Inspired by the likes of Sia and Florence and the Machine, Amanda Lyons has, since she began performing in 2011, always had big dreams. Now, with a growing fanbase and an EP earning her rave reviews, she's well on her way to achieving them.
Ahead of releasing the video for her new single "Waiting For", which PopWrapped are delighted to premiere, Amanda kindly agreed to this interview to chat inspirations, similarities to Shakira and dreams of jamming with the New York Philharmonic.
PW: Please sum yourself up in five words.
Amanda Lyons: Creative. Determined. Hard-working. Ethereal. Real.
PW: How would you describe your music?
AL: A delicious mix of electronic and pop. Light, yet powerful. Indie, yet commercial.
PW: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up, and have they changed as you've gotten older?
AL: I used to love a lot of fun R&B actually -- and still do -- but it, quite honestly, was better written back then. A couple years ago, when I began seriously singing, I became interested in powerful female voices, like Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Shakira, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, etc. I became more interested in the actual music at hand and the way these women effectively use their voices in music. I became more analytical about the whole shebang.
PW: How do those influences impact what you do as an artist?
AL: It makes you want to do better. It makes you want to emote more. A question I constantly ask myself includes: How is it that they can be so vocally efficient yet convey that sort of powerful emotion? Ultimately, I always want that for my audience. Without that, what do you have? Why even create?
PW: Is there any artist out there you would say you're most similar to?
AL: Some people say they hear a Shakira tone in my powerful notes … I'm not completely sure. I hope I stand out as just -- and definitively -- Amanda Lyons.
PW: When did you first realise that you wanted to make music a career? Was there any particular record you listened to or concert you saw that made you think, 'Yeah, I want to do that!'?
AL: There was no particular record. I had lost my design job after the economic downfall of 2008, and I turned to music. It sort of naturally developed for me. I would sing a capella videos into my Mac laptop at the time, and I would post the raw cuts on Facebook with some going on YouTube. I ended up getting a really good response. I thought to myself: "This music thing is kinda fun." Then, I started writing a lot.
PW: Did you ever have any other career ambitions, or has it always been music?
AL: Along with music, I have always been in the field of design and continue to be. I'm just one of those creative freaks.
PW: Tell me about your new single, "Waiting For".
AL: It's a beautiful tune, if I may say so myself. It sort of has this ambiguity to it, which I love. There is no real "right answer" at the end of it. And I think, for a lot of us, this is just how life goes. There's beauty in everything if you look for it, yet we don't always know what's coming next - and that can be scary sometimes.
PW: Is there a story behind the song?
AL: I'd like for the audience to interpret that.
PW: Tell me about the video.
AL: We basically ran around town in in Hoboken, NJ. The lovely director on the project, Jonathan Hinterberger, dragged me out at 5 am for a sunrise shoot -- but, God, was it worth it! The shots are gorgeous. Jonathan did a great job of really listening to my initial ideas and the song and created this effortless, artistic vibe for the video. I'm really happy with the end result.
PW: Is creating videos something you enjoy and get really hands on with, or do you prefer to let your team and crew do their thing?
AL: I enjoy them, but they're also a bit stressful. It's your art. I like to throw my ideas out in the beginning, but, ultimately, I like the director and crew to take over. I've learned over the years -- and after a few videos -- that you should really let professionals do what they do. No one is here trying to tell me how to sing or what lyric to write. This is about letting someone handle their vision and execute it properly. It's also fun to see people's twist on my music. Solid, healthy collaborations are always utmost goal for me.
PW: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Does it depend on the subject matter?
AL: The more stressed or in pain I am, the better! Ha! Isn't that the same for a lot of artists? No, but really -- I like to dig deep. You have to. And, yes, it depends on the subject matter. For sure.
PW: How do you think your song-writing has developed and evolved over time?
AL: I used to write too much -- crowd songs with unnecessary lyrics. I've learned to simplify over the years. It's becoming more about emotion and feeling.
PW: If you could have written any song, by any artist, living or dead, which would it be, and why?
AL: "Porcelain" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It's just so raw and good. Period. It's the song that catapulted me to where I am. It moved me and inspired me so much to do what I'm doing now.
PW: Are there plans for an EP/album in the pipeline, and, if so, what can you tell me about it?
AL: I put out an EP a few months ago. I'm proud of it. I just think there's more to come -- better stuff on the way. I'm hooked up with some pretty dope producers now in Williamsburg.
PW: Of the shows you've played so far, could you choose the most memorable?
AL: They're all great. Any time I can connect with my audience, they're successes.
PW: What are your tour and performance plans for the next few months?
AL: We shall see what happens!
PW: What can people expect from a live show of yours?
AL: To chill the heck out.
PW: Are there any plans for you to head out across Europe anytime soon?
AL: I would love to but, unfortunately, not at the moment.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media, and would you agree bands and artists need to be socially interactive in order to get ahead and build a fanbase?
AL: I definitely do. It's a blessing and a curse, but, in order to connect properly, you have to be "out there."
PW: What else does 2016 have in store for you?
AL: Making more music and connecting with like-minded musicians and artists.
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition? At what point would you be able to say "I've fulfilled all my dreams?"
AL: I would love to jam with the New York Philharmonic, to get down and dirty with it. Then, maybe, I've made it.
Check out the video to "Waiting For" below, and, for more information on Amanda, be sure to give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram. You can also view more of her videos on YouTube and listen to more of her music on Soundcloud.