Amenta - On Her Mother, Curiosity, and Sacred Places [+Excl. Free Download]
[wpcol_2third_end id="" class="" style=""] When I met Amenta last year in a cafe in London just after she'd finished at the Red Bull Music Academy, she reminded me of the actor Tom Hardy as she slid between accents in conversation without noticing - Toronto, Australian, German, English - they all seemed native to her. She told me then she was a bit of a chameleon, so I wasn't surprised to find when I listened to her new EP Sacred Places that it's a really eclectic piece. Her back story is fascinating, the daughter of Jamaican Jehovah's Witness parents who settled in Canada, she grew up between her fathers home in a farm town called Milton listening to reggae, ska & rockers, and her mothers place in a city called Mississauga just outside of Toronto where Nat King Cole and Tchaikovsky were the soundtrack. In the last few years Amenta has become a bit of a nomad, and is currently working on music in southern Spain where I caught up with her for an interview on Skype - - My mother is an amazing singer, I didn't appreciate how amazing her voice was when I was younger, and it's funny, she used to sing with me and to me and teach me a lot of Jamaican folk songs. I remember she told me once 'I really think you're tone deaf', so she's very surprised that I’m singing now. - I've been really influenced by her, she made me watch a lot of black and white films, I first started off singing musicals like Singing In The Rain and My Fair Lady, and I think I’m still kind of influenced by that kind of music. When I first started singing people would want me to sing RnB hooks and I would do what I thought sounded like a RnB hook and they would just look at me like wow, what? Have you listened to any RnB songs lately?? - Growing up I think my strongest motivating force was curiosity. I think it really was irritating for my parents, I was always getting in to something and I was very clumsy and I would ask a lot of questions, and I was very stubborn. Especially with my parents being religious, I guess they just didn't know what to do with me… I wanted to know about everything. - I was always interested in art, all different kinds. I read a lot and I wrote a lot. I wasn't allowed to have Barbies, I think I had one [my mother] got from the dollar store - you can't play with other people who have real Barbies with that plastic, hollow hairpiece. I had a pottery set and a telescope and a microscope… She wanted me to do things that were educational and stimulating. - When I was 11 I told an adult “I’m not going to get married until I’m 40, and I’m going to travel the world and I’m going to do music and I’m going to act and I’m going to be an entertainer”. Since I was small I had this idea, but as you get older things get in the way. -
I almost died in 2008, and getting through that taught me that life is precarious and it can be short, and you should really do what you want to do.-
- - Traveling comes with its difficulties, it's not always glamorous, but I find it’s worth the sacrifice, even sacrifices with relationships - it's hard to carry on one of those when you don't really live anywhere in particular. But the sacrifice is worth it because I’m doing what I love and I’m having the adventures I dreamed about as a little girl. Once I get used to it any place I am starts feeling like home… I’m still looking for a home, I’m still looking for someplace that feels right. - I got in to making music my career almost by accident. I always loved music and I always sang, whether I was good at it I didn’t know but I found it a comfort and a friend. One day I just got on Myspace and started listening to music and I would write to it, and I got a little hand held recorder off Ebay for $40 and I would record, and then one day it just occurred to me to share it. - Myspace in its heyday was amazing, it was filled with a lot of artists who were really in to the music and really hungry, and just happy to be a musician. I met fLako and Jay Scarlett on there, so many people I am still in contact with. fLako put up the songs we did together, 04500 and Do Ya, and that was the beginning of the beginning. - It was thrilling for me as I never had that confirmation from people I didn't know, that you can sing or we really enjoy this music and your voice. Coming to London and being accepted [to RBMA], with peers I really respect, it was such an amazing experience to feel like a part of something, to feel like I have an international musical family that I can call on and that can call on me. It's life changing. - I love this new EP, I separate myself from it and I enjoy it, there's a certain feeling to it. Not everyone may get it, or people may really get it and that's great, but I personally love it and know what went in to it. It's my first. I think I’m hoping people will observe that it's honest and that's its true. I always find that I appreciate an artists’ music early on because it's usually just so naked, almost like a blind effort, they're just putting out whatever they feel and I think that makes it special. - I’m going to keep exploring musically, I want to try different things, I feel like I’m still searching, I’m still looking for sounds that I like. I want to do everything, I want to do a psychedelic album, I want to do a folk album. It's not just like a job or something; it's my life experience. When I get old and I have grandkids I want to have amazing stories to tell them, and adventures - my Granny’s cool, she's traveled and she has tattoos! I couldn't tell anybody where I’m going to end up in 5 years but I know that I’m going to carry on making music and making art in some way for the rest of my life. - Purchase: Amenta "Sacred Places EP"
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