Introducing… Amanda Kay and her travelling tale …
Amanda Kay the sultry songstress and her compositions have been influenced by her emotions combining with all the music she has come across in her life, from jazz ballads to folk, from latin to rock and gypsy, from reggae to soul, from funk to pop. Her latest project is a collection of new tunes from different studios and collaborations across the world. The songs being considered for this next album include Bad Abbott (a political tune, latin jazz style, Cairns, Australia), Just Outside my Window (a happy pop folk tune inspired by working with mental health issues,Brisbane, Australia) I Don’t Want to Fall in Love With You (soulful jazz ballad, The Glasshouse Mountains, Australia), A Song (a jazz instrumental), Stolen My Heart (a bouncy love song, jazz pop, Mexico City), Xpression (a sweet and wistful jazz folk ballad about arts reflection of the soul, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada), Mandas Manouche (French gypsy jazz instrumental, Mexico City), While the Music Plays (a song about the music, pop with funk influences, Mexico City), The Semitone Song (funk, Brisbane, Australia) and many more. Thanks to all the skilful players and engineers involved. The National Folk Festival and Woodford enjoyed having her perform in 2014 before she headed off to the Americas for a year of sharing music. She has been playing her way from the Lighthouse in L.A. California to Whitehorse Solstice Festival in the Yukon, Canada. She performed for the Vancouver Jazz Festival and toured across Canada coast to coast. She played and recorded in Nova Scotia before heading to New York where she jammed with some of the worlds leading jazz players and the folk players of Washington Square. Her time in NY included meeting Chick Corea and jamming with Lady GaGa’s chart writing piano player. She travelled down through the Appalachian Mountains sharing their style of folk and funk, to Georgia (more funk and jazz) before flying to New Orleans (more funk, trad and zydeco) where she was well received by the locals. Mexico has welcomed her with open arms and she has been performing with friends around the city, on national radio and recording.
Amanda performed at Mission Evolve Festival and the Tablelands Folk Festival in Yungaburra in 2013 and performed all over Qld during that Summer, including Woodford, Wintermoon and Brisbane. Tablelands Folk Festival asked for Amanda Kays music for their TV and radio promotion for 2014. She won an award performing at Palm Creek Folk Festival and while in Australia she is a regular performer at The Cairns Hilton, 12 Bar Blue, Burnie’s Jazz Bar and is also a hit amongst the original fans in Townsville. Her music has unusual textures and flavours that keep audiences listening with a smile. She is skilful with her intricate chords, voicing and finger picking on her beautiful nylon string guitar. Her lyrics draw people into the stories and adventures of her songs.
When playing in south Qld she performs with her original band, ‘Amanda Kay and The Crew’, or with Angus McCready, Marco and Ben Davidson and she plays with The Reclaimers and The Transformers when in Brisbane. Amanda Kay and The Crew have an album called ‘Chasin’ Rainbows’. Amanda wrote the albums songs with Kev Rice, Sandy O’Farrell and Reginald Mulva co-writing 3 tracks. The Crews style is enticing and unique. The sound is a blend of genres including some latin, reggae and funk influences…though it mostly gets called smooth jazz. The eclectic crew Amanda brought together for this recording all come from different sections of the music industry. Amanda herself is folk jazz, Reginald Mulva (bass) from prog rock, Fiona Ellwood (percussion) studied at the con in Brisbane and feels like a skiffle, zydeco, Cajun combination, Mike Thomas (Cello) is classily trained and is successful in the pop arena, Gavin Manikus (sax) is jazz, latin and funk, Richard Ferrari (trombone) and Joel Watson (trumpet) from big brass bands and broadening there styles performing originals and jazz with many musical people, Peter Cox is a folkie and Yani is a recognised choral master. Gareth Reeves joins us for live performances. He comes from prog rock bands which gives the complex timings drive with his strong pulse and intricate poly-rhythms. Amanda also performs in a group called Amanda Kay and the Guys from Newcastle. This young band has a big energy and includes the talented musicians Tim Kellaway, Daniel Staader, Tai Willinson and Luke. This entourage performs in Sydney and Newcastle at venues including The Sandringham Hotel, UTS, The Wickham and The Lassogourie to keen audiences. The Guys from Newcastle bring a combination of funk, metal and new vaudeville sound into Amanda’s compositions that come together to make impressive and high energy music.
