They say you have only one shot at making a first impression and NI-based singer and tunesmith Amanda St John is making hers count with her career defining debut album ‘Grow.’ The product of a year’s worth of recording and a lifetime’s worth of experience, the soul, blues and pop-tinged opus is imbued with an uplifting sense of positivity throughout and serves as something of a much needed sonic tonic for these dark times.
Speaking of dark times, St John has had more than her fair share of them in the past, but she has used them as fuel for her muse. In fact a near death experience which saw her fighting for her life 300ft down the side of a mountain after a serious car accident actually gave birth to her career as a songwriter as she resolved to make her time of Earth count.
“I vowed that if I got out of it alive I would start living my life to the full and commit to myself more,” reflects Amanda, who previously cut her teeth performing in cover bands throughout her teens. “Singing was a big part of this and I threw myself into my writing. All of a sudden the fears and insecurities that held me back for years felt insignificant and I approached my music with a more confident, liberated feeling.”
Boasting collaborations with the likes of David Lyttle (MOBO nominated Jazz musician) and Jon Tiven (Nashville writer/producer who has worked with BB King, Wilson Pickett, Van Morrison and The Rolling Stones) as well as a guest appearance from local Jazz legend Linley Hamilton, St John’s debut includes her successful singles ‘You Blew It’ and ‘If I Should Fall’ plus live favourite ‘Grow,’ which has become something of a calling card for the much admired singer.
“The song ‘Grow’ is about facing a very difficult period of life, observing the situation and vowing to fight back rather than letting it define you,” she offers. “It’s a very hopeful, motivational message. You have a choice (regardless of your circumstances) of how you want your life to go; even though it may take incredible strength and courage, it is possible to heal and grow as a person.
The song resonates deeply with people at live gigs and I have found that it has been quite inspirational for some and that is why I chose it as the album title. What I love most about being a songwriter is connecting to and inspiring people.”
Released via the Pledge Music scheme (there was so much demand for an album’s worth of music she met and exceeded her target in no time), Amanda St John performs a show to celebrate the launch of ‘Grow’ on May 3 at the Black Box in Belfast as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. For future announcements of summer festival dates and more visit facebook.com/
“An incredible vocal performer and wonderfully talented songwriter.” Ralph McLean, BBC Radio Ulster“Amanda St John is totally in control of her craft and could be a huge international star”. John Kearns Cool FM“Feisty and fresh soul infused vocals…a must listen,” Hot Press Magazine“A dynamic singer/songwriter with an appetite for crafting stirring, soulful songs.” Chordblossom“An emerging artist destined to write a long musical story,” Culturenorthernireland
— Love Belfast ❤️ (@love_belfast) January 23, 2014