Amanda Lamb didn’t always think she was going to be a musician. In fact, from the time she was young she dreamed of being an Olympic horseback rider and spent much of her childhood doing everything she could to chase that dream. The southern California native competed up until she was sidelined by a surgery that was meant to assist with incredibly painful knees and ankles because of her struggle with diabetes, but unfortunately, the problem only got worse. The surgery pulled her out of the Olympic circuit when she was just 14, only months after purchasing the horse that was going to take her to the gold. Though she was dealt a devastating blow, Lamb picked herself up, dusted herself off, and went off in search of a new dream. And she found one in the most unsuspecting of places.
Encouraged by her mother, who knew about the reputation of the music department at Corona del Mar High School, Lamb took a choir class as part of one of her extra-curricular classes and fell in love with performing. Though incredibly shy by nature, she took to the stage to perform The Dixie Chicks version of “Landslide” and found a piece of herself she wasn’t even aware existed until she experienced it. A performer was born.
Inspired by the country music played in the stables when she was younger, she gravitated towards the earthier folk, country, and pop of the 90’s and 00’s, eventually discovering her own sound between trips to Nashville for songwriting sessions. It was one of these sessions that produced her new single “Barefoot,” a carefree, spirited track about the freedom of exploring the world around you and becoming one with the simple things in life. I got a chance to catch up with Amanda to talk about her inspirations, her new video, and her EP “We Dance We Run,” out now!
On her biggest musical inspirations: I could go on for an hour. I’m kind of all over the place. I love Passenger. The lyrics are sad, but the music is happy, and I love that about him. Kacey Musgraves, I think I would die if I met her. The Civil Wars, I shed a tear when I heard they were breaking up. Pink is a big performance influence. She is who she is, and she isn’t trying to be anyone else. Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and John Denver. The old 60’s and 70’s singer/songwriters. Even Fall Out Boy, I learned my vibrato from Patrick Stump!
The “Barefoot” inspiration : When I first came to Nashville… you know, I’m from California where everything is brown. I thought that was what nature was supposed to look like, brown and dead. Brown rivers, brow freeways, brown beaches. When I came to Nashville, I was blown away by the greenery and scenery, so I just had this strong desire to run barefoot through the forest and the grass. I was writing with Dave Tuff andI told him about my insane desire and when he asked me what that meant to me, I said “freedom.” So that’s what it’s really about, the freedom to let go. To go back to that childhood freedom that we lose as we grow older.
On filming the video for “Barefoot”: Filming “Barefoot” was the most fun I’ve ever had. I worked with Spin the Dial Productions and I sent them the song… When you’ve heard a song over and over again it can be really hard to think about a music video for it. But they came back with this idea that I absolutely adored. It was like having a big family on set, because my little sister plays little me in the video. We shot it in Julian, CA and I actually got to run barefoot through the forest much to the concern of my producer. It just didn’t feel like the song with shoes on, so I took them off and did it in the crunch, California forest. This is my favorite music video that I’ve ever done.
On the “We Dance We Run” EP: It’s California country, a little bit a folk, a little bit of pop. “Barefoot” is the happiest, then there’s a tense love song, a dark introspective song, and a super sweet introspective song. It’s all these different aspects of life, the freedom, the love, the dark places, and the sweet spots. Each song is about a different part of life, it just came together that way, and I really love that about it. “We Dance” we celebrate life’s joys, “We Run” we either run to or from the negative.
On songwriting: Country music has always been a favorite of mine because it’s real. Real people, realsituations, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Harvard educate or you dropped out of high school, it’s real human emotion. I just love the stories. I’m surrounded by a lot of amazing people that have a lot of interesting stories. Real life experiences… “Marionette” came from a real love story that went on for about five years. “See Through Heart,” I struggle with shyness really bad, almost to the point where I could stay home all day. So that one was really written for people that maybe get judged because they seem stuck up, but it’s really that there’s anxiety about socializing. A lot of these things just come into my head and I want to let people know that they’re not alone. I went into the hospital with an appendicitis in 2013, and was in the ICU for two days due to complications with my Type 1 Diabetes, but my co-writer came out from Nashville to continue writing with me. And we got to talking about what I had been going through, and he just said “There’s something in your blood that makes you courageous,” and it was seconds later that the song (off her first EP) “Something In The Blood” was born. Whether it’s insulin or courage and faith that keep you going, it’s something in the blood.