With these unusual groups Amanda’s songs share both laughter and tears. She has reached a stage in her journey where as her music reaches the audiences ears a quiet hush descends on the crowd. People are drawn in by her sultry tone, stimulating lyrics and the bounce she brings to the songs. She is a story teller and writes lyrics that everyone can feel. Her touch on the nylon string makes it sing sweetly, then become sharp and bright suiting the ebb and flow of the lyrics. Her journey through the world has not been an easy road and the passion she holds inside is released in her compositions. Amanda is working on a new album with some passionate musicians who compliment her with sharing the musical journey. In 2011 she performed with The Tranformers Choir, The Reclaimers orchestra, sat in with The Rockwiz Orchestra and played her own music with The Crew, The Guys from Newcastle and many other talented performers throughout Australia. She performed at Woodford Folk Festival, The National Folk Festival, The Queensland Festival, The Brisbane Festival and she was privileged to meet and play with Rohan Marley (Bob’s son) on his brief visit to Australia. Rohan commented “She knows her chops” and joined her on the egg in a solo performance of ‘The Election Song” (from Administer The Medicine CD recorded with a rock blues folk sound in Cairns, Australia). Amanda was also interview on the George Negus show and has become a recognised visual artist, creating musical artworks. Some of her works have been used on CD covers including Peter Vance’s latest Jazz release. A highlight of 2011 was singing and playing guitar for the Dalai Lama at a private luncheon during the happiness conference, where he took time from his schedule to come and say hello. He said ‘you and me, and me and you, and you and me,… we are the same’.
Since Jan 2012 Amanda Kay has been officially on walkabout. This involves taking some time to travel to visit family and friends in the southern states without committing to a time frame. As she was leaving Brisbane a fellow songwriter Steve Skinner invited her to do some backing singing on his new CD. She drove to Canberra and stayed for a few days then flew back to Brisbane and did the recording. It went really well and is a successful release that has been played on radio across the world. She then helped a friend co-driving across the Nullarbor. It was an adventure seeing a few new places and meeting new people. She performed at a few places along the way, including The Jazz Cellar in W.A. which was a great venue, and flew back to Canberra.
Her beautiful Gibson ES345 guitar had suffered from a crack in the neck. She found a luthier with an exceptional reputation in Sydney so drove up and spent a few days performing at the Sandringham Hotel (Doc Neeson (RIP) and Jimmy Barnes were recording there before her set!) and The Cat and Fiddle to very receptive and positive crowds before returning to Canberra. She continued this slightly abstract walkabout until after the wet season. Then returned to Far North Qld. Her original music is an emotional outlet that helps her cope with some of the difficulties in life. She has been writing a few new songs whilst travelling and her song writing is evolving. Augmented chords are starting to creep in and make sense. She is thinking about further studies in Jazz composition. Amanda is continuing to take photos on a regular basis and often high praise for her work in this field. Her artwork (painting and sketching) is popular at auction and has been published, printed and sold. One artwork was created in an Access Arts project for Peter Vance’s C.D. He was inspired to gather a few recognised Brisbane artists to come into the studio and paint and draw what the music influenced them to do. He designed the C.D. cover using some of Amanda’s sketches. The works created in this project were awesome, as was the Jazz music Peter Vance composed. Amanda’s music is generally about whatever she feels strongly for. She occasionally writes silly songs to make people smile. Some of her most popular compositions are storytelling song completely imagined or about people she sees but knows nothing about. She can spin a good yarn and draws her audience’s in. She is an unusual and outspoken person with a wandering minstrel spirit. Amanda Kay’s album, ‘No Frills’ was recorded in Tropical North Queensland Australia. The talents of the ARIA award winning arranger, Tommy See Poy, were put to good use in his studio in Cairns, where he engineered and produced a special album. She wrote this album straight from the heart and comes out with a soulful folk style. Her melodies gently infuse and listeners find themselves happily humming along with the sounds that are instantly familiar.
In the Beginning
Amanda K found the call of music whilst working in Antarctica for a year. She was employed as a carpenter on the Australian base, Mawson and spent the year with just 20 expeditioners. During the long and lonely year of isolation she learnt the basics of the guitar and composed her first song, ‘Mawson In Antarctica’. On the return voyage of the ice breaker the Aurora Australis she found her love for composing as she shared her tune with the talented players onboard. They were bored after months together at sea and were ready to exercise the plethora of instruments (french horn, sax, guitar, accordion, clarinet, oboe, percussion). As they sailed past the icebergs and penguins she shared her new song with tears rolling down her cheeks. The musicians took the song, as Amanda was finishing, and started playing the tune with passion and skill as Amanda sat back and listened to others play her music for the first time..
Amanda Kay is a talented composer. She performs throughout Australia (from Cairns to Kalgoorlie, from Kununurra to Cooma) and has played in far flung places including Antarctica, New Zealand and Southern Africa. She is receiving wide spread recognition, especially for her slightly controversial lyric content. Her solo CD ‘No Frills’ is getting airplay on radio and live performances have been aired in Melbourne on Russ Kellets TV program. Songs like “I Want To Share My Orgasms With You’ always get a response. Her insight and relationship with music crosses contemporary Music boundaries, unearthing unique melodies and unexpected resolutions. Her vitality on stage creates an energetic and enthusiastic audience. Her work has attracted some exceptional player to join her in the studio. Administer The Medicine has brought her creations to a new level. It is unique, original and compelling. Her last release Chasin’ Rainbows received high praise and her audiences fall silent at the striking of the first chord. Her current songs are reaching a new level of professionalism and her fans are anticipating the next release with baited breath. Please enjoy Amanda Kay.