Artist Name: Amanda Mora
Type of Music: Acoustic Folk, Jazzy, Americana, Songwriter
Arkansas Free Press had the unique opportunity to ask Amanda Mora, of Austin, a little bit about what's on her mind musically and creatively. This featured artist, currently in the Top 100 on the Reverbnation charts, had some fun and interesting responses. Her newest album, Awaiting the Sound, is a relaxing cd--just perfect for a comfy, Southern Sunday afternoon. Here's a look at her interview:
What inspired your singing career:
My parents were in a band for eight years before having children, so I had the good fortune of being sung to sleep at night with beautiful harmonies and well-crafted songs. My mother continued her music career throughout my childhood and became the national champion yodeler for many years and a much celebrated Western Swing musician. I watched her pour her heart out on stage and saw the joy that she got from singing. She would come home from tours glowing with excitement. She is the type of musician who gets completely taken away by the music. You will never see her soul more clearly than when she throws her head back and lets it rip.
Current Album: Awaiting The Sound - released March of 2013
Favorite Song on the current album and why:
General's Wife - I think the production was able to capture that "epic" feeling that the story is meant to create. Listening to the song is sorta like watching a movie. I wrote it after reading a historical novel about a Texas woman who was married to an General during the civil war. When the General goes missing, she leaves her three young children to go out searching for him along the Mississippi. When I wrote the song, it came out in one fell swoop, as if it was already there, fully formed, and I just had to reach out and pluck it from the air. Those are my favorites.
It changes, but today I love the bumper sticker that says "What if the hooky-poky IS what it is all about?" In the face of all my responsibilities and ambitions in life, that quote just tickles me and lightens my perspective. Sometimes I slip and say "What if the hanky-panky IS what it is all about?"
Hometown: Wimberley, TX
Most important cause today:
Along with being a singer, I am a nutritional therapist. I really believe that for people to be active, caring, mindful citizens, they need to feel like getting out of bed in the morning. When you are sick and have low energy from the food you are eating, it can feel like you are pushing your life uphill and there is no energy at the end of the day to think about your neighbor or the world's needs.
When we reconnect with our local, real food producers, we end up with more health and vitality and we take our money out of the pockets of big agriculture and pharmaceutical companies that are not always looking out for the collective good. We produce less pollution; create local culture and a more sustainable food paradigm...the effects of buying fresh, organic food from a farmer’s market ripple out through society in immeasurable ways. And, it is a pleasure!
Opinion on women in the music business:
I am fairly sheltered from the world of pop music, so I am not frequently faced with the inequality or objectification of women, but I know that it is out there. I am surrounded by extremely talented, confident, empowered women who do what they love - on their own terms. I do run into a lot of disbelief when people, especially in the male dominated world of pro-audio/recording, discover that I record and produce my own records. Usual conversation goes something like this:
Audio Dude: "This record sounds great. Who was your engineer?"
Me: "I was. I did it all myself."
Audio Dude: "Right, but I mean who actually engineered it? "
Me: "Right, I did. I write, produce, and record all my own stuff."
Audio Dude: "But I mean, who ran the equipment?"
Dealing with difficult people:
I am learning not to be such a people pleaser or a push over. I try to be very direct, but not emotionally charged. As long as I trust myself to take care of me, then I can keep from feeling defensive or threatened. Boundaries are great things, but for me, they seem like a fine art that take years to master.
Favorite performance and why:
I was a headliner and lead organizer on a 6,000 miles bicycle music tour through 12 countries of Europe in 2010. We used four bikes to power our mobile PA system and had so many magical shows. My favorite show came outside of Berlin at one of the largest rock festivals in the world.
Amanda Mora, this little folk singer from Texas, had somehow been scheduled at 10pm Saturday night on one of the main stages. Primus had played the stage earlier in the day! I was terrified that my music would be totally lost in front of the audience of thousands of hard rock thrashers. My band was no-where to be seen just before the show.
