Amanda has a passion for music and a love of spreading positivity through song, she began to perform at local coffee shops at 13 and posted a few song demos online. Once a strong local and social media following began to develop, this turned into performing at larger venues in her hometown of Portland. Amanda’s voice is distinctive and it lends the perfect edge to her lyrics.
TNWU was able to catch up with Amanda this week to find out a little more about her music and lifestyle.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today, it is always a pleasure for me to talk to up and coming musical talent. Congratulations on your EP and your upcoming video. I went ahead and clicked through some of your videos on your YouTube channel and really like your song “My Goodbye”.
Thank you so much.
I understand that it’s about grief and loss, at least that’s what I’m taking away from the song, why did you decide to do a lyric video for this song in particular?
Well, it… you know it was kind of a tricky song to make a music video for and I wanted to really have people focus on the words and the meaning of the song. So we went with the simple lyric video where it is as if you are driving through the country reflecting and thinking. That’s how we decided what to do for the video.
It really did highlight the lyrics to the song really well. I especially liked the way the background was blurred with the lyrics written over those images.
Thank you! I’m really glad you noticed that and like that part.
It did make your lyrics stand out and it gave the viewer a feeling of life passing you by, if that makes any kind of sense. The movement didn’t distract from the lyrics, but enhanced the lyrics. I think that’s hard to achieve so good job.
Thank you again, we worked really hard on it (the video).
I’ve read that you like to accentuate the positive with your music, so will you share with us how music has positively influenced your life?
Through high school, I wasn’t super social so I really just focused on my music and I had my little group of friends that we would listen to and talk about our favorite bands. It was like my little niche. It’s been a part of my life that’s been really strong.
Do you also play an instrument(s) as well as sing?
Yes, I play the guitar. I started playing that… I think I was eleven when I got my first guitar and yeah, it’s super fun. I love playing acoustic sets – that’s my favorite thing to do.
If you could decide exactly what your audiences would take away from your songs, what would that be?
Just that, that they can do anything and that there’s hope. You know being a teenager I know most of my audience are tweens in middle school and they always tell me about hard times they’re going through and that my songs can make their day better. So just that message of hope and that everything will be okay is something that I really want to portray with my songs.
That’s a noble goal for sure! So you got your guitar at eleven and you had your friends at school who were also interested in music; when did you think, decide that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
(laughs) Definitely in middle school is when I started taking it seriously. I was in like seventh grade and I loved the Jonas Brothers so I went in and recorded my first demos. That was kind of like my turning point. I was like, ‘okay, I really want to try and do this and make it a big part of my life.’
Wow, you were really very young and quite focused at a really young age. That is pretty amazing. So many people, including me, don’t have nearly that kind of focus on their future when they’re that young. My next question was going to be, did you first just dip your toes in the water to check the temperature or did you just jump in and it sounds like you just jumped in with a full commitment to your music.
Yeah, I mean I was playing smaller shows – mostly like coffee shops and that kind of stuff up until I was seventeen. That’s when I started opening for other people and playing larger scale venues so it was a slow start at first, but then I kind of jumped in at the end of high school and I didn’t look back.
I don’t know, I’d have to say that just the fact that you were playing solo sets while you were in high school is kind of jumping right in! That is really impressive, plus you wrote your own songs as well.
Yeah, I write and I co-write with people so it’s always fun and new. I can learn a lot from other writers.
Yeah, I think that’s true for anyone doing any kind of writing. It’s really fun to take on a challenge that helps you get out of your comfort zone.
Yes, and I have… up until a couple of years ago, I was pretty shy and reserved. I remember going into my first real writing session in LA and I just felt so uncomfortable, but by the end of that weekend, I felt like a completely different person. It was just a great experience.
It sounds like you gained some self-confidence with that experience. How old were you when you wrote your first song?
I was in second grade. Up until first grade, I didn’t really talk. Then I had this really great teacher and she got me into writing poetry and so my mom would have me going to do poetry readings in first grade and that turned into songwriting. So, it’s been kind of a long time.
What was that first song about? Do you remember?
(laughs) It was about horses and about bullying. I wrote it for a school assembly and that was my little thing.
That shows such focus and determination! I was all over the board at that age. I know that you went to LA to work with Morgan Dorr and John Keefe (Boys Like Girls) for this EP. You’ve mentioned how much confidence that experience gave you, but did you notice a difference with how things came together when you were working with other people?
