If you think about the term ‘Texan Beauty’ then you need look no further than Amanda Polk. Long blonde hair, piercing blue eyes, beautiful and talented. Focusing on pop/acoustic rock Amanda writes songs with a bit of a retro feel and has just released her first single ‘What if I still love you.’ Which is trending well. It took us a little bit of chasing
round but finally we managed to get some time for a chat.
As ever on my agenda I wanted to know how Amanda first got into music.
“I grew up an only child and was always finding new ways of being creative and entertaining myself. I’ve always done well with having a lot of alone time. I had always loved to write whether it was short stories, poetry or journaling but had never tried my hand at singing or writing songs until I was about 13. I got inspired to learn to play guitar and asked my mother if I could take lessons, which I took a handful of before teaching myself the rest of what I know.”
“After I got my first guitar, I fell in love with writing songs and discovered a love for singing. It kind of became my best friend. I started working with a guy named Taylor Robinson out of Dallas at the time who was starting his own music company that has since grown and become quite successful. He encouraged me to keep writing original music and helped me record my first demo. I continued to write my music and pursue other endeavours such as a cosmetology career and travelled a bit, then found myself in Austin a couple years ago.”
Musically, Amanda has surrounded herself with some very good musicians and the song playing is very tight so I how she had gone about getting the guys together and if it took a long time before she was happy with the final set up.
“I was fortunate to meet the talented local musicians on the tracks through friends and people I knew. They believed in what I was doing and got on board to help me record. I had rough drafts for the songs, and they came back with exactly what I had envisioned for the songs. That made it an easy and fun process. The musicians who played on the EP are Lee Chavez (Guitars, Bass & Pedal Steel), Rob Schumacher (Drums), Joshua Roush (Strings & Keys) and Matt Bray who produced the tracks. They all have great experience and helped bring it together.”
The new single ‘What if I still love you’ has that great retro vibe so I wanted to know if this was the style that Amanda loved or if in fact going forward she intended to mix it up a bit.
“I do think the songs on the EP have a variety but still stay within the same realm. “What If” is the heavier song, then there’s a ballad with strings and heavy drums as well as an acoustic track that has more of a pop/rock feel to it.”
As with most independent artists who release songs, the first video was a lyric one so were there any plans to turn that one into a live video. Amanda was quite forthright about her choices.
“I chose to debut ‘What If I Still Love You’ with a lyric video, but I am about to start shooting a music video for the second single off the EP that is called “Smoke.” I’m very excited about this song and video, it’s my favourite that I have written. It’s really personal to me and I’m very proud of it.”
Biggest question for me and as a fan of the music, now that there was a single out there, I wanted to know if we could see an ep or possibly even an album in the near future.
“What If” and the other two songs I recorded most recently are going to be a three song EP. I do have plans to continue writing toward a full-length album. I have many songs and ideas that I still want to record but I wanted to start with an EP. I don’t have an official release date yet, but it will be released by summer.”
Having spoken to various bands from Texas in recent weeks there has been a 50/50 split on the availability of gigs in the area so I wanted to know what Amanda’s take was on the whole thing and what she saw as the scope for driving forward.
“Absolutely. There are so many artists and musicians in Austin Texas and live music is everywhere. There’s a lot of talent here. It’s definitely a great place to be for artists of any kind who are up and coming. Austin has its own vibe that I love. There are lots of great music venues here as well. I’m looking forward to performing the songs live once the EP comes out and have plans for an EP Release Show here in Austin.”
And as for Wildspiritz or any other magazine feature for that matter, what was Amanda hoping to get from that sort of exposure.
“I hope that people will be inspired to check out my music and hear what I’m about. I think it’s a great way to reach people from all over that may not hear my music otherwise. I’ve discovered several artists through articles and magazines, so I am grateful for the exposure and to be featured!”
As with mostbands I am always keen to find out where musicians draw their inspiration from and who they cite as their musical heroes.
“I take my inspiration from my own experiences as well as the experiences of others. I think it can be easier to write from someone else’s perspective rather than my own sometimes. It can be harder to see a situation clearly when you’re in it yourself than from an outsider’s perspective. “What If I Still Love You” is a break up song and stems from a past relationship. “Smoke” is very personal as well. The third song on the EP is about a girl who is on the run and struggling to figure out who she is while being surrounded by people who are constantly telling her who they think she should be. Though I definitely resonate with the song, the inspiration was taken from someone else I knew that was going through that at the time. I write mostly about my pain, conflicts and heartache, as most artists do. I’ve always been an introvert, a feeler and an observer and writing’s been an important outlet.”
“I like music from all different genres, whether it’s always evident in my own music or not. I first remember falling in love with music listening to my mother’s record collection, particularly Stevie Nicks (and Fleetwood Mac) who was her favourite. She also listened to a lot of Heart, Bon Jovi, Mick Jagger, Thin Lizzy, Ozzy, Aerosmith and Metallica to name a few. I listen to and am inspired by artists anywhere from Garbage, Oasis, The Donnas, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana to Mazzy Star and Portishead to Adele and Amy Winehouse to The XX or Tove Lo. One of my favourite artists and producers is Butch Walker, who was in the band Marvellous 3. He has produced many great albums and is one of the best frontmen and performers I’ve seen. You can’t leave one of his shows without a high from the amount of passion and energy that guy exudes. He’s someone I’d love to work with one day.”
It has been a pleasure to talk to this young lady and we very much look forward to what she does in the future. Time then for the final three questions.
What would you like to say to your fans?
I’d just like to thank anyone who has taken the time to listen to the first single and check out my music. I appreciate all the likes, shares and support! I hope you will keep checking back for the second single “Smoke” and the music video as well as the EP!
What do you think it takes to stand out and get noticed?
There are so many artists and bands who stand out and have something special but it can be easy to get overlooked or lost in the mix. I believe at the end of the day if you continue to be yourself and play what you love and believe in, the right people will find and appreciate you and your music.
What can we expect to see from Amanda Polk going forward?
I plan to continue recording new music and eventually put out a full-length album. I would also love to collaborate with other artists and branch out to experiment with my sound. I can't wait to share the second single with you and put out this EP. I’m looking forward to this year and what's to come.