FEATURED ARTIST – Amanda Ayala
Interview by: Dennis M. Kelly
Dennis: Good day Amanda, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for me today! How are you?
Amanda: Hi there! Thank you so much for having me, it is a pleasure. Also, I am doing great and I hope you are as well!
Dennis: Yep, thank you! I am very excited to be featuring you! First off, I am really blown away with your vocals, so solid, appealing, powerful and they have a way of sparking an emotional connection within the first moment of hearing them. What makes it more impressive is that you’re (for the most part) self-taught. What did your vocal journey look like as you perfected your voice?
Amanda: Wow, thank you so much for that!
Dennis: You’re most welcome!
Amanda: I definitely try to strive to be the best vocalist I can be. Everyday I am listening to different music, genres and artists. Doing so has taught me different techniques, nuances and risks to take as a vocalist. I am never afraid to take a chance and experiment with my voice and really see what I’m capable of. Before being cast on “The Voice” I never really had singing lesson, and was just a girl who loved to sing. I take what I learned from their coaching team and apply those warm ups still to this day.
Dennis: So glad to hear it! I wish more vocalists would do that. Now, I understand you first took the stage at three years old, is that correct?
Amanda: Yes, that is correct! Little ole’ me couldn’t stay away from the mic!
Dennis: Do you have any footage of that or any other early childhood musical experiences and do they ever help keep you focused toward your goals in your future?
Amanda: From a young age, I always filmed myself singing, and at times whenever I rediscover them I tend to cringe (ha!). However, I am also super grateful to have those memories captured to see just how far I have come and grown as an artist/vocalist.
Dennis: Yeah, sometimes it can be difficult, you’re you’re so on the right track to always keep an eye on your growth, it will help keep your path forward even more illuminated and make things easier going forward. You’ve had quite a lot of great high points in your career, being a contestant on The Voice, Who Will Rock You? and opened for and performed with artists like Taylor Dayne, among many others. Do you ever feel stressed in any way in keeping any momentum going in your career or do you take each day as it comes?
Amanda: Having success at an early age has definitely caused me some stress and anxiety to triumph my past and keep the momentum flowing. From my time on The Voice to right before COVID, the momentum flowed so natural because I think I allowed each opportunity to come as they did, day by day.
Dennis: Looking back on some of your older clips and comparing them to videos and TikToks you’ve released more recently, it does look like you’ve gotten very comfortable in who you are and the words you sing; a strong sense of musical maturity that is even more compelling than your great works before. How have the past few years been for you; has anything changed in your life to help this process for you?
Amanda: I believe for me getting older has helped me not only mature mentally, but musically as well. The older I get the more life experiences I live, lessons are learned and stories are written. My sense of comfort in myself has stemmed from trying to be as open and honest as a person and musician.
Dennis: How much time do you devote to your music on a daily basis and what other interests do you have outside of music?
Amanda: Music is something that is on my mind 99.9% of the time. I try to dedicate 2 hours a day to actually writing and producing music, and another 2 hours on social media content, outreach and marketing. Outside of music, some other interests and hobbies that I have are photography and videography and everything outdoors! In my free time, in the winter you can catch me hitting the slopes skiing, and during the spring/summer I will be fishing away!
Dennis: That is so good that you have a very well-balanced life; something to really be proud of! How often do you play live and have you been on any tours pre or post COVID?
Amanda: I will say that the live shows pre-covid were booming. I had just lined up a strong ring of headlining shows for the late winter months of 2020, when the whole world had suddenly then stopped. Over the past year my band and I have been picking up the momentum again and are excited for more shows, and tours for 2023!
Dennis: How did COVID affect you, your family and career?
Amanda: To touch on your question earlier about music momentum, COVID put a hard stop on any movement I had. During that time I had been in the middle of recording a handful of singles to be released, all were halted and delayed. My touring and live shows were over as we knew it and I felt completely lost and in limbo. While other artists were adapting to the change and reverting to Facebook livestreams during this time, my Facebook was hacked on top it. It was a scary time for not only me, but my family as well. We all had to learn, readjust and stay strong while the world was suffering.
