As Amanda Kate builds her name in the Texas country music scene with her powerhouse vocals, traditional flair, and ’90s country appeal, soon the rest of America will get to know the singer-songwriter who originally hails from Red River, NM. Amanda’s star continues to rise with the release of her self-titled EP – now available via Rockin’ R Records – as well as her appearance on E!’s new series, Clash of the Cover Bands.
Produced by Jimmy Fallon, Clash of the Cover Bands airs each Wednesday at 9:30P ET/PT and has Amanda competing with her Carrie Underwood tribute act Blown Away. It’s an opportunity that seems predestined as Amanda’s mother first appeared on NBC more than 50 years ago.
The daughter of singer-songwriter Kathy Wright, Amanda grew up watching her mother perform. Kathy, an original member of the “Dean Martin Golddiggers,” starred on the crooner’s NBC television program “The Dean Martin Show” when she was 18. Kathy also traveled the globe singing with Bob Hope and his USO-sponsored Christmas shows and bestowed her love for music on her daughter.
Amanda’s mother brought her to a show when she was just one week old and put her in a bassinet on stage while she performed. At age two, Amanda joined her mom each night to sing. Soon Amanda began performing in church and singing original songs her mom wrote. By the time she was 14, Amanda was singing professionally.
Inspired by dynamic female singers including Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Dawn Sears, and the newest Country Music Hall of Famers The Judds, Amanda says she was born into music, and country music is her calling.
“I’ve always been drawn to singers that had a lot of power behind them and Wynonna Judd was that for me,” Amanda says. “She has this grit to her voice that I love, and a level of conviction when singing that you felt.”
The Country Club Band, an award-winning country cover band in Southern California, needed a new lead singer and reached out. It was a difficult time for Amanda as her mother had just received a cancer diagnosis.
Amanda eventually made her way to Nashville in her early 20s to pursue music full-time. Disheartened by the experience and roadblocks she faced, Amanda retreated to California and took a four-year break from music. She got married and had a daughter of her own and focused on her new life as a wife and mother until another opportunity presented itself.
“It was this pivotal moment in my life where I realized, ‘Life is short and you don’t have all the time in the world that you think you do,’” she recalls. “My dream was still there for me. Music had never gone away. It was still in the back of my mind, ‘This is what I need to be doing. This is what I was born to do,’ and so I ended up joining that band.”
After learning her story, band leader Arnie Newman urged Amanda to record an album with her mother. Time, Amanda’s debut album released in 2019, features songs written by her mother. A deeply personal collection, Time sparked the relaunch of Amanda’s music career and as Belles & Gals Magazine raves, “successfully put her on the radar as an artist in her own right.” Time’s success also helped kickstart Amanda’s desire to pursue a solo career again after years performing with the Country Club Band and later, Carrie Underwood tribute band Blown Away.
“It’s been such a blessing to realize that I don’t have to give it up because I’m a mom now and a wife,” she says. “Dreams don’t stop because you get older or because life happens.”
It’s a lesson Amanda continues to learn. She recently released her second effort, a self-titled five-track EP, on Friday, Dec. 3. The project has the singer-songwriter effortlessly blending her love of traditional country music with her small-town upbringing.
Following the loss of her mother in 2020, Amanda Kate says it was important that her next project be lighthearted and fun. She specifically wrote and selected songs for her audience and included tracks she felt others could relate to.
The project spans the emotional spectrum and the ups and downs of a relationship. Romantic country ballad “Baby It’s You” mesmerizes with sweeping fiddle, soaring pedal steel, and whispered vocals highlighting Amanda’s traditional flair while the first single, “Walk,” is a sassy kiss-off to a no-good ex-boyfriend.
“Walk” was written by Kimberly Kelly, Wil Nance, and Brian Burns. Amanda Kate says the first time she heard the demo she could envision the performance and the music video. Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Bob DiPiero penned “Baby It’s You” and the alluring ’90s country-influenced “Deconstruction of a Heartache.”
“I’m a traditional country artist,” Amanda says. “Nineties country was what I grew up listening to and I think there’s room for more traditional country. I’m hoping to bring something different, a little bit of a throwback, to what country was and what I remember growing up listening to with a new, modern flair.”
Additional EP highlights include the Maren Morris-penned “Little I Got,” which has Amanda Kate singing of being thankful for the little things in life alongside a driving beat, ear-grabbing fiddle, and reflective vocals. She says the song reminded her of her upbringing on the road and throughout Texas watching her mom sing in honky-tonks.
“You may not have all the money in the world, and you may not have the big house or the fancy car, but if you’re surrounded by the people that you love, you have a lot,” she says. “Especially [with] everything that I’ve been through and losing my mom, it makes you realize very quickly what’s important in life and that song embodied that.”
The heartfelt piano ballad “Little Girl” holds special meaning to Amanda, who wrote the song with Eli and Amy Rhodes. Amanda met with her collaborators shortly after having her daughter four years ago.
“Every time I hear it, it feels special,” she says. “Now when I hear ‘Little Girl’ I picture her running around in the backyard, riding her horses with me and all the funny little things that she says.”
Now settled in Texas with her “Little Girl” and husband, Amanda Kate looks forward to revealing more of herself through her EP and appearance on Clash of the Cover Bands.
“I think that the show is going to give me an opportunity to share my story and who I am, but then also pay tribute to one of my favorite artists of all time,” Amanda says.
As her cover band’s title implies, listeners and viewers will be Blown Away. Find Amanda Kate’s new EP here.
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