Musician Amanda Lamprecht, or better known by her stage name – Amandala, is a Cape Town born musician, living in Seattle.
Although this incredibly down to earth, multi-talented singer, song-writer and musician calls the USA her home, she frequents her birth place South Africa as she feels deeply rooted in the country where she was brought up – this is very apparent in her last two albums; Far and Wide, which was released in 2016, and her Afrikaans album Alles Wat Jy Liefhet.
She has just released her latest EP, Stronger, which is a 7 track body of work, showcasing her versatility as a musician and song writer.
“I was very lucky because I started this project last year in 2019 in Seattle and then I came to Stellenbosch in January of this year and finished the project there, and then went back to Seattle to get it mastered and we managed to make those three music videos, just before Covid started. So it was quite incredible to put music and art out during a year when everyone is so distressed and panicking.” says Amandala
I first spoke to Amandala in 2016 and she is still as lovely as she was then. It was a joy catching up, and sharing new music with her.
She has incorporated a very South African sound into her new music and also recorded this EP between Seattle and South Africa.
With a very appropriate title for this EP, Stronger, the tracks are sure to inspire.
“The whole album is written around that theme. For example, the song ’Hold My Glass’ is all about getting out of an abusive relationship, and how to continue after that. The other songs all speak about not having regrets, living life to the fullest, like in ‘Let’s not leave this life Broken’’. It is so interesting that intuitively I had this at the back of my mind; for my personal journey and then it is universal as well. People can relate to it better. I am also so grateful that I could write and record it the way I wanted to do it; starting in Seattle, then doing a bit in South Africa and then taking it back to the States.”
“I always feel like it resonates this way, because then I bring all the parts of me into the project.”
You’ve done that with all your albums – it keeps you rooted with where you come from.
Then you have your Cape Town version for ‘Nothing’, which you released in 2016 with your ‘Far and Wide’ album. Tell me about that.
“It is so amazing as it is getting radio play all over the USA. I can’t believe it. It is a much stronger way of presenting that song. When I did it the first time, I worked with a producer, and we arranged the album together. But this time it was all me, and I could just do what I wanted to do and in the way I wanted to do it. I have always wanted to revisit this song because I always felt that there was more to it that I wanted to bring out.
“Because it is the same song redone from scratch and we recorded it in Cape Town with that African vibe, with the drumming, I asked my production engineer what I should name it and he suggested Cape Town version.”
Why do you think it is doing so well in America; is it because it has that South African feel, as you’ve mentioned – there is something so unique about our music. That sound isn’t very intrinsic in the music overseas.
“Yes – it is so interesting, because when I’m there people really think it sounds African, because they know I am from South Africa. When they hear the rhythms and drums, they do make that correlation.”
Let’s talk about Flow – it has a very Bat for Lashes feel for me.
“I don’t know the group. We did the piano tracks and the scratch drum tracks in Seattle, we re-recorded the drums in Cape Town. I remember when I was finishing the song with Jürgen at Sunset Recording Studios, he looked at me and asked if there were more vocals to it and I said to him, that it is supposed to be wide and empty, like a river building until it finally reaches the ocean; like a musical sketch, more like an art work. I am glad I kept it that way, because people love it. The music video contains footage from Kommetjie big wave surfers, so the video actually starts with South African big wave surfers and then some more American and Californian surfing. So we could bring the South African surfing community into the video as well.”
See the video for Flow here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3avyiBTicRI
Water features a lot in this EP – you have an analogy that it is all about water.
“I am such a water baby. Cancer is my star sign, I have a lot of water in my birth charts have always loved the water; I always resonate with water. It doesn’t have its own form, it takes the form of a container. It also has a spiritual connotation; I am a yogi and I do yoga and meditate, and for me it is almost the way the soul embodies the body; we are in the body, and when we leave the body, we are almost like water evaporating.”
“Water still stays water. I think it is the same with music, because it is so emotional and water has so many aspects to it, I love to make that connection. If i think of myself as an artist, even going into the future, I want all my albums to be different, so that’s my excuse to not place myself into one genre. My music can have that watery quality; so albums can be more hardcore, some others can be more emotional.”
“There is also a strength in water. Also as a female artist, we tend to me more emotional and vulnerable but it doesn’t mean we are weak. Being emotional is sometimes us at our strongest.”
I love that you have returned to the violin – you started playing violin at aged 6. ‘Let’s not leave this life Broken’ has a strong violin/ string presence.
“Yes, I wrote that with a violin and initially recorded it with a violin, but when we went into the studio all those tracks were redone with Cello. The violin is always close by. I love using a lot of strings in the music.”
Do you have a favourite song?
“Yes I do. It’s the last song. It’s the one that no one would think. It is ‘Stronger’. It is such an epic song, it has a personal journey with the vocals for me and the words are so encouraging. If I am tired at the end of the day, and I listen to that song, at the end of the day, I feel inspired by it. People see the name and always assume that it will be a rock song but it is actually more of a classical song, with lots of classical elements and chanting at the end. That’s my absolute favourite.”
“I would say my second favourite is ‘Let’s not leave this life Broken’. Knowing that we cannot leave broken anyway, we are always whole – in the end we do come to our fullness even if we don’t realise it.”
You are already working on new stuff?
“It is very electronic. I never liked using electronic sounds or recording my own ideas at home, I prefer going into the studio. But now with covid, I’ve got so much extra time and so many ideas so I have already started working on new material.”
You’re always between South Africa and Seattle – you are quite involved in the music scene there and here – what are you seeing in Seattle that we don’t see here?
“To be honest, my music is doing better over there than in South Africa. There are a few radio stations that are playing Until and Nothing (CT version) in South Africa, because they are more radio friendly. Until has a bit of a country feel – it is easy on the ear. Whereas in Seattle, anything goes – it is quite amazing. They don’t say that the song doesn’t fit the cookie cutter structure so we can’t play it – what i am so grateful for in Seattle, is that they really support local artists and people who are true to their art. You just put out your best music and if you are sincere and have integrity, the song will get recognised, maybe not on every radio station but I really feel that is what is missing in South Africa. In Seattle people are interested in music that doesn’t sound like anybody else. They don’t want to be challenged and I don’t feel that they really sit and listen to music properly anymore. I am very lucky that they are very open over there. There is so much talent in South Africa.”
For more about Amandala, go to: https://www.amandalamusic.com
To listen to our very first interview, click here: https://bsharpentertainment.africa/the-music-showcase-3-february-2017/