Dennis: In addition to singing, you also play guitar and drums, do you play any other instruments, and if so, how long have you played them?
Amanda: As of right now, those are the two other dominant instruments I play at the moment. I always had a knack for drumming and asked my mom for lessons when I was around 9. I love percussion and can’t keep the beat away from my feet!
Dennis: I love it! Great way of putting it!
Amanda: Learning guitar came a bit later for me, I first picked one up when I was in 9th grade and continuously took lessons throughout high school. I’m hoping it’s not too late to learn a thing or two behind a piano next. (Fingers crossed)
Dennis: You’ll do wonderfully! You’ve got the talent, and passion for it, so, you should be able to pick it up fairly easily. Since songwriting is a newer aspect to your career, how do you approach songwriting? I understand that you were able to write one song in about an hour or so? Do you have a process you follow?
Amanda: I tend to still follow that one hour writing rule when it comes to my songs. I know those expectations are tough standards to hold on to, but typically if a song isn’t gelling together that quickly I tend to store it away and save it for a rainy day. The songs that flow out in an hour or so are typically some of favorites songs, and realistically have all been the singles I’ve put out to the world. My typical writing process is very similar each time. With hopes to be inspired, truthful and raw, with my guitar in my lap and pen in my hand … the clock starts and the ideas start flowing (good or bad!)
Dennis: That is quite impressive and I commend you for being able to do that and recognize what works and doesn’t work for you. Some of your videos on TikTok start with you explaining the background on each of your songs; a very smart and useful thing to do. How has TikTok helped your career? (A lot of artists tend to steer clear of it as a promotional tool)
Amanda: I use TikTok to mainly reach a new fan base. When I was in high school, Twitter and Instagram and Vine were extremely popular. I’ve now had to learn and adapt with the new app and find engaging ways to reach new listeners. I try not to look at is as a promotional tool, but just finding like minded or emotionally connected people like me, to share my music with!
Dennis: Good point, TikTok is not so much a promotional tool as much as it is a way to be creative and show your personality in fun and interesting ways. How strong of connections do you have with your fans? What platform have you been able to connect with your fans the most?
Amanda: I have a very strong connection with my fans, but more importantly they’re more than fan, but like my friends! It’s a community of people who share the love and passion for music, and experience similar situations like the stories told in my songs. I think Facebook is my strongest platforms to connect with them, simply because it’s been around the longest.
Dennis: Tell me about the music business side of your career, how personally involved are you with the business side?
Amanda: Being an independent artist, you have to wear many hats and have several roles aside from the music. You have to be your own advocate in this field. Whether it’s PR, Marketing, and your own agent. The business side is, at times, my least favorite aspect of the industry, only because I love to simply just make the music. I have been lucky enough though to have my family in on the journey with me to help navigate through my career.
Dennis: That is good, yeah, it is very hard to do everything all on your own like that, so I am glad to see you have a great support team with your family. Do you monitor music sales or anything like that?
Amanda: I try my best not to get caught up in the numbers game, but in this day and age, stats are important.
Dennis: That is so true.
Amanda: When it comes to playlists and labels, they want to see you numbers, but my goal is just to reach and touch as many listener’s hearts and souls as possible. Whether it be 1 person or 1 million people.
Dennis: I deliberately waited to talk about “Just Tell Me” until the end… It looks like we’re coming close to a new and wonderful song being released. What can you tell me about it?
Amanda: Fun fun fun! “Just Tell Me” is a song I wrote out of complete frustration with a person and all the head games they played with me. While the mood of the track is light and fun, the lyrics bring out a little more of an irritated tone. A perfect visual that represents this song song is a scene in the movie “The Notebook” where Noah yells to Allie .. “Would you stop thinking about what everyone wants! Stop thinking about what i want, what he wants, what your parent want. What do you want?” Just Tell Me will be released on all platforms on 1/27!
