Amanda Fama

Photo: Nicole Klym

Photo: Nicole Klym

Age || 27

Job Title || Singer-Songwriter

Start Date || 12 years old

Years Living In New York: 3 1/2

Social Handles: @amanda.fama

Website: Amanda Fama

What did you want to be when you were a child?

It's kind of funny, when I was really young I wanted to be a writer and I would write constantly. Like short stories and stuff. But then when I learned how to play guitar,  I kind of merged that writing with music and then I wanted to become a famous singer-songwriter. That's definitely what I wanted to be.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting out?

It sounds cliché but to never give up and keep on going because it's not an easy business. Also, to stay true to yourself and your music and never really change for anybody else. Another thing I was always told is that it's all about the song. So, regardless of anything else, it all comes down to the song so just keep writing them every day.

What is your song writing process?

If I pick up the guitar I usually play a chord progression that reflects how I'm feeling. Then I hum a melody of some sort over the chords. Then, from there, I plug in the words. So it's usually music, melody, lyrics.

Which women inspire you?

I would honestly say, first of all, my mom. Even though my dad taught me how to play guitar and taught me music, my mom has been my number one fan since I was like 12 years old. She's always told me, don't give up. You are in this for the long run, keep on going. She's the one who will push me out of comfort zone and help me realize that reaching my goals is possible. She's always been fearless and a huge inspiration.

As far as music goes, Kacey Musgraves is definitely one of my musical idols. I think she's just changing the music industry.  She's really bringing singer-songwriters into the spotlight. The fact that she just won Album Of The Year at the Grammys is huge and really inspiring. I think she's giving female singer-songwriters a real chance to shine. Also, ever since I was super, super young I've always loved Taylor Swift. I think that her songwriting is also just remarkable. I've looked up to so many female singer-songwriters. My mom raised me listening to Jewel and Martina McBride. I think for singer-songwriters, their time to shine is right now.

What is your workspace like?

Right now it's me in my bedroom honestly just sitting on my bed with my guitar. Just my own small area: my bedroom, my guitar, and me. Then my dad has a bunch of instruments and he likes to record, so if I want to work on recording something I'll usually go into our studio space.

How do you handle situations where you feel overwhelmed?

I take a step back and I actually listen to a lot of the older stuff that I've written and that I have in my phone. My recording section on my phone is just full of ideas. If I'm ever feeling like this isn't working or this isn't going anywhere, I tend to look back on all the songs that I have recorded since I was young. That keeps me going like, I've gotten this far, I need to keep going, and I remind myself that these songs are great. Listening to my older stuff gives me a boost of confidence and inspires me in a way.

Do you have a personal motto?

I think being humble is a really important trait to hold on to. Your music will speak for itself. So I've always gone by that idea of let the music speak. I write my songs and let them do the talking. I've always lived by that.

How do you define success?

I think that you become successful when you achieve your own personal goals. It doesn't matter if you're successful in the public eye or not. I think if you set your own goals and you reach them, that's a certain kind of success that's unlike any other. It's really fulfilling. So i think that success is whatever you make it.

What has been the most rewarding thing since striking out as a musician?

There's been quite a few. To start with, finishing my last album Disaster In Blue was a huge rewarding moment. I ended up writing that album with Kacey Musgraves’ former pedal steel player, Adam Ollendorff. I met him at a Kacey concert maybe four years ago at this point. We ended up connecting a year or two after that and we co-wrote an album. He was in Nashville and I was in Brooklyn. It was my first experience co-writing and raising money to record an album with these Nashville musicians, flying out to a recording studio with people I had never met before. The whole process was honestly probably the best experience I've ever had as far as the music industry goes.

Then another proud moment is this upcoming record that I just finished. It was one of the first records and projects that I made so many sacrifices for. Lots of sacrifices but extremely rewarding and I can't wait for it to be released on March 14th. I put my money where my mouth was and I'm really proud of what I accomplished. I’m having an album release concert at Rockwood Music Hall that day. [Tickets available here]

What advice would you give to other women who want to pursue a career as a musician?

I would honestly say, go for it. I think anytime is the perfect time. Being a musician is super rewarding, whether you're a guy or a girl. I think that they should get it, grab your favorite instrument, start singing or just listen to music and kind of let your emotions go. It's really important. The main thing would be to go for it and don't let anything get in your way. No dream is too big. Honestly the world is so small and it doesn't seem like that but, when you're playing music, touching people, and having them love your music it’s such an amazing feeling. There's no limit. I think women should do it.

What are some of your goals moving forward?

Moving forward, I want to continue writing songs every day and start performing in different cities. I’d love to go on tour in 2019!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Sarah Fielding