Tuesday, 7 February 2017

INTERVIEW: Amanda Sadler

Amanda Sadler released her new single “Drop The Needle Down” on January 20, 2017. Produced in Nashville, the single is a co-written collaboration between Amanda, Dave “Dwave” Thomson (Lady Antebellum, Autumn Hill) and Patricia Conroy. The single is a perfect example of Amanda’s unique contemporary sound while staying true to the romantic tones of country music. Sadler, classically trained in both piano and vocals, sings about catching a moment in time and revelling in that simple memory. “Drop The Needle Down” is Sadler’s follow-up to her debut EP The Light, released in 2015.

She's Gone Country chatted with Amanda about her musical influences, her love of country music and the sometimes not-so-glamourous places she has had to prep for a show!

She's Gone Country: What is the song writing process like? What inspires you?

Amanda Sadler: Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere, so I’ve learned to keep my mind open to it at all times. Anything from a line in a movie to a conversation with a friend can spark the next great idea. The beauty in the process of song writing is that it’s never the same twice. Some songs end up being written over a number of years, and others seem to write themselves in less than an hour.

SGC: As a multi-instrumentalist, what is your favourite to play during performances? Do you have an instrument of choice for song writing?

AS: Guitar definitely allows for the most flexibility for me as a performer when I’m doing a live show, but I absolutely love when I can do a song or two on the piano live – it adds a whole new dimension to a performance, and can help to create a pretty significant moment in a live show. I like to think of piano as my first musical language since I’ve been playing since I was about 6, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart.

I switch back and forth between piano and guitar in my song writing quite frequently – changing an instrument out can often allow you to approach an idea and a song from an entirely new angle, so being able to switch from one to another has been invaluable in my song writing process.

SGC: What is it about country music that really speaks to you?

AS: I fell in love with the story telling aspect of country music at an early age, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I remember the first time I heard “Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, I knew I wanted to write songs that could evoke that much emotion in just a few minutes.

SGC: As someone who began performing as a child, is there a moment you can remember, when you knew that you were going to focus on music professionally?

AS: If you asked 5-year-old Amanda what she wanted to be when she grew up, the answer would be exactly the same 20 years later. I knew what I was passionate about and set about pursuing it from a very young age. The defining moment for me, though, was when I graduated from Queen’s University in 2012, and had to make the official decision that this was what I was going to pursue as a career – easiest decision I’ve ever made.

SGC: How does it feel to have such a supportive and thriving country music scene in Canada?

AS: Being a part of the Canadian country music community is such a privilege, and something that still amazes me on a daily basis. There are so many incredible people that I’ve met and worked with along the way, and it definitely feels more like a family than an industry.

SGC: Having worked on some of your music in Nashville, how do you think the country music scene there differs from back home?

AS: The wonderful thing about Nashville is that it has become such a gathering place for so many incredibly talented people, so there are countless wonderful musicians to work with in just a few miles radius. There are just as equally talented musicians and writers here in Canada, but unfortunately some of them are spread across the country, rather than all packed into one vibrant little city. I’ve been lucky enough to do quite a bit of Skype-writing over the years with some of my favourite writers across Canada to make up for the distance. I do think that the market for and love of country music is just as strong here as it is down South, and I’m so thankful to have had such a wonderful reception to my music here in Canada.

SGC: You just released “Drop the Needle Down.” What has the experience been like so far? How has the reception been?

AS: The process of creating and releasing “Drop The Needle Down” has been something like a dream. I’ve gotten to work with some of the people I look up to and respect most in the industry, and I’m absolutely over the moon with what we’ve created and reception it’s been receiving. The song creates a moment of simplicity where your whole world can revolve around a single person and a song and everything else momentarily fades away, and I think that’s a very universal concept. I’m so incredibly grateful to the team that’s been with me during the creation and release of this single, especially to my two wonderful co-writers, Dave Thomson and Patricia Conroy.

SGC: You funded your EP The Light through Kickstarter. What do you think of crowd funding as a tool, especially for musicians?

AS: I had such a wonderful experience using Kickstarter for my crowd-funding campaign, and I can’t rave enough about the whole concept. It has opened up a whole new opportunity for fans to be involved in the creation process, and makes the experience of supporting musicians and their projects so much more personal. I personally believe that crowd funding has bridged a gap and allowed for a much more collaborative process in the creation of music, and I’m so incredibly grateful to everyone who supported me in that journey.

SGC: What can people look forward to hearing from you next?

AS: I’m absolutely over the moon about the new music I’ve been writing and recording, and I’m eager to keep sharing it! I can promise that there will be a lot more of it coming out very soon that I’m equally as passionate about – stay tuned!

SGC: Do you have any fun stories or fan encounters that you can share from your adventures so far?

AS: One of the most rewarding things as an artist and especially as a songwriter is when someone falls in love with your song on a personal level. I was lucky enough to be a part of a fantastic songwriter’s round in Vancouver at the start of my recent cross-country radio tour, and had a wonderful lady approach me afterward wanting to play my single “Drop The Needle Down” at her daughter’s wedding. That moment right there is exactly why I do what I do.

SGC: What is the best and worst part of being a country performer?

AS: The best: getting to share music that I’m passionate about with so many wonderful people. The worst: that time I had to put on fake eyelashes in an outhouse at one of my shows.

SGC: What advice would you give to musicians who are considering pursuing a career professionally?

AS: Rewards gained come from risks taken. Creating something great and becoming someone that stands out from the crowd can only be achieved by putting it all out on the line.

SGC: You are quite active on social media and regularly reply to fans on Twitter. How important is social media as a tool to connect with your fans?

AS: Social media has become an invaluable tool for me. I’m such a people person, and I’m very passionate about connecting with fans and others in the industry, so I’m grateful that we have such an incredible means to not only stay connected, but also make so many wonderful new connections and discover new music so easily.

SGC: Is there an artist that you would have loved to get a Tweet from when you were a kid?

AS: Shania Twain. Hands down.

SGC: What's on your iPod/phone? Who have you been listening to lately that you think people should check out?

AS: Right now I’m obsessed with anything by Ryan Hurd. “We Do Us” and “Love in a Bar” are two favourites. I’m also big on anything by Maren Morris – huge respect for that girl. Her song “Sugar” has been on repeat for a while on my playlists. I’m also constantly listening to Donovan Woods – one of the best songwriters to ever come out of Canada, in my opinion.

SGC: What was the last picture you took on your phone?

AS: A fancy dinner I made last night! I’m a huge foodie and I love to cook for other people.

SGC: What is the best compliment you have ever received?

AS: Being told that a song I wrote is someone’s favourite and that they’ve had it on repeat for days.

SGC: What would you say has been one of the coolest moments/highlights in your career that really made you realize you had chosen the right path for yourself?

AS: You know the “butterflies” feeling that people talk about having when they were 13 and had a really big crush on someone? I get that every time I hear one of my songs recorded for the first time. Definitely a constant reminder that I’m doing exactly what I should be doing.

SGC: And last but not least, is there a question that you have always wanted to be asked, maybe rehearsed your answer in the mirror, and no one has ever asked it? Here's your big chance!

AS: “Why did you want to be a songwriter and an artist?” Shockingly, no one has EVER asked me that, and the answer is very simple. There are certain songs that have changed my life, and I want to write and sing a song that can change someone else’s life. For me, that’s so much more than enough.

For more information on Amanda Sadler, visit: www.amandasadler.com

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