I’m the kind of person that will start a song or a project and will then start fifty others at the same time and never go back and finish the first thing that I started. (laughs). So going in with them, it was like, ‘OK, we’re going to go ahead and start on this song and get it completely done today in this amount of time,’ so no one was leaving the room and saying, ‘oh, we’ll come back to this later.’ It put me in a different mindset which was really good for me.
Do you think that this is something that you’ll be able to carry on?
Yeah, for sure. It’s… yeah, definitely. The whole experience of working with them on the EP… they were super professional and it was a really fast paced environment and things were just really smooth with the recording process which kind of gave me a new perspective on how cohesive my songwriting and produced songs should flow.
What was the most important thing that they were able to teach you?
There was a part of the song on my EP called “Wait For Me Tonight” they wanted me to just belt it out and I was just so uncomfortable, I didn’t think I could do it! (laughs). They just kept having me keep trying it… when I finally hit the notes they were like, ‘we told you that you could do it!’ I was pretty proud of myself in that moment for being able to pull that off since it was so out of my comfort zone.
It is a really good song and your voice is very strong so I’m glad that they were able to encourage you to go ahead and give it your all. Your voice carried well and it did work well with both the lyrics and the feel of the video.
Thank you, I appreciate that.
You are from Portland; do you still live in that area?
Yes, I do.
Portland is a great place for a lot of different reasons – so green, so energetic and the people seem pretty nice and very outgoing. The question here is being as young as you were when you first started playing in those coffee houses, do you think that the support that Portland and its residents gave you was helpful as you were starting this career? Did you feel like the city itself was behind you?
Yes! I don’t think I’d be as far as I am now if I didn’t live in Portland. The music scene is awesome for my genre and it has literally been the best platform I could ask for because everybody has been so committed to coming to shows and supporting local artists. Especially as they get bigger and start playing shows out of state. I definitely feel that Portland has helped me in my career a lot.
Do you think you could see yourself moving out to LA or say Austin, Nashville – one of these other music cities?
I actually really want to move to LA. I’m hoping that I can be out there within the next year and a half. I love LA and I have lots of friends there so it would be a nice change. I’d always know I could come back to Portland, but it’s fun.
It seems to me that any artist who goes to different places – to live, to visit – gathers up little pieces of those places that eventually find expression in their art. This is something that I feel helps people grow artistically.
Yeah, for sure. Portland is really diverse, but it’s cool to live here and travel to LA and different places and since I’ve… because Portland is so different and…. Weird I guess people would say compared to a lot of states. Nothing seems weird when I go to other places. In LA I’m just like… people always ask, ‘aren’t you scared to go to LA by yourself?’ I’m like, ‘no, I live in Portland, I’ve seen it all.’ (laughs).
I think it’s really great that the city of Portland itself and the people you’ve been playing for have gotten so firmly behind you. I think that that kind of support can mean a lot as you move forward in a career – knowing that you have that bedrock underneath you. I read that you’ve said you would like to collaborate with Will Anderson of Parachute and/or Nick Jonas. What kind of songs do you think would result from these collaborations?
You know, probably like an acoustic style pop song… but they’re both such strong writers that I would be open to experimenting with indie-pop or indie-rock just because I think we could come up with something really cool and unique. Everything they write is amazing so that would be my dream.
Hopefully, you’ll get the chance at some point!
I’m crossing my fingers.
I’ll keep mine crossed for you as well. Anything can happen. Where would you like to see yourself in say, 5 – 10 years from now? Have you given any thought to that?
I definitely want to be touring and have a solid sound and lots of music released. Within five years I’d like to have a lot of tours under my belt, be able to travel a lot and then in ten years I’ve love to be living in LA and be able to co-write and collaborate with a lot of other artists. I’d also like to begin to dive into the production side of things. I’d would love that.
Is there anything you wish somebody would ask you that no one has asked yet?
(laughs). Um, really no… I’m really kind of bad at the weird questions.
That’s okay, not every question needs an answer! We call ourselves Talk Nerdy With Us and we are all proud of our nerd proclivities. What is it about you that qualifies you to Talk Nerdy?
You know, I’m a total fangirl for One Direction and the Jones Brothers – that’s like my little inner nerdy thing. (laughs). I’ll even admit to loving One Direction in a room full of people who love Metallica so I think that’s my little quirky fun thing that makes me Talk Nerdy!
Fangirls definitely qualify!!!! All of us at Talk Nerdy With Us fangirl or boy over something or someone. We cover a lot of ground between us (laughs).
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