British Columbia-born, Ontario-based singer-songwriter Amanda Kind has released her new single, “easier”, which ends with a namesake question, “Does it get easier?”
It’s a musing we’ve all wrestled with amidst the throes of heartbreak, and the new song — “easier,” stylized in the humble lowercase tradition of e.e. cummings — explores the more complex query of how to grieve the loss of someone who’s still living.
Based on a personal experience she describes as “the intersection of grief and rejection,” Amanda experienced a difficult break-up that wasn’t her choice. “Knowing that someone you love(d) is out there in the world, happier without you, is a complicated pain,” she shares. “I kept thinking, ‘does it get easier?’
“That question turned into a refrain.”
With a lyric video and cover art that make use of ocean imagery, Amanda belts her alt-pop ballad out with a bold, full-bodied confidence over elegant piano and strings. Listeners feel the engulfing pain, riding the waves of courage needed to move forward, before being enveloped in the searing heartache all over again; Amanda Kind’s voice soars above the choppy waters, the horizon always in sight, until she finds resolve.
Grappling with her own grief, Amanda found relief and answers through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Because of this, it was important for her to find a collaborator who understood the power of therapy, and she connected with songwriter and producer Sam Hillifer (JP Sunga, Safe as Houses, Will Currie and the Country French).
As personal as the song is, the two considered many iterations of loss while writing “easier.”
“We talked about all the kinds of loss where the other person is still out there living in the world: Divorce. One-sided break-ups. Losing someone slowly to dementia or Alzheimer’s. Fractured friendships. Broken families,” she recalls of the process. Essentially, “the scenarios where you thought that person would always be in your life, and now they aren’t.”
Writing “easier” proved a cathartic and essential gateway to healing for Amanda. “Ironically, it helped me process the pain and made it easier to accept,” she says. “I hope it will strike a chord with others who have experienced the dissolution of an important relationship.
“It’s a special kind of grief.”
Check out the lyric video for “easier” below, and find out more about Amanda via our mini-interview.
Care to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hey Canadian Beats readers. Amanda Kind here. I’m a singer, songwriter, and vocal coach from Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve been releasing tons of music lately after a very long break. In the process of writing and recording this new material, I’ve been unboxing myself when it comes to genre. The new songs I’ve been working on have been everything from alt-pop and adult contemporary to country and rock. We live in this wonderful time where, as a society, we are rethinking limiting beliefs and structures. I love that we are expanding and removing gender stereotypes and I feel the same way about genres of music. I want to be free to follow my creative inspiration – one day that might be something slow and moody in the pop vein, and the next day, it could be something with a kickass country vibe. That’s all part of who I am as an artist. I love Lady Gaga and Ella Fitzgerald as much as I love Shania Twain and Alanis Morisette. In the past, we put artists and music lovers into narrow categories and I think we’re coming to understand that people are more layered and eclectic than we give them credit for. At least that’s what I’m hoping for. Over the next few months, I am releasing a number of singles that are all pretty different. My first single “easier” is a piano ballad all about the intersection of grief and rejection. If I had to liken it to anything, I would say it’s a little bit Sody, and a little bit Adele – if you like that music, you’ll probably like “easier.”
Listen to “easier” here.
Tell us about the writing and recording process behind ” easier”?
Writing “easier” was hugely cathartic in a variety of ways. It was the first complete song I wrote for myself after several years on hiatus, so it helped open the floodgates and reignite my writing muscles. I had written fragments and ideas during my time off, but nothing that was fully fleshed out. The song is based on a personal experience of losing someone really important in my life. This person chose to walk away and left a hole in my world. As I was processing my pain, I kept thinking “does it get easier?” and that thought turned into the refrain of the song. I am a big fan of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and I used my CBT experience to help navigate my feelings of grief and rejection. I was careful about choosing a producer who would be able to empathize and dig deep emotionally. I am lucky that I connected with Sam Hillifer who is also really into CBT and other therapies. Our mutual understanding of emotional language helped us explore many kinds of loss when writing “easier”: Divorce. Break-ups. Losing someone slowly to dementia or Alzheimer’s. Fractured friendships. Broken families. All the scenarios where you thought that that person would always be there and now they aren’t. Musically we tried to fill it with melodic phrasing and instrumentation that ebbs and flows through the waves of emotions you experience when you grieve. If you are interested in hearing more about the writing and recording process, we delved into it on a recent Instagram live chat.
Watch it here.
What was the highlight of 2020?
Getting back to writing and recording music has been the highlight for me. Before the pandemic, my life was a vortex of busyness. I was always on the go running from one commitment to the next. I felt overwhelmed and yet unfulfilled at the same time, but there was no chance to stop, breathe, and reevaluate. There have been many low points during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a benefit for many people, me included, has been the gift of time and space to reflect. The slower pace allowed me to come back to music and offered me the amazing opportunity to reconnect with many musician friends and make so many new ones online in virtual writing groups. This country is loaded with incredible talents. One of my goals this year has been to discover a new indie musician/song every week and I am constantly blown away by the music I hear. Canada has great music. Period.
What do you hope to accomplish in your career in 2021?
2020 was focused on writing music and 2021 is focused on releasing music (and more writing). “easier” is the first of several songs that I am hoping to get out into the world this year. It came out on July 9 and the response has been better than I ever could have imagined. That said, while I have specific goals, I also have a “follow your arrow” attitude that is allowing me to be open to new possibilities. I’ve hit the point in my life where I love the unexpected things that are coming my way. One of the best surprises this year has been an unlikely collaboration with country artist James Downham. We met in a virtual songwriting group and hit it off immediately. We worked together on a tune called “We’re Okay” with fellow songwriters Carrie DeMaeyer and Matt Koebel and it turned into this epic duet. The song was released on July 23 and we’ve been blown away by the reception. “We’re Okay” has been picked up by SiriusXM and a bunch of other country stations. The theme of the song centres around the idea that when couples work together and stick together, they can get through anything. The main hook is “As long as I have you, we’re okay,” and I think that has resonated with a lot of people during this pandemic.
Listen to “We’re Okay” here.
You’ve said you have more music coming up. What are you most excited about?
The music video for “easier” is in the works with an incredible contemporary dancer named Christine Watson Middleton. It shoots this month. I am excited about sharing that and creating a visual experience to complement the song. Then, my new pop single called “Take Take Take” comes out in late September. It’s got a really fun 2000s Robyn vibe that I love. Plus, there’s another country single coming. I’m excited about a lot of things. 2021 has been a great year.
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.