Amanda Kate Ferris Interview
By Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine
Texas-based country artist Amanda Kate Ferris has had a really interesting journey in the music industry. She grew up equally inspired by her small-town upbringing and her mother, an artist and entertainer herself. Inspired by her mother’s tales of performing on the stage and screen, Amanda developed her own voice in the church and added songwriting to her repertoire at age 14. Her love of Country music led her to chase her dreams in Nashville. Over the next few years, she went through multiple groups, opportunities, and countless hours spent on her craft in Music City. On the brink of letting these long sought-after dreams go, Amanda decided that she needed a change of pace and settled in Midlothian, TX, with her family. After she and her husband welcomed their first child, Amanda was back on stage, this time performing Carrie Underwood songs in a national touring cover band, Blown Away. Their incredible renditions of Underwood’s hits led to an unsolicited and highly coveted spot on Executive Producer Jimmy Fallon’s new show for E!, “Clash of the Cover Bands.” Through Underwood’s iconic songs, Amanda was able to fulfill her love of entertaining and singing, but she felt a calling to again create her own original music.
Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
Amanda Kate Ferris: I would say that my music has lots of elements from the 90s with a modern flare. I grew up listening to Wynonna Judd, Faith Hill, and Brooks & Dunn, but I also loved pop powerhouses like Celine Dion and Christina Aguilera, so I’ve always been naturally attracted to big, strong vocalists. I want people to notice me for my voice and the training I have put in. I also want them to feel like they know me from listening to my music and the stories it tells.
Lamitschka: What is your latest single and how’s it doing?
Amanda Kate Ferris: My latest single is “Tequila & Jesus.” It was written by Lainey Wilson, Josh Thompson, and Brent Anderson and highlights some of the things that get us through the ups and downs of life. For the last few years, I guess you could say I’ve been living somewhere between ‘tequila and Jesus’ playing shows in bars and clubs and then coming home and spending time with my family. My quiet time with my horses and family is where I find Jesus these days. I enjoy time by the fire with good friends and a cocktail. Take a minute to remember what really matters and that’s those around you – your friends, your family, your animals, and your faith.
Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your upcoming EP (influences, etc).
Amanda Kate Ferris: We have 10 songs teed up so far. It consists of good ol’ honky tonk songs, songs that make me cry, songs that feel sassy and flirty…we have a little bit of everything on this one!
Lamitschka: What is the difference between your last project and your current one?
Amanda Kate Ferris: I think the biggest difference between my upcoming EP and my past projects is going to be the songs. My last record was very personal to me. For this record, I am designing it for the listener. I want every song to be strong enough to stand on its own. I want the overall quality to be a step above the last project, and I think everyone will have so much appreciation for the production, the songwriting, and the overall feel of this new record.
Lamitschka: You did a duet with Marty Raybon. How did that happen to come about?
Amanda Kate Ferris: My producer at the time had a relationship with him and knew that I was a huge fan, so he helped me set it up. The song is called “The Old Rugged Cross,” and it was a blast to record!
Lamitschka: What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what’s the story behind it?
Amanda Kate Ferris: This is hard! I love them all, but I would say “Pedal Steel,” one of my unreleased songs, is probably my favorite. It says something I believe in, and I just love getting to sing it. I can’t wait to hopefully release it next year!
Lamitschka: Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?
Amanda Kate Ferris: I am inspired all the time by musicians, singers, dancers, and fans. I love art in all forms. Musically, I love seeing artists who take their craft really seriously. I love a vocalist who spends time training their voice and a guitar player who sits in their room and practices for hours on end. That level of dedication is so inspiring to me. I truly want to be the best version of myself that I can be, and I think that comes with a lot of hard work. Hard work inspires me.
Lamitschka: What inspired you to become an artist?
Amanda Kate Ferris: My mom was a singer-songwriter, so I’ve loved the stage since I was born.
Lamitschka: What does it take to be a music icon?
Amanda Kate Ferris: When I think of music icons, I think of Garth, George, Reba…and what they all have in common is that they all worked really hard to get to where they are. George played every honky tonk in Texas, Reba sang at any rodeo that would have her, etc. It takes hard work, perseverance, and simply knowing who you are to stay grounded.
Lamitschka: What’s unique about you that will differentiate you from other artists?
Amanda Kate Ferris: I used to feel like there was nothing about me that was different. Now that I have some life behind me, I realize that I have so much that makes me different. My life experience is an example. I’ve suffered a lot of loss in my life, but I’ve never let it slow me down. If anything, my struggle is what drives me. Losing both of my parents has given me a whole new view on life – the importance of living it to the fullest and never leaving anything on the table.
Photo (c) Raul Esparza