As 'army brats', Amerie - full name Amerie Marie Mi Rogers - and her sister Angela, two years her junior, moved wherever their father was stationed, including Arizona, Alaska, and the then-West Germany; she vividly remembers a trip through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin when she was a little girl.
She insists that she was inspired rather than disturbed by her parents' itinerant life: 'I enjoyed all the moving around and starting again,' she says. I've never had a problem making new friends, and the legacy of it is that I'm able to adapt very quickly to different situations.'Likewise, she maintains that her singular lineage presented her with no special difficulties.
Its not every day that you find yourself discussing C S Lewis with an R&B diva; but then, Amerie is no ordinary member of that rarefied species.
'I remember telling all my friends about Narnia when I was seven years old,' she recalls avidly. • Naomi Watts and her Baby Talk• How Halle Berry got her groove back'Oh, I love books, I always have. I always carry a couple in my bag.'It's hard to imagine Beyonce producing a well-thumbed copy of, say, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from her Hermes Birkin bag, but her love of literature is not the only thing that marks out Amerie - who also has a degree in English and fine arts from Georgetown University in Washington - from her peers.
But whatever groove I'm in, melody will always be important to me,' she adds, with a toss of her long, ink-black hair.
'I love songs you can sing along to with a hairbrush, just like I did as a kid.
I just wanted this record to feel funkier and looser.
I'd be, like, why do I have to come down on one side or the other?