Amanda Stott biographyAmanda Stott Lyrics
From the prairies, home of endless blue skies, magnificent sunsets and fields of golden canola, comes a pure new voice. Amanda Stott has made people sit up and take notice every time she sings. Her "rafter-shaking voice" (The Record) is a singular talent that sets her apart from the rest.
Upon hearing her for the first time, most can't believe her tender age; she has the polish many vocalists with years of stage and studio experience yearn for. This explains how she has earned the opportunity to share stages with some of the biggest names in the business, such as Chantal Kreviazuk, Burton Cummings, Prairie Oyster, Lisa Brokop, Patricia Conroy, Big Sugar, Randy Bachman, George Fox, Natalie MacMaster, Paul Brandt and Jason McCoy.
It's hard to say where Amanda draws her inspiration from. Maybe it's dreaming of an easier life, one that doesn't require getting up at 5:30 in the morning to do chores that include milking her pet cow "Annie." ("She thinks I'm her mother!" Amanda was quoted as saying in one of her first nationally broadcast television interviews).
Between school, chores, friends and everything else a teenager is consumed with, Amanda found time to record. Now, after years of patience and perseverance, her self-titled debut album is released and is climbing the charts.
Amanda Stott was produced by Tom McKillip, a songwriter in his own right, and to Amanda: "A good friend who made it a great first recording experience."
Making the album was a cross-country adventure, beginning with bed tracks recorded at the Tragically Hip's Bath House Studios in Bath, Ontario and winding up with overdubs and mixing in British Columbia. The cast of players and writers includes many of country music's finest.
Country fans are getting their first glimpse of Amanda with Black Is Black - a bold, purposeful affirmation of what matters to her most. "As the song says, this is my life, these are my values and I'm not going to compromise." Black is Black was an out-of-the-box success and debuted the week of release on the Country Radio charts. The accompanying performance video was also immediately added at CMT.
Other standouts include Somebody To Love and the tender, moving ballad You're Not Alone. "You're Not Alone is really encouraging to me in my own life," tells Amanda. "Everyone goes through difficult times in their lives, including teenagers. And during those times, you often feel as though you're the only person experiencing those feelings - that no one understands and you are completely alone. I truly believe that no matter what we are going through we are not alone; this song is important because it reminds us of that."
As for other selections on the album, Amanda says; "I think the world needs positive messages, something to make people feel good. People concentrate so much on the negativity around them, things they see in the news every day. I want to provide some balance. I want to focus on singing about positive, uplifting things and sending a good, strong message. A message of hope."
Amanda has been on the musical fast track since day one, singing before she could barely string a sentence together and sleeping next to the speakers in her parent's living room when it came time to nap. "Singing is all I can remember," says the petite teen who grew up on her parent's cattle and organic grain farm. "I can't remember wanting to do anything else."
In addition to singing in her community church from the time she was three-years-old, Amanda received incredible musical encouragement from her family. Her first taste of playing in a band was alongside her older brother on drums, with their father accompanying them on a variety of instruments like banjo, accordion, piano and saxophone. Her mom always had the radio tuned to the local country station.
Amanda's album is dedicated to her sister Andrea Leigh-Ann, who passed away in an accident at age three several years before Amanda was born.
"I believe that there is a reason for everything that happens, it's not just fate," Amanda says, adding that her parents have always tried to instill this message in her and her brother. The absence of Andrea is something she keeps with her.
"My mother always reminds me that I had a sister," she says, "and I think that it's good to remember that. It helps puts things in perspective."
Branching out from home and family, she sang at many Manitoba fairs and festivals, winning her first singing contest in 1993 when she was only 11. She began showcasing the following year to standing ovations, and was the youngest-ever main stage attraction at the 1994 Dauphin CountryFest.
In 1996, Canada got its first glimpse of an emerging talent when Amanda sang at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards ceremony in Ottawa. A development deal was inked with Warner Music Canada that same year following a showcase performance at the CCMAs. Several months later she appeared on Tom Jackson's nationally televised Huron Carol.
By 1999, Amanda's promise was undeniable. She was signed to a multi-album contract, kicking it off with an appearance at the CCMA showcase with Warner Music Canada labelmates Chris Cummings, George Fox and Paul Brandt. "We didn't even tell anyone about (the recording deal) for a long time. It's important to me to finish school and live my life - but singing is a big part of that."
More recently, Amanda sang before an estimated 80,000 people at the Manitoba Night celebration during the1999 Pan American Games to a fantastic response. In January 2000, she kicked off the new millennium by singing the national anthem at the Family Farm Tribute, televised live across Canada from Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
As the audiences grow Amanda says she isn't about to forget her roots - her feet are too firmly planted on the ground to let that happen.
"I'm the same person I was before. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. I know I may struggle, but I am so lucky just to have been given a chance. Plus, Annie - who calved while I was away on my first promotional trip - will always remind me where I've come from," laughs Amanda, adding she named the calf Anchovy.
Amanda's "go get 'em" approach runs in the family, too.
"You know what I learned from my father? Working on a family farm, you have to put in a lot of work just to get a little bit out. Especially when times are tough. You can't just wait for it to come to you."