiharia.

Comments (0)

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *