An In-Depth Interview With
A product of our beloved Baltimore, Amanda Lynne is a natural performer with a commanding vocal presence. Amanda has been a part of many local and regional bands throughout her music career, including The Ron Holloway Band. Today, however, she is focusing on her career as a solo artist. After the riots here in town in May 2015, Amanda wrote “Charm City Blues,” her debut single. Check out what she had to say about her musical upbringing, highlights in her career and future plans below.
Your bio says that you connect with the blues more than other genres. Why do you think that is?
What I love most about music is its ability to tap into emotions, and there is so much feeling in the blues. I love songs that tell a story, and there’s something about the simplicity of the blues that really allows for the story to be emphasized, not only lyrically but in the expressiveness of solos.
How does it feel to be invited back for a second year in a row to sing the National Anthem for the Orioles at Camden Yards?
I just love Baltimore! The energy in Camden Yards is incredible. From the amazing staff there to the supportive fans, people are always very warm and go out of their way to thank me for performing there. I’m also very humbled to be able to sing our national anthem so close to where it was written. I think about that every time; being on a ship in our harbor as the battle raged through the night, then seeing the American flag fly high at dawn as the dust cleared! And of course the crowd yelling “Oh!” is the best part.
When did you first realize that you wanted to pursue a career in music?
It took me a little while to realize that I wasn’t going to be better at anything else! Singing has been a part of my life for a very long time. I started in the church choir, and then I was part of the competitive choirs in middle and high school. In college, at the University of Maryland, I was in an a cappella group, but I pursued what I was advised would be a more “practical” degree than music: Communication and Public Relations. I had two internships in PR my senior year, and right about the time that I graduated, I realized that the whole Public Relations scene had a very superficial vibe that wasn’t very fulfilling, and most of the jobs didn’t even pay that well! I spent a year and a half in an administrative job that I had the skills to do, but I learned that sitting at a desk inside all day was NOT for me. I left and got my first restaurant job around the time I turned 23, and it wasn’t until then that I started to really focus more on music. The more that it’s in my life, the happier I am. I think part of that is because of the incredible people who I meet through music. I’ve been extremely blessed to have the opportunities I’ve had so far, and I’m excited to see what the future holds as I keep working to do more!
What have been some of your highlights from your music career?
Definitely one of the biggest highlights was Peach Fest 2014. it was only the second time that The Ron Holloway Band had played together, and we were joined on stage by Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, as well as Danny Louis from Gov’t Mule. I sang “The Letter,” and learned later that night that it was the first time that Derek had ever played that song. Now, every time I see Tedeschi Trucks Band play it, I think of that! I’ve had so many incredible moments through music… especially in Baltimore, where we have such an amazing and tight-knit community. Being a part of the Stevie Wonder tribute show at The 8×10 last year was so much fun. You get the best hugs at The 8×10!
Do you have a specific songwriting process?
The topic of the song always comes first. Usually, once I get the idea, the lyrics are more or less finished in two sittings, maybe three, and I have at least a partial melody in mind. Then I sit down at the keyboard, where a chord chart is thumb-tacked to the wall in front of my face, because I don’t know how to actually play the thing! Once I pick a key that sounds like it will work, I get a piece of paper, write down all of the chords in that key, and play around with progressions until I get something that captures what I’m trying to communicate with the song.
What inspires you to write music?
So far, my songs have been very directly related to events going on in my life. Music can express what you’re feeling so much better than just words can. The first time that I sat down at the keyboard to write a song by myself was when my grandmother was dying a few years ago. I had written some lyrics about a year prior, when I started visiting her more, and I knew that I needed to write a song to play for her. I finished it and played it for her before she passed, but she was no longer able to respond to anything. It taught me that I can write songs on my own, and I think that because of that experience, I’m now much better at finishing songs once I get the idea for them.
What makes you proud to be a woman in music?
The music world can sometimes feel like a “boys club,” for sure, where women are only singers and are expected to be eye-candy on stage as well. I’m very proud to be writing my own music, like so many other women do as well! Seeing someone like Susan Tedeschi completely killing it is so inspiring. I’m constantly striving to be a better musician. I have so much to learn, and I’m grateful for every step of the way and for the women in music who encourage each other.
What makes you proud to be a woman in life?
Women are so incredibly strong. To be able to fight for a career while being a mom, as so many women do, is beyond impressive. Even doing just one or the other is a full-time job, and an uphill battle. There is too much that I could say about how proud I am to be a woman in life. I’ll sum it up with the quote, “Don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels.”
What are your plans for the rest of 2017 and beyond?
Right now, I’m in the studio working on an EP to be released in July (exact date TBD!). I’m thrilled to be working on my music with a phenomenal group of people who are not only talented musicians but all-around great human beings. I can’t claim to know my long-term plans for life, but I know who does! I’m going to work hard, be true to myself and be on the lookout for the opportunities that God sends my way and enjoy every moment of the ride!
Catch Amanda with the Amanda Lynne Band live at Femstock on June 4, 2017 at one of her favorite venues, The 8×10!