Five Questions With Amanda Kind

Ontario-based singer-songwriter, Amanda Kind is back from an almost decade-long hiatus with the release of her alt-pop single, “easier”, which came out on July 9. On top of this, she will also be releasing a country duet, “We’re Okay” with Stratford singer James Downham comes out on Friday, July 23.

Amanda shares that the single, “easier” is a viscerally emotional alt-pop ballad about the intersection of grief and rejection.

“When someone dies, there is a finality to the grief experience, but when someone actively chooses to leave, that grief is combined with intense rejection and the knowledge that that person is still out there living in the world. “easier” explores that unique sense of pain and loss.”

With a creaking piano and soaring strings, the song rides the line between adult contemporary and indie alt-pop. “easier” is produced and co-written by Sam Hillifer at Hillifer Studios in Kitchener with piano by Matt Koebel and strings by Steve Lehmann in Waterloo. The song was mastered by Mike Hillier at Metropolis Studios in London, UK.

Check out the lyric video for “easier” below, and find out more about Amanda via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hey Canadian Beats readers. This is Amanda Kind. I’m a singer, songwriter, and vocal coach originally from White Rock, British Columbia, now living in Waterloo, Ontario. I’m 41 and coming back to writing and releasing music after a decade hiatus. I’ve spent most of my time over the last 10 years working with other artists as a vocal coachwork that I love and am incredibly passionate about. There is something hugely rewarding about helping another artist grow and develop their voice. That said, I missed working on my own music. I felt burned out and ultimately needed to learn a powerful lesson in self-care. After years of teaching my students to claim their space, use their voices, and ‘do what you love, no matter what’, I realized that these were lessons that I needed to apply in my own life. You have to practice what you preach, and it was time for me to step up. I feel vulnerable trying to re-establish myself after so many years away, but I also know that if I don’t do it, I’ll live with regret. Some might call this a midlife crisis, but I prefer to think of it as my midlife wake-up call. I love Brené Brown, and I feel like I am currently living her quote: “Midlife: when the Universe grabs you by the shoulders and tells you ‘I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.’” So, I’m stepping into the arena. It’s messy and complicated and wonderful.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

My music has run the gamut of genres over the years. My first album was pop/rock-centric. Then I spent some time in the jazz world; I released a jazz version of the Oasis hit “Wonderwall” a few years ago with pianist Jason White. I’ve been writing mostly pop and country recently. I’m lucky to have many fellow artist friends in a variety of genres, so I find myself exploring different styles often. I think I’m happiest wherever there is a powerful melody and compelling story.

My writing style is constantly evolving. I do a lot of reading about songwriting, so I change my tactics frequently. These days, I often start writing with a few lyrics or the title of a song. Usually, that kernel is what pops other ideas into my mind. I write on my own every day, even if it’s just one line. I also spend a lot of time collaborating with other songwriters working on material for myself and for others. For me, lyrics and melody are intrinsically connected; when I read a lyric, I usually hear some kind of melody right away. We all have creative habits, so I like to challenge my melodic skills by singing poems as an exercise. I find a poem on the internet or in a book and improvise by creating melodies for the lines. Because I haven’t written those words, sometimes the flow of the lines is different than what I would traditionally write, and it helps to push me to come up with melodic ideas outside my norm. If I come up with something cool, then I take that melody and write my own lyrics to it. Right now, I’ve been using the book “heartstrings” by Toronto author Clarice Goetz. She’s got some beautiful poems in there that lend themselves so well to music.

How have you been keeping creative during the Pandemic?

The pandemic has been life-changing for me. Before COVID-19 hit, I was run-ragged doing 16-hour days on a regular basis. I was fried and lost, but I hadn’t really accepted that or become truly aware of it. I would say that I was in a fog of busyness. My hectic schedule was disrupted when live music and entertainment came to a halt. At first, I was devastated, and then I realized that it was an opportunity for me to do some serious self-reflection. I’m now grateful for the time I’ve had to re-examine how I was spending my energy. Finding my way back to songwriting and releasing new music has been an essential gateway to happiness. I am the best version of myself as a person in general and as a voice coach because I’m filling my own creative cup. It has allowed me to support others even more effectively and passionately than before. It’s amazing how many ways we have to learn the hard lesson that taking care of ourselves is actually best for everyone, including those who rely on us.

There have been many dark moments during this pandemic, but one of the bright lights has been connecting with other artists virtually in online songwriting groups. With no live gigs, suddenly there was all this time to write. I’ve been meeting tons of new people and voraciously collaborating. There are SO MANY incredible artists and songwriters in Canada. I’m constantly blown away by the level of talent. A surprise for me has been delving into the country world. I’ve been writing with some great country artists. At the end of this month, I’m doing a guest feature on a duet with my friend James Downham, an awesome country singer from Stratford. We met in a virtual songwriting group and hit it off immediately. We worked on a tune together with fellow songwriters Carrie DeMaeyer and Matt Koebel and it turned into this pretty cool duet. I’ve never sung country before, but I have a lot of voice clients in that genre. It’s been fun for me to explore that side of my voice. That song, “We’re Okay”, will be released on July 23. You can pre-save it HERE.

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

Right now, I would love for people to listen to my new single “easier”, which came out July 9. It’s a cathartic (hopefully), melancholic pop ballad about the intersection of grief and rejection. When someone dies, there’s a finality to the grief. But, when someone leaves your life and is still out there living in the world, it creates a unique combination of loss and hurt. Somehow, we figure out how to keep living, but it’s strange and difficult to process that pain. I’ve heard it said that grief doesn’t shrink over time, instead, we expand our world and grow around it, so it becomes more bearable. That makes a lot of sense to me. But for a while, it feels like a piece of you is missing as you figure out how to cope with the hole. “easier” explores that feeling. Someone important left my life a few years ago. Songwriting is a form of therapy for me, and I feel like writing “easier” has helped me process the sadness of that situation. I hope it will strike a chord for others who have experienced the dissolution of an important relationship in a similar way.

Listen to easier HERE.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

I love so many styles of music and so many Canadian artists. Right now, I can’t get enough of Angel Baribeau’s song “Wish We Were Older” – I love the vibe and wistful lyrics; their whole EP is stunning. I’m really into country this summer and two songs that are getting a lot of play for me are “Love Me” by Lydia Sutherland and “Maybe It’s Me” by Tyler Joe Miller. I’ve been a huge fan of Alanis Morisette, Jann Arden, and Celine Dion since I was a kid – those women helped shape who I am as a singer. I love the ferocity of “You Oughta Know.” the fragility of “Insensitive,” and the sheer power of “All By Myself.” I am also into the new Justin Bieber album; “Hold On” is a particularly fun jam. And when I feel like dancing in my kitchen, I turn up “Cut To The Feeling” by Carly Rae Jepsen or “Man, I Feel Like A Woman” by Shania Twain. Who doesn’t love singing “Oh, oh, oh, go totally crazy, Forget I’m a lady, Men’s shirts, short skirts, Oh, oh, oh, really go wild, Yeah, doin’ it in style” at the top of their lungs into a spatula? Come on.

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