Singer Amanda Kate is a country girl living in a small equestrian community in Orange County, California, with her husband, baby girl, and three horses.
In addition to her solo work, she sings with the award winning “The Country Club” band. Music has always been such a big part of her life. As the years have gone by, the singer has grown to understand the importance of a song, even if it only touches one person.
At the beginning of the pandemic, you posted that you would be writing, rehearsals, recording, planning, praying, and spending time with family. Nashville tornado. Your mom’s cancer. Coronavirus. “Everyone heals differently, whether it’s riding a horse, writing in a journal or going on an adventure to take our mind off of things”. How has music helped you heal?
I feel really really lucky that I am in a place where I can continue to release music. I have written a LOT of very sad songs during this time that I probably won’t ever release but I truly believe those songs helped me get out emotions that needed release. I also have loved discovering new artists too! I’ve listened to so much new music that I probably never would have had the time to before.
Which artists have most influenced your music career?
I feel like this answer changes all the time, I am easily influenced by good music haha. As a kid it was The Judds, Faith Hill, Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, as a teen I loved Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood…I think my voice teachers pushed me a lot vocally to learn new music and stretch as a singer so I gravitated to those types of artists but nowadays I listen to everything. I love Lee Ann Womack! Suzy Bogguss is one of my favorite voices of all time. Most of all I’m just a fan of vocalists.
You’ve covered classic country songs like George Strait’s “Someone Had to Teach You” to share them with the younger generation. What other artists’ songs would make the top ten of classic songs the younger generation should hear?
Great question! I have so many, but here are some that most probably haven’t heard if they are under 30 years old haha.
One of the songs you said you wish you wrote is Martina McBride’s “A Broken Wing”. What makes that song so special for the songwriter in you?
The melody for sure, it’s just such a powerhouse song! I love a song with a story and the story of a girl being knocked down and getting back up and moving on is so powerful.
Working with Brett Tyler on your album. With most of the music industry continuing to be on hold, what are your plans to release the new music?
We are really excited to release this new music, we are a bit delayed on our schedule because of everything that happened but I should have the new music out very soon! I have a single coming out Sept 25th “Buzzin” that I did pre-covid that I produced with Arnie Newman and Jed Seneca. I am excited for this song, I wrote this to just be fun uplifting and put a smile on faces so I can’t wait to get this out.
“Healing When I Ride”. Mother and daughter finding healing through riding horses. The lyrics came from a poem your mom wrote about her bond with her horse Beaters. Where did you like to ride together?
We rode together a lot here at my house in Orange, CA. We used to love trail riding together but as my mom became sicker we rode more in the arena where she felt safe. My mom loved working horses, she loved watching them get training and learn.
You and your mom put together the song’s video storyline. The song was released last year on your album Time. Which songs were your mom’s favorites to listen to when you were growing up?
My mom really didn’t listen to a lot of other people’s music honestly. She really believed that to be the most creative she needed to write the music that she wanted to hear, so I grew up listening to a lot of her music. She did however love The Judds, Bonnie Raitt, Alison Krauss.
The last song you performed together with your mom was “The Old Rugged Cross”. You said she was your favorite piano player. Which piano pieces did she most enjoy playing?
She loved playing Hymns and letting me sing. She also wrote beautiful instrumentals that she loved playing.
“… the minute I thought I had it all, life had to go and prove me wrong”. This past spring, you recorded “The Old Rugged Cross” with Marty Raybon. The song, your country Christian debut, “was the first hymn my mother ever taught me, the first song I ever sang in front of a large audience and the first song that showed me what it meant to sing lyrics that have power in them”. What was it like recording such a special song with Marty?
It was really incredible that day. The studio had a different energy that morning, all the musicians could feel it too. I feel like God was really in the room that day. I’ve been singing in Church my whole life so when I get to sing for the Lord and use my gift for him it’s a totally different feeling. Marty is an incredible man of God and he prayed for us before we started and I think he knew that day was gonna be emotional for me. When he prayed I had such a calmness come over me, I knew I had to just be present in that moment because God was gonna do something special.
“Take You Home” is a song you wrote for your mom, but never played for her as she didn’t like the sad songs. I connected on first listen, especially how you tell your mom to let Him take her home. Heartbreaking yet so hopeful. What was your mom’s favorite verse of hope?
Jer 29:11….She had it written down a lot in her journals. She wrote songs about it. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“I miss grandma kashi a lot”. The special bond Hunter had with her grandma. You were about your daughter’s age when you moved to northern New Mexico with your mom where she got work on a ranch saddling horses. Can you share how being around horses feels like home to you and now your daughter?
I love my horses like they are my kids in a way. They bring a calmness that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. These giant animals that let you sit on their back, they listen to you through your body, and it’s this incredible connection that becomes very spiritual. They could toss you at any moment, and at times can be very dangerous but with lots of training and patience, they can become your best friend and trusted partner.
“There is something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man”. How do horses help you find peace when things are unsettled in your life?
When I’m feeling down or upset I go to the horses. First off, caring for them brings me back to center. They can’t do it themselves so it’s a nice reminder that you have a purpose and you need to get yourself together so you can make sure they are taken care of.
Missing live shows. If your first post-covid performance is scheduled for your dream venue, where will you be playing?
Man….ok well DREAM venue is the Opry but if I come back down to earth haha I can’t wait to play our home venue at The Ranch Saloon in Anaheim. I miss the regular crowd, the dancers, the bartenders, the wait staff. I miss the honky-tonk life :) We play a lot of dance halls and it’s my favorite.