Dennis: I cannot wait to hear it! Tell me about your recording process. How long do you spend getting your sounds perfected?
Amanda: Initially, I record all of my scratch tracks and full demos in my home studio. Once I feel like I have gotten a solid foundation on the songs lyrics/arrangement, I then will bring it in to be reproduced and recorded in an official studio. My past few records have been worked on at Lounge Studios in NYC and most recently at Record House in Queens with Mark Matter.
I will admit I am a bit of a perfectionist, so to finally let go and finalize a song takes a bit of time. I also enjoy quaint recording sessions with the least amount of people in the room. Normally, in the studio, it is me and my producer reworking and reproducing parts of a song I’ve written to really bring out those special ear candy parts. Similar to a production session; recording my vocals is also very intimate, and I try to get as emotional and ‘in the zone’ as possible.
Dennis: Well, thankfully, your voice naturally captures a lot of that emotion for you already, but you certainly bring the rest of it with expert precision, it is so wonderful! What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned and how did it change you?
Amanda: My biggest life lesson is to live each day as if it’s your last. Tell the ones you love, you love them because you never know if it will be the last time you’ll be able to do so.
Dennis: What does 2023 look like for you? What do you have planned for this year?
Amanda: Music, music, music! I have plans to release a large handful of singles this year, and many live shows to support it. My band and I have worked very hard on perfecting our live set, and can’t wait for people to see and hear what we have in store!
Dennis: What are 3 things about you that never come up in interviews that you wish you would be asked about?
Amanda: That’s honestly a tough question! One thing that many people don’t know which is probably why they don’t ask, is that I have a bachelors degree in business Marketing. Despite all the hectic and rigorous music schedule, I was able to complete school on top of it all.
Dennis: Wow! Congrats on that and it is something to be very proud of for sure! Do you have anything more you’d like to share with our readers today?
Amanda: To everyone who has been following me throughout my career, thank you for sticking with me all these years! & to any new fans or followers I hope you have been enjoying what you’ve been hearing! Also, keep your eyes and ears peeled on some new music as my new single “Just Tell Me” comes out this Friday 1/27! I can’t wait for you all to hear and see new faces at live shows!
Dennis: FUN QUESTION: If you could do a “Thanos snap” and change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Amanda: If I could change one thing in the world, it would be to restore decorum. I wish there was a way to have more harmony in the world amongst people.
Dennis: Thank you very much once again for spending some time with me today and I sincerely wish you the best with your career! You’re such an inspiration, Amanda!
Amanda: I truly enjoyed getting to chat and answering these great questions! It was such a pleasure and thank you as well for talking with me!
Amanda Ayala is a rising pop artist, singer, and songwriter originating from Westchester County, New York. The talented musician is making waves in the scene with her unparalleled sound and empowering style. At a young age, Amanda Ayala fell in love with music and has cultivated her innate talent to what it is today. Amanda’s breakthrough began as a contestant on NBC’s renowned show The Voice (Team Adam Levine) and was quickly followed with AmazonPrime’s television show Who Will Rock You? Through her emotion-filled vocal performances, Amanda radiates raw emotion through explosive instrumentation.
Amanda opened for a wide variety of well known artists such as David Cassidy, The Revivalists, Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, Leslie West of Mountain, Eddie Money, Dee Snider, Blue Oyster Cult, KT Tunstall, Guster, Taylor Hicks and Nick Fradiani. She also opened for pop icon Taylor Dayne and girl group Expose at the Tuckahoe Music Festival. Amanda’s performance received such praise that Taylor Dayne asked Amanda to perform a duet with her in front of an audience of more than 1,500 people.
Ayala seeks to connect intimately through her lyricism with listeners around the world and inspire them. With two singles in the top 100 rock charts of iTunes and Top 100 Hot AC and a #1 single on the Indie Charts, the New York-bred artist will have listeners engulfed in the musical world she creates with her no- frills approach and realness. Having an extensive list of accolades, Amanda Ayala is undoubtedly an artist to watch as she is set to cement herself in the music industry for years to come.
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