We chat to SA singer Amandala about her life in Seattle and her new album

Amandala. (Photo: Supplied)
Amandala. (Photo: Supplied)

Cape Town - Amanda Lamprecht, or in short "Amandala" has been making a living playing music and teaching yoga among other things in Seattle, US for the past 15 years. 

In 2014-2015 she co-wrote and recorded her English album Far and Wide at London Bridge Studio Seattle with world famous music producer Jonathan Plum. London Bridge studio is well known for their work with artists such as Macklemore, Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog, Alice in Chains, Blind Melon and many more. 

Amandala has now recorded her first Afrikaans album, Alles Wat Jy Lief Het and is currently in South Africa to introduce the new album to her South African fans. The first single off the album, Jeffreysbaai, was released to SA radio stations in October and a video of the song was released on Wednesday.

We chat to Amandala about her life in Seattle and her new album:

Tell us a bit about your life in the US. Why did you go over to the US? And what do you do there?

I love living in the US. I have a very busy and productive life. I write record and play music. I teach yoga classes, workshops and retreats, I paint and I also do IT recruitment a few months out of the year as an independent vendor. I’ve been in the US for 15 years now. We went over because of the crime in JHB where we lived before we left South Africa.

What is the music scene like there and how did you become involved in it? 

The music scene is vibrant, diverse and competitive. There are literally thousands of musos in Seattle. Seattle have several art and music magazines with pages of musicians advertising each week for band members. 15 years ago I answered an ad for a Goth band who was looking for a violin player, 3 months later I was in 2 other bands. Since then I’ve played in many bands and collaborated with many musicians. There are several practicing spaces in Seattle with rooms and hallways on end were different bands practice. One gets to meet a lot of musicians hauling gear into practicing rooms, or while taking breaks and hanging out outside the practicing space and going to gigs. There are so many venues where 3-4 bands play out every night of the week. Every band member is likely to play in 2-3 other bands, so it’s pretty easy to connect and to become part of the music scene. Local recording studios also play a great role in connecting musicians. Playing festivals and doing session work is another way to meet musicians. I do all of the above. 

What’s the best thing you’ve learned from the music industry in Seattle?

Don’t try to copy anybody. Just do your thing and play the music you like. Do music because you love it, not just for financial gain. Have passion and energy for what you do and people will come and see you. Never burn bridges, support other musos and say yes, if you get asked to collaborate on a project. If someone you know gets signed and are making huge leaps be happy and support their process, because tomorrow might be your turn. 

Why did you decide to record an Afrikaans album?

I was co-writing my English album with Jonathan Plum and had “homework” each week as I needed to be prepared for my studio sessions. The more I was creating melodies for the English album the more melodies and songs came to me. It wasn’t a conscious decision to write an Afrikaans album. After I wrote my 1st Afrikaans song words just came up for it and when I got the mix back from the Sound Engineer and heard myself singing in Afrikaans, it touched me deeply. Singing in my mother tongue felt different, more intense. That day I decided to write more songs in Afrikaans and so the album just unfolded organically. 

What inspires your songs and what is your writing process?

Songs or melodies sometimes comes to me when I am baking or cleaning the house or funny enough when I’m in the shower or in the middle of the night, then I have to get up and sing my idea into my phone before it is gone. I have hundreds of unfinished ideas on my phone. When I feel inspired or creative I’ll sit at the piano and then see if I can build out my ideas some more.

Describe your album sound in one sentence.

AMANDALA nuanced unorthodox singing hints at a deep intensity which grabs the listener and draws them into melodic catchy tunes with twists and turns that surprises, to bring together the “Seattle Sound” with Afrikaans vocals and South African music influences. 

If you had to listen to one song off your Afrikaans album on repeat for the whole day, which one would it be? 

The last song on the album "Die een vir haar".

What’s the one thing you miss the most about SA?

My family.

What’s been a career highlight so far?

All the amazing people I meet and get to play music with, is definitely the highlight of this whole journey for me.

What are your future plans and where can people see you perform? 

My future plans are to play out, write and to record many more albums and to collaborate with many more fabulous musicians and producers around the globe. To go with the flow and to love what I do. My focus now is to promote the two albums I created in one year and to promote two music videos: 

1. My Afrikaans album: Alles Wat Jy Lief Het and the 1st single of that album’s music video Jeffreysbaai out now .

2. My English album Far and Wide and the 1st single of that album’s music video Nothing that’s been out since 30 March of 2016.

I also plan to "recruit" some local musos and to play a few gigs. Best to go to my website at www.amandalamprecht.com for news and exciting updates.