Artist Interviews 2022

Amy May    
By Laura Siebold

Photo by Rob Shanahan

Amy May is a British singer-songwriter who, despite her international success, can still be found singing her songs on Third Street Promenade or the Santa Monica Pier, California. May completed her first European tour in 2019 upon the release of her first album “Mystic”, and has traveled across the US, has performed in Australia, Thailand, and Britain. In her interview, Amy tells us about her favorite places to perform at, the inspiration for her songs, and the value of time in the creative process. The singer also tells us about the ‘energy’ of music and exciting future projects.

Amy, I saw you perform on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, CA and was captivated by your voice. Where is your favorite place to perform at in general?

Thank you so much! It was great to meet you, too! I have performed in such a diverse range of spaces, my favorite would be anywhere that I feel free and comfortable to share my open heart and to feel like it’s received by other open hearts :) Each space has it’s unique benefits… a club filled with my fans is a magical experience; when they already know my songs and sing along to the lyrics.. but then performing on the street to a bunch of strangers gives me the chance to watch them respond to the music and words in a fresh new way, and the fact that they owe me nothing, not even to stop if they don’t want to, makes it even more special when they do give some of their time and share what my music means to them. To know that your music has touched someone’s heart and made them feel something deeply is the ultimate goal as an artist. When I sit down and write, it often comes from an overwhelming emotion that needs to come out, and the song will help me to release it and make sense of it. So, when that same song then creates a sense of belonging for a stranger that is also feeling that way, it’s the most beautiful way of creating connection and oneness. Music has a way of reminding us that we are not alone, and I think that’s what makes it so powerful.

You are a British singer and songwriter. Can you tell us a little bit about your background? When did you first start performing?

As a child, I always loved to sing, dance, and perform in general, so I guess I began in school, in musicals and dance classes, and then began writing my own music, which is when I also learned to play guitar. There wasn’t a television in my household for much of my childhood, so I would spend a lot of time listening to music, reading books, or just lost in my thoughts. I didn’t realize at the time, but reflecting on it now, I can see how this gave a me a wonderful foundation of relying on my own creativity, independence, and imagination.

How would you characterize your style?

My influences cross a lot of styles, so it’s always hard to narrow it down to one specific genre, but I guess I fall somewhere between Singer- Songwriter, Pop and Folk/ Country. I grew up listening to a lot of classical music and it’s still the one style I listen to the most in my spare time. From the moment I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed, it just calms me and grounds me somehow. I’m also fascinated to learn about the composers over the centuries who have created these masterpieces that we still listen to today, and the stories of their personal creative journeys. I find it so inspiring and believe that there is so much about music and how it affects us energetically that we still don’t understand, how hearing certain notes, vibrations and frequencies can trigger a common response of elation, peace, or sadness. I’ve heard of music being referred to as a Universal language, and I certainly agree, and think we are still learning why that is.

You’ve traveled extensively with your music, have been on tour in Europe, and still, we see you perform in smaller outdoor venues like Third Street Promenade. What do you love most about performing for people?

How I feel when I sing and share my heart and emotions is such a raw and heartfelt experience for me, I think it’s when I feel most present, alive, and free. It can feel like flying. It can also feel incredibly vulnerable, but perhaps that is what draws people to listen. They feel safe to be in that space with me and listen to what their own heart is feeling in that moment. To be honest with both ourselves and others requires a lot of courage, and I believe that Art and Music allow for honest and authentic expression, which can then inspire others to have that same courage for themselves. To touch others’ lives in a positive way is such a blessing and that’s ultimately my goal with anything that I ever create; to bring love and light to the world in whatever small way I can, through sharing my own experiences.

Where do you gain inspiration for your songs from?

I’ve certainly written my share of romance- inspired love songs and I’m sure that will continue to be an area of inspiration! But I also enjoy writing about the journey of life, and all of its complex twists and turns. There is light and darkness that needs to be honored and I always try to write from my life experience, while endeavoring to create hope within a song’s ultimate message. I’m fascinated by the human experience when it comes to our emotions and how powerfully they influence our perspective, our choices, and even our own daily reality that we live in. Love has to be the most inspiring energy of all, the way it can save us, or, in its absence, destroy us on a daily basis, is my infinite source material to write from!

Has the pandemic changed your way of expressing yourself as a musical artist?

It gave me a chance to be still and write for weeks on end, which felt like a gift. Sometimes a busy schedule of performing can take away the time to sit and dream, which is often how songs get inspired, so that was a welcome opportunity. I also did some online live-stream events on social media which were a lot of fun!

Which of your songs has taken the longest to write and produce? Can you tell us the story behind it?

I have a song with a working title of “Magic” which has been in process for years, it’s still unfinished, even though I do hope it can be on my next album. I love the first verse and chorus so much that each time I attempt to finish it, I’m never satisfied with anything new I bring to it… Time can be valuable in the creative process but can also freeze a moment in time and create a barrier in how to get back to it or bring that same feeling to the present.

How do you encounter listeners who don’t like your style of music? What do you gain from each performance?

I think people who appreciate the work I do will naturally gravitate toward it, and those who don’t will move toward something else. I don’t believe the music I put out is polarizing in any way, so fortunately I haven’t experienced much negativity toward it. If I did, then I would try to simply respect and accept that it is Art; and all Art is subjective and there to stimulate! From each performance, I always gain something, maybe an idea for a new song, some audience feedback on something I sang, or some inspiration on how I want a song to be produced.

Have you ever collaborated with other artists? Who would you like to collaborate with and why?

There are so many amazing artists I’d love to collaborate with… I’d love to work with Coldplay; they have an amazing way of creating heartfelt songs that reach a wide audience through awesome production styles. Kelsey Ballerina is an amazing Country artist that I would love to sing/ write a song with. And Stevie Nicks is an all-time favorite icon for me, so working with her in any capacity, writing or performing, would be incredible.

We are curious about your future projects; what are you currently working on?

I am about to begin recording my next album, so this is a very exciting time for me. To finally be able to put my new songs in a format that I can share with people is a thrilling process. I’m also working on writing a screenplay which is a totally new area of creativity for me but I’m excited to see where it leads me!

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