Interview with Amanda Cunningham

Written by Divine Magazine

Amanda Cunningham grew up in Westminster, MD and now lives in Reston, VA. She studied African American history and worked in Digital Marketing for several years before recently deciding to follow her dream of pursuing a full-time music career. Her music has been described as “deep, soulful vocals with raw, gritty honesty that allow listeners to feel effortlessly understood and connected to the voice behind the music.”

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Julia Michaels for writing because she’s so amazing and I’m blown away with every song with how intellectual and deep her songs are but also catchy at the same time. That’s an insane skill and I aspire to that.

What is one message you would give to your fans?

That social media is mostly lies. I feel like a failure most days constantly putting myself out there and falling on my face in front of the internet. It’s embarrassing and I’ve talked to other artists and creatives, and they feel the same exact way. Point being that social media is a highlight reel that you shouldn’t compare yourself to. You have no idea what they’re feeling when they post that perfect selfie. Also, chances are they’re in a messy bun, a pimple on their chin, and dirty sweats (I know I do this in fact)

What is your favourite song to perform?

I play in a cover band at weddings and festivals and have now for a few years to fund my personal artistry and my favorite song is always “Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston. I always loved that song before I was a singer and now as the singer, I know I can hit all the notes and perform the song in a way that can get others just as excited as me to sing along.

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

It would be the lack of female representation and showcasing behind the scenes. There’s so much focus on the artist and sexualizing her as a commodity, which has its own problems but then when she wants to do something on the backend like be a producer she’s seen as a total joke and just playing at it. That’s frustrating for me and the reason why I’m taking courses in music production in 2022 so I can start representing and produce my own music and also others music.

What has been most challenging aspect of your current releases?

Honesty the logistics of it all. Where to register for royalties, adding my lyrics to websites so they sync with social platforms and are able to be found on Google, keeping track of ISRCs and those logistics, copywriting, etc. It’s not the creative stuff like writing and recording it’s the actual release, also the promo is difficult because I feel like I’m just throwing spaghetti at the walls most days to see what sticks and gets people to listen for more than 30 seconds.

What draws you to your preferred genre?

My preferred genre is probably country because the lyrics are usually so well written and clever and keep you engaged like a story. Titles draw you in and the clever twists of phrases keep me there. Kacey Musgraves, Tenille Townes, Maren Morris, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, all of them, they’re insanely talented.

Do you enjoy recording and production?

Honestly, I hate recording my vocals and I’m easily frustrated by myself and I’m very hard on myself. I don’t give myself a lot of room for mistakes and creativity which is really important when messing around with phrasings, runs, harmonies, etc. It’s something I’m working on.

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

Honestly, I listen to podcasts in the shower and don’t sing lol It’s where I kind of relax and try to grow and I love “School of Greatness” with Lewis Howes.

What would be the ideal food to have cooked for you on a date night?

I love crepes with Nutella, sugar, and ice cream. Maybe 3 of them. I like to be all in on unhealthy when I do it lol

Do you have a cherished childhood teddy bear or other stuffed animal sitting on your bed at home?

I have a stuffed bunny that my Grampa sent over from England when he was working there that he dotted the face with marks with a Sharpie when I had the chicken pox as a kid. His name is Hector.

What was the last TV series you watched on TV?

I am absolutely loving Ted Lasso. He’s honestly a huge inspiration to me because I tend to be very negative and self-critical and his unending kindness is amazing and I will sometimes think to myself when I’m frustrated “what would Ted do…” And try my best to do the nicest thing that I can in that moment. It’s a great show.

If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?

How critical I am of myself. I expect so much of myself and so I constantly set myself up for failure and when I fail, I beat myself up. It’s a loop that I’m trying to get out of slowly that Ted Lasso is honestly helping with “Be a goldfish”

From the Chair is a 4 song EP about Cunningham’s journey of self-healing and therapy to come to terms with her postpartum depression, being a young mother, her struggles with mental health, and how to move forward. The EP was written with fellow songwriters over virtual songwriting sessions during the 2020 pandemic. Vocals were recorded in Cunningham’s home studio, and production was completed virtually with Chris Clarke in London. The extremely personal songs give voice to many young women who struggle with similar mental health issues, are trying to make sense of their life choices, and are working to heal their emotional trauma.

© 2021 – 2023, Divine Magazine. All rights reserved.

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