by Kimberly Shires
DC-Area native, Amanda Cunningham has just released her third single called “Pattern” on February 5. “Pattern” was co-written with Miranda Glory, who has had songs cut by Jesse McCartney and pitched her music to Usher as a 2020 contestant on NBC’s “Songland.”
“Pattern” follows Amanda’s first two singles “Selfish Fool” and “Highlights of Youth”. Amanda’s first two singles are reminiscent of H.E.R. and Alicia Keys and you can clearly hear Amanda’s neo-soul influence. “Patterns” diverges slightly with a more acoustic-pop feel, but her soaring vocals remain strong and soulful. Amanda can definitely sang!
“Pattern” is about the recognition of repeating counter-productive patterns in relationships. The song is a deep realization that the negative or positive patterns in life are not just externally driven but they all have a common thread— “me.” Through a bit of introspection, Amanda realized a big ah-ha moment: “This can’t just be everyone else.” She had been ignoring red flags in relationships and friendships that she should have been able to see. “I noticed the pattern and now I’ve decided to break the pattern.” Amanda continued her thought on finding peace from within, “I need to be able to depend on myself.” She talked a great deal about self-care and healing and told us, “When I have negative thoughts, I acknowledge it and then just try to swipe it away….you know, like a cell phone notification.”
In continuing with self-reflection, Amanda says she often thinks about “the goals I think I should have vs. what I actually want.” Ultimately, she wants to be in the Songwriters Hall of Fame and win 11 Grammys. Each little step will get her there. She is not myopic though. She keeps the doors open to see what other opportunities will present themselves. “I’m relatively smart and resourceful and determined. I’ll work towards it and if I don’t get there, I’ll branch off into a different thing. It just might not be ‘here.’”
For now, Amanda is compiling songs for her first EP that she jokes will be titled “From the Chair,” since the songs have been quite a journey through self-exploration and actualization involving what she says was “a decent amount of therapy.”
Amanda did not come from a musical family. She grew up being “the smart one”. She did all of the ‘spose-to-do’s and went to college and got her degree in history, where she studied race and gender relations. To this day, she still loves a good documentary film. After graduating, she settled down into her first job. She quickly found that it just didn’t feel like the right fit. She always liked singing and mused that perhaps that was an option. About three years ago, she buckled down and started plotting out a career in music.
Amanda is passionate about songwriting. It’s actually a challenge for her focus on anything else to the point that she often asks herself, “What exactly is my hobby?” Not songwriting. That is her purpose. She continued, “I always think things should have a purpose.” She finds it hard to do anything fun that does not have an end goal as she says “it just feels like a waste of time.” But keeping fun and joy in just being creative and in the creative process is something she is actively working on to make sure she doesn’t burn out in her pursuits.
She also knows the power of manifesting her own experiences. “You have to just put it out there. I mean, don’t be shy about it.” She puts this idea to the test through collaborating with other artists as a tool to not only contribute but to learn new skills and methods. “The writing sessions that I enjoy the most are when the people are just likeable.” Amanda is always striving to be a better version of herself by recognizing the behaviors of others that she responds well to and uses that as an example for herself.
Though multiple collaborations, she has realized, “It’s ok to not be the person in the room who drives things.” Amanda admits that while she usually assumes that role, it often stresses her out and does not really feel like the person she wants to be. She really just wants to be the “fun one” and strives towards being that person in a way that feels authentic to her.
Amanda is continuously seeking out areas for self-improvement and has participated in several programs such as Cari Cole’s Signature Songwriting Program and Kris Bradley’s Voice Memo to Demo, that teaches songwriters how to produce themselves. She also enjoys reading and digging in to understand both her internal and external world better, and has recently started water coloring. Amanda can also be found on Soundbetter.com as a session singer for hire.
Keep a lookout for this one. That gal is determined and that voice is HOT.
While you are here, take a listen to “Pattern”. You’ll love it. We promise.
Kimberly Shires is a native of the DC Metropolitan area. Kimberly is a freelance writer, music degree holder, road bike warrior, songwriter, corporate ladder climber, and a Subaru driving nature enthusiast.
Thursday, June 10, 2021 @ 7:00 PM EDT
When Jamie Darken first began writing the songs that would appear on his debut solo EP, Burial, he imagined he was crafting demos for Cherry Ames, a local Washington DC area indie-rock band that Darken performs as vocalist, guitarist, and bassist. With Cherry Ames on hiatus amidst the global shutdown and performing in venues unavailable as an option, Darken’s drive to make progress with the ideas on his own eventually brought the tracks to the place where it simply felt right to release as his own project. The result is five songs written, produced, and performed by Darken, with the exception of leading single “This Could Be Your Home” co-written with fellow DC area musician Christopher Mathews-Larsen.
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