For years, Marsha Ambrosius played the frumpy, knitted-cap U.K. songbird alongside the Floacist's conscious rhymer in Floetry. But as a solo artist, Ms. Ambrosius is decidedly different. Embracing the airbrushed look of contemporary R&B, her new image drew consternation among fans, until they heard her solo debut, Late Nights and Early Mornings. Ambrosius grew up in Liverpool, England, and met Londoner Natalie "the Floacist" Stewart while playing competitive basketball. When an injury forced her to shift priorities, she teamed with Stewart to form Floetry in 1997. (She also notched an early songwriting credit with Michael Jackson's 2001 hit "Butterflies.") The group eventually released 2002's Floetic and 2005's Flo'Ology. Then the former childhood friends endured a protracted and messy split while Ambrosius signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath imprint in 2006. She spent the next few years developing solo material while appearing on sessions for Nas, Macy Gray, Jamie Foxx, the Game, Wale and others. By 2009, Ambrosius had left Aftermath and signed with J Records. A 2010 hit single, "Far Away," preceded the 2011 release of Late Nights and Early Mornings, which surprised and delighted many by debuting at No. 1.