Much to my horror, they all arrived backstage two minutes before we were going on, apparently under the influence of some sort of wacky festival party favors. I had to totally surrender to the moment. We walked out on the stage and hypnotized the audience with sweet folk ballads. I think the audience was worn out by all the metal and hard rock, and they just turned into a puddle in front of the stage, coooing and laying down on the grass. My band was on some psychedelic wave length and they played the songs with more soul and intuition that ever before. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life.
I have always felt a strong affinity for the people and the land, especially in Northeast AR. We are going to try to sniff out some of the local's favorites and get off the beaten path. Having music to offer is like having a golden ticket into the heart of a place....people tend to open the hidden door for you when you come carrying songs. We are looking forward to our official shows, but you can bet that we are going to find some living rooms and city parks to play in...the unexpected connections are always my favorite.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
Wednesday, June 12th, Check website for details, Fayetteville AR
Thursday June 13th - Stonehouse, 7pm-9pm Eureka Springs
Friday June 14th - Maxine's, 7pm Hot Springs
Thoughts about the upcoming shows in Arkansas:
I think our music is going to really strike a chord with audiences in AR. I've stripped my live performances down to myself and my cello player, Mollie Fischer. The cello is such an amazing instrument, and Mollie is such a masterful player. As a duet, we have the chance to really showcase the cello in a way that you really don't hear much. She can carry base lines, or hit soaring high notes on leads, or rumble in that low middle range that is so resonate that you can literally feel it move through your body and shake the rafters. We are just feeling really jazzed right now, and ready to take these new songs on the road.
Born in the Texas hill country with a rich musical heritage on both sides of her family, music is definitely in the blood for Amanda Mora. Her lineage goes back to the late 1800’s - when Austin was still considered part of the Wild West and horse and buggies carved their way around the capital.
It was then that Amanda’s great, great, grandmother, “Mama Jo”, taught her children to play instruments. It is also where she formed The Pharr Family Orchestra, Austin’s first orchestra which played at nearly every civic gathering in Austin “until the Swing music came to town”.
Amanda’s great grandfather became the first student director of the University of Texas and co-wrote the university’s fight song. Amanda was raised by national champion yodeler and celebrated western swing musician, Jill Jones, and the soulful songwriter, Doc Jones.
Since the release of her debut record, The Ribbon, Amanda Mora has been featured on public, community, and college radio stations throughout Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California, New England, and Western Europe. She was selected as a finalist in the 2009 Mountain Stage New Folk Contest, and has shared the stage with Alejandro Escovedo, Eliza Gilkyson, Dale Watson, Slaid Cleaves, Kevin Welch, Sarah Jarosz, and many others.
Mora has become known for her quick witted and openhearted shows with the dynamic cellist, Mollie Fischer. A renowned studio artist in Austin, TX, Fischer is a classically trained musician at the cutting edge of re-inventing cello's place in popular music. As a duet, Mora and Fischer deliver a curative dose of driving bluegrass adventure, a twist of irony and self-deprecating humor, a sprinkle of sassy jazz, a few strange diminished chords and fantastical characters, some brokenhearted rockers, cinematic dramas, anthems of redemption and hope, and of course, your feel-good-toe-tapping love songs.
With a lyrical and musical sensibility that ignites the imagination and assumes the listener’s intelligence, they will captivate your attention. They also reward you with songs that continue to unfold, the deeper you listen.
In 2010, Amanda Mora helped spearhead a visionary, zero emissions, bicycle/music tour across 12 countries of Western Europe. Amanda Mora was a lead organizer and one of five headlining acts that cycled over 6,000 miles and preformed over 100 shows at some of Europe's largest festivals as well as self-organized grassroots community events. The tour was collectively known as “The Pleasant Revolution” and featured an audience-driven 1200 Watt bicycle powered PA system.
After nearly two years of careful crafting, the much anticipated sophomore record is here; “Awaiting The Sound.”
Produced and recorded by Amanda Mora, this album explores new musical horizons while maintaining the same imaginative writing and colorful instrumentation that made her debut album, “The Ribbon,” so memorable. The brilliant cast of musicians include special guests: Eliza Gilkyson, Phoebe Hunt, John Inmon, Jonathan Doyle, Jill and Doc Jones, and many more.
To learn more about this talented performer, visit her website at: www.amandamora.com